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Coming To a Television Near You... AOLTV

Techstination feature for Thursday, June 29, 2000

If you are torn between your TV set and those AOL chat rooms, this is just what you've been waiting for... a set top box that merges your favorite shows with your favorite chat rooms, Web sites, buddy lists and instant messaging. I can hear parents saying ... Oh no! Come over here and take a look... .

"This right here is our main menu. And on the main menu we have our electronic program guide destination, AOLTV channels, mail, buddy list and instant messenger, AOL's You've Got Pictures, favorites and chat."

AOL's Erik Thorsteinson. The service is being launched first in Phoenix, Sacramento and Baltimore and will go nationwide by the end of the summer. Philips is making the first boxes that will connect to a phone line and your TV. If you don't have an AOL account already, the price is 24.95 a month. Existing subscribers will be able to add AOLTV for 14.95 a month. Both accounts can be used at the same time... .

"The nice thing about AOLTV is that if you're already an existing AOL member, your screen name and password remain the same. So all of your buddy lists, all of your stock portfolios, everything else transfer over to the television space seamlessly."

The main competition... a service from Microsoft called Ultimate TV due out this fall. You can read what we had to say about UltimateTV at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.