What's available on your TV

10th November 2000 at 00:00

How to get it: Subscribe to BSkyB's SkyDigital digital satellite TV service from pound;7 per month plus pound;40 installation for the free set-top box and dish

Optional extras: Wireless keyboard, pound;34.99

What you get: Free access to Open's interactive TV service which includes home shopping, home banking, games and information services. Up to eight free email accounts per household

Pros: Offers convenient way of accessing email, email can be accessed from a PC, messages can be composed offline

Cons: Call charges are made at local rates plus 1p per minute. Can't read attached files, no memory in set-top box, can only write and send emails one at a time, creating emails clumsy without optional keyboard, no email notification, no Internet access

Contact Details: 08702 404040, www.sky.comskydigital


How to get it: Subscribe to ONdigital TV service from pound;6.99 per month or pound;159 pre-pay package (includes set-top box and 12 months subscription)

Optional extras: Wireless keyboard pound;30

What you get: Five free email accounts per household

Pros: Convenient, email notification system on your TV screen, can create emails while watching a TV programme

Cons: Slow modem (2,400 bits per second), can't read attached files, creating emails clumsy without optional keyboard, no Internet access (but see below), not all areas receive ONdigital's service

Contact Details: 0808 100 0101, www.ondigital.com


How to get it: Subscribe to ONdigital (see above for details) and pay additional pound;5 per month. Calls 1p per minute off-peak and weekends, 2p at all other times

Optional extras: na

What you get: Net box which connects to ONdigital set-top box, wireless keyboard, five free email accounts

Pros: Full Internet access, can watch TV and surf the Net at the same time, Net box has fast 56K modem, easy to access programmes with Web links. can attach sound files and still video images to emails, Web browser works with most Internet site features including, RealAudio and Flash animations, email notification system

Cons: Can't save Web pages

Contact Details: 0808 100 0101, www.ondigital.com


How to get it: Buy it in many high street stores for around pound;179

Optional extras: Wireless keyboard pound;29.99

What you get: 14-inch TV and remote control handset with built-in Qwerty keyboard for pound;169.99, or set-top box that connect to most TVs for pound;79.99, five free email accounts

Pros: Easy to set-up and use, no monthly subscription fee, calls made at local rates, users can set time limit for online session, printer can be connected to a TV or set-top box for printing Web information

Cons: Can't download Web pages and store them

Contact Details: 0845 666 2222

* SERVICE: TV internet

How to get it: Three ways: ntl customers subscribe to ntl's Digital Plus service from pound;10 per month plus pound;25 installation fee. Former Cable amp; Wireless customers (ntl has taken over Camp;W) pay same amount but can only receive a walled garden of Internet sites. Customers outside ntl's cable areas can receive service through telephone line and get full Internet access

Optional extras: na

What you get: Set-top box, wireless keyboard, five free email accounts, access to interactive TV services which include an education section, telephone line rental

Pros: Full Internet access via ntlworld, no call charges, 24-hour support, can attach still images to emails, emails can be printed out, can watch TV while emails are being downloaded

Cons: Can't store web pages

Contact Details: 0800 183 1234, www.askntl.comtvInternet

* SERVICE: Telewest Active Digital

How to get it: Subscribe to Telewest's digital cable service from pound;9 per month. Installation costs: TV plus telephone line pound;20, TV-only pound;40 (sic)

Optional extras: Wireless keyboard, pound;32.99

What you get: Access to interactive services, three free email accounts Pros: Convenient, no call charges

Cons: Limited number of email addresses, no Internet access, service is not available in all areas

Contact Details: 0800 953 5353, www.telewest.co.uk * SERVICE: M@ail.TV

How to get it: Purchase set-top box for "Under pound;50" or Bush 14-inch Mail TV (email-enabled) for around pound;179 from Argos, Littlewoods, John Lewis and GUS stores. Keyboard included in package

Optional extras: na

What you get: An email service which uses your TV as a monitor, five free email accounts

Pros: Easy to set up, no subscription fee or forms to fill-in, can use your existing email address on the service, emails can be accessed from a PC

Cons: Only offers basic text messages, no Internet access, emails can only be composed while online, TV set is expensive when compared with Bush Internet TV which offers both email and Internet access

Contact Details: fax: 0207 928 7979, www.mailtv.com

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