Microsoft to close MSN TV service

MSN TV hardware
Image caption The service requires a considerable amount of bespoke hardware.

Microsoft will close its subscription-based internet television service MSN TV at the end of September this year.

In a statement the firm said there were now "many new ways" to access the net.

Microsoft purchased the service - originally WebTV - for $425m (£285m) in 1997 and rebranded it MSN TV in 2001.

It was the predecessor of many modern internet TV services and requires a significant amount of hardware including a set-top box and bespoke keyboard.

It enables customers to check email, use MSN chat services and share photos online.

Now however there are numerous devices - including Microsoft's Xbox and all the other major games consoles - that connect the TV and the web.

"You get the feeling a lot of companies are trying to make things more efficient from their end," said Stuart Miles, founder of technology news website Pocket-lint.

"They are trying to align their services - it seems to be a trend. You see it with Yahoo especially, buying loads of products but also turning things off."

Mr Miles added that he didn't think many would mourn the closure of MSN TV.

"It's a technology that served a purpose at the time and now it's redundant," he said.

"I think most people will be saying, 'Oh, they still had that?'"

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