Older site updates that'd otherwise clutter the front page.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - 1/21/2022: Hey all, wtv-411 here. I'll just be blunt and say that over the period of time this wiki has been up, I've gradually lost interest in actively maintaining it. Now that doesn't mean that I don't care about the wiki at all or won't applaud the massive progress that has been made with general WebTV/MSN TV preservation efforts since it went live (I mean, seriously, I was never expecting the wiki to get this much attention and get so much previously unknown or lost WebTV content archived at all). This also doesn't mean that I intend to take the wiki down or any nonsense like that. I feel taking it down would be a giant disservice for those who find it a valuable resource. It's just that for me, updating the wiki and helping with archival efforts alongside that has gotten very tiring and they're not things that have personally interested me much, save for the few times I messed with the hardware (i.e., when I spoofed part of the MSN TV 2 service directly from a thumb drive of all things, and also the time I made custom TellyScripts that spawned two YouTube videos showcasing them) and the initial findings of lost WebTV content that were genuinely amazing to obtain and archive. In fact, writing the first batch of pages got very tiring after finishing the WTVP pages (which honestly is the reason why I even went along with the idea of this wiki), and with a few exceptions, adding onto the wiki was more of a chore than anything that I felt passionate about. WebTV isn't something I'm personally invested in. I just find most retro tech in general fascinating, and WebTV has been kind of a personal "white whale" of mine for several years that I hoped to find proper information on, technical or otherwise. Ever since I made that dream a reality with the creation of this wiki, I feel like I've contributed as much as I'm able to with it and the overall WebTV archival efforts in the following months since then. For various personal reasons that I won't talk about, I also want to just focus on my life and put my energy towards things that I actually enjoy. What this means for the future of this wiki is: expect way less edits to pages and expect me to not get back to emails as often. I'll still try to keep this up in one form or another, I'll still try to eventually find a permanent home for the content archive, and I'll still be checking on the wiki at times to make sure it doesn't magically break or something, but don't expect me to make edits to pages anymore. I also won't be very active in the WebTV Discord anymore.
Not all hope is abandoned though. Around a week before the new year, I figured it'd be a good idea to make HM from the WebTV Discord an editor for this wiki. Dude's way more passionate about WebTV than I ever could be and seeing his work with the WebTV Discord and archiving WebTV content on a private FTP server he runs, I think I can actually put some trust in the guy. He should be keeping the wiki somewhat up to date in the future, and he'll also continue posting on the 411 WebTV channel and will also be checking the email for any important stuff that I should reply to. For now, I'll also be checking in on any updates with WebTV preservation efforts from time to time and proofread any wiki edits from HM. That's as much as I'll be willing to continue doing, however. Running this wiki for almost a year has been an exciting, wild, and stressful experience, and I'm glad there's a community of WebTV loving people that'll still keep some interest up. I'll also just put this out there and say that I should not have started this wiki out by sprinkling in patronizing comments about "getting back at the WebTV scene" and nasty comments about them. The scene has its own issues and I don't agree with everything it's done with WebTV over the years, but I believe I could've done a much better job at addressing that than making personal insults towards them on the wiki that were more or less to convince people that they were bad. That was not good for the reputation of this wiki and also for my own personal mental health, and I've stopped doing that crap since. It's been fun, everyone!
UPDATE - 12/16/2021: We've done something that we thought we would never be able to. We were able to simulate some of the MSN TV 2 login process, and we didn't even need any web servers for this! Check out the shocking evidence at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWxO_8-0zOU.
UPDATE - 11/28/2021: Major news! With the help of natalie/agirisan, we were able to salvage the contents of a Sony INT-WJ200 box's hard drive, and we not only got a TellyScript out of it, but two Japanese WebTV firmware builds and other goodies we'll eventually cover in the future. TellyScript is named "JP_WTV_20000616.tok" on the content archive under "First-Gen WebTV and MSN TV > TellyScripts and DialScripts", and the builds are now uploaded to the WebTV/MSN TV ROM collection on Archive.org (which you should be able to find with a simple Google search).
WTVROMAssembler and the ROMFS libraries are now on Archive.org, which should ensure that they stay preserved outside of the confines of our content archive.
UPDATE - 8/22/2021: After much stalling, most of the original files for the 1997 and 1998 WebTV Plus interactive demos are now available to download at Archive.org. The files for the original 1997 version are available at https://archive.org/details/webtv-plus-demo-1997, and the files for the 1998 version are available at https://archive.org/details/webtv-plus-demo-1998. Note that the uploads do not have all files available as the current tool that made extracting them possible (WebTV Partition Editor) is known to have issues reading certain files or directories from WebTV/MSN TV disk images.
