Microsoft's next release of Windows 95, code-named Memphis, will include an integrated TV tuner that will allow users to watch TV and participate with interactive broadcasts and Web sites. Microsoft is also planning to incorporate a program guide that will combine satellite TV listings with local cable and TV broadcast listings.
"Whatever services you're signed up for, the shows will be there," said Alec Saunders, one of many Memphis product managers. "Memphis will present them all in a single unified tuning space."
The program guide will be built with HTML and be incorporated into the Internet Explorer 4.0 Active Desktop. When a user selects a program from the guide, an ActiveX control will display the video full-screen if desired.
"What appears to be a television channel is in reality a Web page which is simply a container for the video control," said Microsoft's George Moore in a message to C-Net.
Microsoft hopes that broadcasters will take advantage of the Memphis TV tuner by sending additional information such as interactive polls or sports statistics.
Naturally, this feature will require a hardware add-in, such as a PCI or ISA card that connects to a local cable system or TV antenna. Such a card will cost about $400, according to Microsoft's Saunders, and will include the necessary drivers.
A wide-scale beta of Memphis begins sometime soon. The new operating system is expected to ship in early 1998, although Microsoft has been quite about the release date