Microsoft announced today that it is going to shut down MSN TV on September 20th. Initially known as WebTV, which Microsoft acquired back in 1997 for $425 million, it was one of the first set-top boxes out there that allowed people to access the internet through their TV sets. MSN TV users were able to browse the internet as well as view e-mail right on the TV through wireless keyboards, but the service itself didn’t gain much traction with consumers.

Microsoft says that this “difficult decision” to pull the plug on MSN TV has been made due to the fact that the web has evolved at a breathtaking pace since 1997 and that there are many new ways right now to access internet on TVs. Its Xbox console is certainly on of those ways. Subscribers of the service have already been intimated about this decision through e-mail, the company will work with them to make the transition “as seamless as possible.” The news comes amid growing speculation that Apple is signing new deals for its set-top offering, a deal with Time Warner Cable is reportedly on the horizon which will bring a host of new channels on the Apple TV.

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