Goodbye, MSN TV. Microsoft Finally Pulls the Plug

msn-tvThe first time I actually saw someone using this service was when I went up north. We ate at this awesome steakhouse , which probably was on its last couple years in business (two brothers owned it and they were in their 70s). In the corner, one of the brothers’ wives were typing away on the MSN TV, trying to find out what was going on in the world (pre-2001).

The little box that was known as MSN TV finally got decommissioned today – 16 years after it started. Microsoft announced earlier in the year the TV appliance would be shuttered on Sept 30th. Users had to move their account information to Outlook.com and all other information to Skydrive (Microsoft’s cloud service).

MSN TV first started as Web TV in July of 1995 by Steve Perlman, Bruce Leak and Phil Goldman. The idea was Web TV acted like a thin client – taking snapshots of the web and sending them over telephone lines to your device, which would then project on your TV. It officially launched in Sept 1996 and ran for a year when Microsoft announced they were acquiring the service for $453 million (vested).

MSN TV tried to find its place in the tech world. The WebTV team took their ideas and created not only Digital Video Recorders, but also the XBox 360 game console. Its hardware could be found in Sony, Philips, RCA, Mitsubishi and other client hardware.

So with that, we bid adieu to MSN TV. the last of the real dial-up systems.

MSN TV is Closing in September

MSNTVThose of you who have parents or grandparents who are currently using MSN TV 2 may have some family requested free tech support in your future. Microsoft has announced that MSN TV 2 will close, forever, as of September, 30, 2013. People who are using the MSN TV set-top box will not have to return it to Microsoft. In fact, they prefer you recycle it instead of attempting to return it to them (if you find you no longer have a use for it).

What is now called MSN TV 2 started out as WebTV back in 1996. It was intended to be a way for people who were not very internet savvy to have an easy way to get online. Why has Microsoft decided to end the MSN TV service? They put it this way:

…Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.

The set-top box can still be used to access videos and music from a PC, for those who have a home network that uses broadband. It also will still have photo albums stored in it, which will remain viewable. Microsoft recommends that people save the photos that they care about before the service ends.