The History of WebTV
WebTV was invented in 1996 by Diba Inc and Zenith Electronics.

By Mary Bellis

“Zenith Electronics is planning a television set that will incorporate a microprocessor and modem, as well as technology developed by Diba Inc. that allows viewers to surf the Web via a remote control device.”  – Wall Street Journal, May 10 1996 Edition

WebTV was invented (I’d rather say that the technology was developed) in 1996 by Diba Inc and Zenith Electronics, who produced and marketed the first WebTV sets.

C/Net reported that, “Zenith will roll out two TVs with “Netvision” Internet access technology in the fall [1996]: a 27-inch model with a built-in 28.8-kbps modem priced at $999, and a larger 35-inch model called Inteq targeted at home entertainment users priced at $3,499.” Later companies produced $300 webtv add-ons including Sony and Philips Electronics, who made webtv boxes separate from television sets. WebTV sets are currently under $100.

In April of 1997, Microsoft bought the WebTV network for $425 million dollars and have trademarked the name. Today, webtv is an add-on device that compliments a regular television, usually a box that provides the internet connection and conversion of web pages for viewing on your own television screen with an added special remote control and keyboard so that you can surf from your sofa in comfort.