Wanted

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The WebTV/MSN TV wiki aims to record as much technical and general information on the WebTV and MSN TV technology and services as possible, and we don't plan to skip a beat while doing it. That's why we're counting on you, the reader, whoever you are, to help contribute any information or content you have about the hardware, service, or whatever else relating to WebTV/MSN TV for us to put on this wiki or elsewhere. We're mainly seeking out technical info on the service, firmware, and hardware itself, and things of interest we're especially after are listed below or on certain pages covering certain topics, will mention that you can contribute information regarding said topic, but anything else we haven't explicitly mentioned we need might be useful too. We are aware that some scene sites already have some of the content we're looking for, and we have already included information from some of them onto here. Scene sites in general, though, are not a reliable source of WebTV/MSN TV information or don't have what we're exactly looking for, so while for now we have to rely on them for some information, we don't treat them as gospel and neither should you.

If you have the content we're looking for, whether it be listed here or not, then we highly suggest you send it to us over e-mail at webtvzonewiki@gmail.com. If you happen to send stuff our way and we find it useful, we'll eventually add it to the wiki where appropriate, and for things like files and service content, we plan to upload what we can either to Archive.org and present the content as best as we can. In the future we might consider opening account registrations by request so people we can trust can contribute information directly.


General

  • Any clarifications on any information we got wrong. Information on WebTV/MSN TV, even outside the technical realm, is severely shrouded in vague information and room for interpretation. Lots of it. If you happen to be able to convince us to correct something we might have not known is incorrect, we'll happily accept it into the wiki
  • Binaries of boot/client ROM upgrades, both for first-gen WebTV/MSN TV and the MSN TV 2. We'd prefer if these are sent to us in their original, downloadable formats and have information on what version they contain and what box type and manufacturer they were made for!
  • Any copies of generated TellyScripts/DialScripts for first-gen WebTV/MSN TV, Microsoft TV-based services, UltimateTV, and MSN TV 2 (if those exist for that platform)
  • Any information about or data from the WebTV, MSN TV, or MSN TV 2 servers. This will help us better understand how the services for each worked and possibly piece together their protocols.
  • Dumps of any removable media (HDD, CompactFlash, etc.), NVRAM, or flash ROM chips from any WebTV/MSN TV box. These dumps can expose crucial information or data such as TellyScripts, TV listings, service page assets, potentially unarchived firmware builds, and possibly even WebTV games (You Don't Know Jack, Doom, etc.). We'll be careful to not publicize any data with personally identifying information in it.
  • Service page contents, information on how they worked, and assets loaded by them. This is both for first-gen WebTV/MSN TV and the MSN TV 2. For a basic idea of what services WebTV/MSN TV offered that we're seeking content and assets for, go browse our service image galleries (First-gen WebTV/MSN TV; MSN TV 2). We want to be able to archive as much from them as possible and document how they worked and what content each of them offered, both for completion's sake. While some of the service page codes and most of the images they referenced have been archived over the years, most of the time, those who catalogued them didn't describe how pages and any other things they referenced had generated content. To add on to this, the page codes themselves are almost always a single static rip of one state of a specific page, and don't account for other states it could be in in certain scenarios (e.g., no mail in an inbox, no discussion posts in a newsgroup, or showing a first-time message for a specific service). Of course, since the main WebTV/MSN TV protocols (WTVP/MSN TV 2) played a part in functionality on some pages, service page codes alone won't magically rebuild everything. They'll definitely be a big help, though.
  • Any info on lesser known WebTV/MSN TV variations (i.e., TracNet 100, Thomson eTV, Rogers Interactive TV, etc.)
  • Any direct protocol captures of a WebTV/MSN TV box/viewer communicating with the original WebTV/MSN TV network. Preferred format for them is .pcap but any format will do. Protocol captures of any part of the service would be a big help to better understand how they worked and how content was generated to the end-user
  • Information on how the WebTV Viewer software was hacked to allow connections to the WebTV/MSN TV network
  • More information on the Messenger clients for both first-gen WebTV/MSN TV and the MSN TV 2

First-Generation WebTV/MSN TV

  • Any additional information on WTVP (WebTV Protocol), Mail Notify, or other WebTV/MSN TV protocols
    • For WTVP specifically, we'd also like info on the following, which includes but is not limited to:
      • Details for challenge/response method used on headwaiter
      • wtv-ticket data structure (if it has one)
      • wtv-token URLs
      • WTVP content proxies (HTTP, FTP, Gopher, etc.)
      • MSNP8 login service for WebTV/MSN TV Messenger
      • Information on how the wtv-capability-flags header functioned
  • More detailed information on TellyScript, ROMs (boot ROM, client ROM/flash upgrades), and other data formats WebTV/MSN TV relies on
  • Information on proprietary WebTV/MSN TV hardware components (i.e., ROM chips, the Solo and DINKY ASICs used in WebTV boxes)
  • Any information on the software and service used for the Japanese and Dreamcast releases of WebTV
  • Any information on first-gen WebTV/MSN TV units that utilized broadband (e.g., Rogers Interactive TV)
  • Information on how SSIDs are structured

MSN TV 2

  • Any information on the various "protocols" used by the MSN TV 2 service. They're desperately needed at this point
  • Any information on how the original boot ROMs and firmware worked
  • Any other information you have on the device