BEEEG BETS on TV and the Net

First off, Micro$oft buys WebTV at a very very high price--especially for
a company whose sales have yet to take off (they are coasting but not
really growing very quickly) YET Microsoft buys WebTV for $425 million in
cash and stock. 
See http://www.techweb.com/wire/news/mar/0406webtv.html for details

Next three stories from Edupage on Digital TV: FCC give away; Micro$oft, 
Compaq and Intel try to set Digital TV/Net integration standards; 
Disney/ABC buys Starwave (Paul "the other guy at Micro$oft" Allen's web 
design company).

The Federal Communications Commission voted to let every TV station in the
country use a second channel for broadcasting digital versions of the
programming now being distributed in analog format to conventional TV sets.
By 2006, all broadcasts will be transmitted in digital form only, and all of
the 240 million TV sets now in use in the U.S. will be obsolete at that
time.  Digital television sets -- which are expected to go on sale late next
year --will offer extremely sharp, high-definition pictures on a new
wide-screen monitor along with six-channel digital audio systems.  For some
period of time, the new digital programming will be available only via
broadcast TV, and not by cable or satellite television.  (New York Times 4
Apr 97)

Computer powerhouses Microsoft, Intel and Compaq Computer are still trying
to persuade television broadcasters to adopt their technical standards for
digital TV, which would emphasize Internet-based information services and
interactivity, as well as high-definition picture quality.  PC makers are
hoping that their intervention will enable the large-screen personal
computer to migrate from the den to the living room, eventually replacing
the television set as the primary family entertainment device.  "Any notion
that consumer electronics are not going to get smart is fallacious," says
Microsoft's senior VP of consumer products.  "We are trying to stretch out a
hand to the consumer-electronics and broadcast industries and say, 'We can
help you with this transition.'"  Computer makers favor a "progressive-scan"
monitor technology, while consumer electronics companies have traditionally
used an "interlaced" approach.  PC makers anticipate the cost of building
digital-TV technology into a personal computer to be around $100 to $150.
"More people are gong to watch digital TV on the PC because it's going to be
built into the architecture," says Compaq's senior VP for technology and
corporate development.  (Wall Street Journal 4 Apr 97)

The Walt Disney Company, which has purchased a controlling interest in
Starwave, an Internet publishing company, says the two companies will
collaborate on the development of a new World Wide Web site called
ABCNews.com that will use the resources of the news division of Disney's ABC
television network.  The site will be in competition with the Microsoft/NBC
and the CNN news sites. Forrester Research analyst Bill Bass says:  "TV
journalists are not used to thinking 24 hours and the Web operation is a
gnat compared to the TV operations.  It's hard to justify changing the
operation of your TV news gathering operation to fit the whims of a very
small online population."  (Financial Times 4 Apr 97)