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Microsoft is trying to tempt US punters online with a TV-based Internet service that starts at under $10 a month.

Yesterday, the MSN TV service - which used to be called WebTV - announced that its "Economy Plan" will give subscribers five hours Internet access for $9.95 a month. Additional time online can be bought for $2.95 an hour.

There's also an all-you-can-eat "Unlimited Internet Access Time Plan" available for $21.95 a month.

Microsoft also unveiled a new MSN TV Internet receiver manufactured by Thomson RCA.

Costing around $99, the receiver enables people to access the Internet from their home TV set using a wireless keyboard or remote control.

Microsoft is plugging this as a low-cost way of getting Net access without having to fork out for a PC. And for those who already have a PC, Microsoft reckons this will make a useful back-up service.

Richard Bray, VP of MSN at Microsoft, said in a statement: "MSN is committed to making the Web incredibly useful for every consumer.

"For people who have never been on the Internet and who are looking for an inexpensive, simple way to get connected, or for more experienced Web users looking for a secondary way to get online, the MSN TV service continues to be a great solution," he said.

In January Microsoft restructured its Internet TV business with the loss of 160 jobs. ®

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