UPDATE - 8/7/2021: We finally got around to writing a guide on imaging hard drives in WebTV/MSN TV boxes, which'll be useful to those who simply want to make backups and for those who are willing to send the images to us and let us salvage any important WebTV/MSN TV data off them for preservation purposes (see Wanted on the sidebar for more info). Guide is available at Backing Up WebTV (MSN TV) Hard Drives.
UPDATE - 7/3/2021: An earlier version of a clip from the 2.1.1 WebTV Plus demo has been uploaded to the 411 WebTV YouTube channel. Also look forward to the files for said demo being uploaded to the content archive pretty soon. ;)
UPDATE - 6/23/2021: A WebTV/MSN TV ROM part assembler tool written by eMac is now up on the content archive.
UPDATE - 6/20/2021: Some official service documentation from WebTV/MSN TV has been uploaded to the content archive. This includes two revisions of the humorously named "Greater Scroll of Dialing Wisdom", which are also available for direct viewing from our web server.
We also added a Japanese Dreamcast TellyScript sample to our content archive under the TellyScripts folder in "First-Gen WebTV and MSN TV", if anyone cares.
UPDATE - 6/17/2021: All currently available WebTV/MSN TV Viewer installers have been uploaded to the content archive.
UPDATE - 5/30/2021: A collection of clipart available from the WebTV/MSN TV Page Builder service has now been archived on both the content archive and Archive.org.
UPDATE - 5/14/2021 (cont.): The MPEG clips used in the 2.1.1 WebTV Plus demo have now been individually uploaded to the 411 WebTV YouTube channel (which I and a friend, H.M., operate), which also includes the splash videos left out of the MPEG compilation video that were used on boxes that'd carry the demo (currently known to include Sony, Philips Magnavox, and Mitsubishi). Feel free to take a gander and look at any of the uploads if you're interested. I also learned that the original MPEGs are wonky in that they don't play on normal media players (the default Windows 10 app and VLC play them and immediately stop, WMP only plays the audio), and for some reason all have the FPS set to 5, which made conversion to MP4 a bit confusing at first. Using 15fps seems to work well enough, though. Still considering uploading the MPEGs to the content archive soon, though, obviously now with the knowledge that they aren't conventionally playable.
UPDATE 5/13/2021: The ROMFS libraries hosted on our "The WebTV Files" content archive now come with two sample scripts that provide an easy command-line interface for extracting and rebuilding ROMFS data.
- UPDATE 1.5 - 5/14/2021: I would make this its own update but since I feel it's not too major to clutter this page with individual updates I'll group it under yesterday's update. The original MPEG videos used for that 2.1.1 WebTV Plus demo (the one with the cheesy narrator voice) have been ripped and uploaded to YouTube in a high quality compilation (along with the background music used for the menu screen in said demo). Plans to upload the raw MPEG files and to upload them individually to YouTube are being considered.
UPDATE 5/6/2021: The firmware and boot ROM collection for first-gen WebTV/MSN TV that we got a hold of last month has now been published to the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/WebtvMsntvRomCollection
UPDATE - 4/24/2021: We have two major announcements to break to you all. First off, we've moved our host for our "The WebTV Files" archive from Google Drive to MEGA. The initial motive for considering this was more of a personal choice but with a major breakthrough (to us) that happened to take place yesterday, we figured moving there sooner would be beneficial to us. All old Google Drive links for our archive have since been replaced with MEGA ones.
Speaking of major breakthrough, we've received a crap load of ROM images that cover more hardware types and builds. These ROMs have since been dumped into our content archive, and a great thanks to Zefie, a WebTV scene member, for making this all possible. We got in contact with him for something completely different originally (MSNTV 2 info), but he couldn't be of assistance for that as he didn't have much interest in what we were after anyway. He did manage to be helpful with shedding more information about first-gen WebTV though, and we were shocked when he was considering sending a good portion of his ROM archive to us. The RARs Zefie sent us were 13 gigabytes alone, and when everything was uncompressed the data was so large that we figured relying on Google Drive's 15 GB of storage at this point wasn't viable, hence the sudden move to MEGA as they offer 50 gigs of storage for free users now it appears (it's also much better to manage files there than on Google Drive). We're still far from having a complete archive of this data, or anything else WebTV-related for that matter, but this definitely helped us pick up the pace a little and we hope more people will eventually contribute their own information as time goes on.