Drill Down Go Beyond TV
You can also get to the Web by pressing the TV Home buttons and following that to the Web Home screen. From there you can follow links to whatever you can imagine on the Internet. You also get up to six e-mail accounts. The infrared keyboard makes Web surfing and sending e-mail much easier than the remote alone.
The basic unit costs $299 and requires a subscription to DirecTV, which is pretty reasonable compared to cable TV, so that shouldn't be a deterrent to anyone. To open up the product for its advanced features, most people will probably choose the basic UltimateTV plan for $9.95 a month. That gets you use of both tuners, the hard drive recording features and three hours per month of MSNTV time, which includes the interactive programs and e-mail.
If you want more Internet time than three hours, you can use your existing Internet Service Provider account (except AOL), but pay $14.95 for the UltimateTV subscription, or you can use MSNTV as your ISP for $29.95 a month with unlimited WebTV time. The $14.95 a month plan does seem excessive, since you're already paying for another ISP and UltimateTV is offering you nothing extra over the $9.95. Still, the basic $9.95 plan is on par with what TiVo charges for its personal TV subscription.