Oracle?s network computer vision took another step towards becoming reality on Wednesday, when the company?s Network Computer (NCI) subsidiary signed up television manufacturer Zenith Electronics to produce a machine retailing for around $500.
Zenith will deliver set-top boxes and integrated television sets while NCI will provide interactive systems software. Netscape?s consumer subsidiary Navio Communications will also supply Web browser technology. The Zenith units will be badged as Netvision TV.
The tie-up - made on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas - is Zenith?s second attempt to crack the Internet TV market. It had planned to begin shipping Web browser-enabled TVs last month using technology from Diba, a Californian start-up run by a group of former Oracle engineers.
But the Oracle initiative ensures that the Diba-centred strategy has been abandoned. Zenith chief executive officer Peter Willmott said that the company would continue working with Diba on other projects, but added that as far as Internet TV was concerned "we didn?t feel the product?was a step forward for us".
Zenith is the second major TV manufacturer to be signed up by Oracle to produce NCs. In November last year, Thomson Electronics announced plans to use its RCA division to produce TV-NCs that will ship for around $300 early this year.
Meanwhile in New York, Oracle announced that it has signed up 180 financial services technology providers to deliver products based on the Oracle Network Computing Architecture, including Princeton Financial, Treasury Services Corporation and Cats Software.
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