Sharp's Internet-ready TV to let Japanese users surf Web at home
By Rob Guth
Posted at 3:23 PM PT, Sep 3, 1996
TOKYO -- Beginning next month, users in Japan will be able to surf the World
Wide Web from the comfort of their tatami mats with an Internet-ready
television announced here Tuesday by Sharp Electronics Corp.
Called Network Vision, the 32-inch, wide-screen TV is the first of a slew of
Internet devices, including a personal digital assistant and "white goods",
that the Osaka-based electronics maker will ship this year, an official said,
declining to reveal details.
Network Vision is equipped with a 32-bit ARM RISC processor and 28.8Kbps
modem and will be bundled with Sharp-developed software, including a browser
and a front end for an online service called InterTV, launched last month with
Japan's Fujitsu Ltd., the official said. The device will be priced at $3,100
and released only in Japan.
The unit also offers 3MB of RAM, 2MB of flash memory, and 2MB of Mask ROM.
The 52kg unit measures 86.2 by 56.8 by 53.8 centimeters, houses two 20-watt
speakers and offers standard television video-in and video-out jacks. Sharp is
planning a monthly production volume of 2,000 units, he said.
By pushing a button on the television's remote control, users can access the
World Wide Web through the InterTV interface, which divides home pages into
five categories: lifestyle, world travel, world press, guideposts, and a TV
guide. The guide, called TV-Navi, can link the user to a television program
and provides supplementary information about the program, Sharp said.
Though designed for use with the Fujitsu service, the television can be
operated with any Internet service, he said.
The NTSC-compatible unit's 640-by-480-pixel (VGA) display can be split
vertically, allowing users to simultaneously watch television and access the
For dedicated Internet use, Network Vision is equipped with e-mail software
that handles both Japanese and English. The unit does not require a keyboard
-- users can enter URLs and e-mail messages via the remote control. To make
routine messages easier to input, the unit comes with standard short messages,
the company said.
Rob Guth is a Tokyo-based correspondent for the IDG News Service, an