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Weather forecast to PC desktops

The Weather Channel will deliver daily local weather forecasts free to users' computer screens.

The Weather Channel will announce Monday that it plans to deliver daily local weather forecasts free to users' computer screens.

Reports will be available next week for some 1,470 U.S. locales, with 230 international cities coming online later this month.

The new service is another example of the latest trend on the Net: "pushed" content that is delivered automatically to the user's desktop rather than posted on a Web site. PointCast was the first company to popularize this idea of broadcasting material to Net users, but Microsoft and Netscape Communications are planning to revamp their browsers to push more data down the pipe as well.

The Weather Channel has opted to use NETdelivery's technology to deliver its reports. NETdelivery places an icon on the screen that signals when new forecasts arrive, as long as the PC is still connected to the Net.

The global weather reports, updated hourly, will include five-day forecasts and links to maps, national weather news, hurricane reports, and other Web pages posted on the Weather Channel site. Both NETdelivery and the Weather Channel will sell ads to support the service.

The software needed to use the service will be posted on the NETdelivery and Weather Channel Web sites. The service requires a Microsoft or Netscape Web browser for Windows. The company will add support for Macintosh and Unix before the year's end, as well as support for browsers from America Online and CompuServe.

Other users of NETdelivery's software include Yahoo, Insight Direct, Data Broadcasting, Lands' End, and Inc. Online.