WebTV (AKA MSN TV) replacement? (with complications)
December 5, 2013 12:24 PM Subscribe
So, my parents (in their 80s), like many older folks, lost internet connection when Microsoft shut down the former WebTV service in September. It was a perfect solution for them and it seems nothing has emerged to satisfactorily replace it, but we have special problems since they can only get dial-up in their rural US location, and cellular coverage is spotty and complicated. Plus I'm on a different continent (and not so good at that end of computer literacy anyway – especially since things work a bit differently where I am). Still, I'd like to know what replacement solutions people have come up with among those of you who have dealt with a similar problem, especially if you can't be on hand to address ongoing problems that might pop up.
posted by taz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
WebTV was great because there were no security issues, it was affordable, accessible, and provided all that my folks really wanted: email and search functions. I don't think my parents even ever messed with Facebook at all. They just want to be able to read their email and look things up. I think they also used the printing function to print photos that were emailed to them.
But like a lot of people, their email is kind of a virus sweet spot, with lots of mail from friends and family who append everyone in their contact list in the cc field, linking to all sorts of iffy junk, etc. All the usual stuff, and they definitely aren't savvy about stuff like WE HAVE DETECTED A VIRUS ON YOUR COMPUTER, CLICK HERE TO REMOVE IT, or fake urls, and all the rest.
Chromebook is a frequently offered suggestion, but as I understand it, won't work with dial-up. I also know that iPad (and this is just assuming it will even connect with cellular where they are, and it well may not) is vaunted as being easy for older people, but I have one, and I'm not really seeing it if there isn't someone there to be able to provide some ongoing guidance, especially at first. I was a bit taken aback myself when various things I was used to changed with the latest update, for example. (I have other family who can pop in occasionally, but don't live close enough that it's feasible to be on hand frequently for help and guidance.)
Anyway, I'd like to hear about any solutions that have worked well for people who have wrestled with helping to provide a replacement for WebTV for totally non-computer savvy older folks. Even if it doesn't address the specifics of my sort of weird situation, it might help my overall picture.