Title: WebTV for Windows Author: David Feinleib, Microsoft Corp.
Written by leading industry figures, The Inside Story of Interactive TV and Microsoft is an excellent, if untechnical, guide to emerging WebTV technology and an equally excellent, if slightly biased guide to the short history of its development.
Although the subject matter is handled without repetition, hesitation and deviation, the book reads more like a collection of feature-length articles than a fully integrated book. This approach works well, since the authors' enthusiasm is maintained throughout. (The authors include various notables from Microsoft and its partner, American news channel NBC, and producers involved with the production of material for "enhanced" TV.) Helpful diagrams and screenshots compliment the text.
In the first chapter, Larry Namer, President of Comspan Communications, gives an excellent but somewhat meandering overview of WebTV's background and aims. Three case studies towards the end of the book show how new technologies available to programme makers help them enhance their content.
WebTV has made its start in the US, but with limited success. One criticism that could be levelled against this title is that it is slightly blinded by the wonder of WebTV's potential and slow to recognise some very serious problems that stand in the way of its development. It also lacks an international perspective and doesn't address issues involved with European, Asian or UK-based implementations of WebTV. Still, this book does give the "inside story" and is an excellent overview of US-based enhanced and interactive TV. --Josh Smith
"This book is of vital importance to the people in the entertainment industry. Our world is being changed beyond recognition by advances in technology, mainly computers. If we want to stay at the top of our game, we are going to need to better understand how the TV and the PC are coming together. This is a 'must-read' for those who don't want to get left in the dust."
--Tichi Wilkerson-Kassel, Former Publisher, Editor-In-Chief, and Owner, The Hollywood Reporter
"As the largest infomercial company in the world, we are always looking for new and better ways to sell our products. Interactive Television is a major innovation for those of us in the transactional TV business. This book explains how it all works, from the business side to the technical details. I highly recommend it."
--Michael Wex, President & CEO, Guthy Renker TV
"Documentaries at their best are based on personal research and lived experiences by committed filmmakers. They use the best and most compelling technologies to tell their stories. Enhancing the Documentary Channel allows us to satisfy our interested audiences. So as the community of independent documentary filmmakers comes to learn the benefits of this expanded medium, as described in The Inside Story of Microsoft. WebTV"! for Windows., they will not only look forward to it...they will demand it!"
--John Forbess, Chairman & CEO, The Documentary Channel