MSN Preview from 1996 (with Anna Faris, among others)





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Uploaded on Jul 13, 2006


This is the set of videos for The Microsoft Network Preview that shipped with the MSN 2.0 software, created on October 17, 1996.

MSN 2.0 was supposed to be a radical shift in the way people viewed online content. The preview featured a variety of ostensibly "real people" who represented the 6 channels of the software's main section, called On Stage. Most of the acting is really canned, but what else would you expect?

Unfortunately, the software was way ahead of its time. In 1996, people were trying to use this software with 16 MB RAM and 14.4k dial-up modems. No one really knew what to expect from the web back then anyway. You'll hear these people talk about visiting websites and using email like it's something unprecedented.

This effort from MSN failed because computers in 1996 weren't ready for all of this content. The web would ultimately become a place that people could browse by themselves, without relying on a single online service. By 1998, MSN's entire site was back to a regular-looking page without any fancy video content. Regardless, this set of videos was probably the most interesting promotional item that MSN has ever put together.

There are 8 parts to this video:
0:00 - Outside the theatre
0:45 - Inside the theatre's lobby - Your eyes don't deceive you: The girl that appears at 1:20 is Anna Faris; in 1996 she was an unknown actress, she became popular in 2000 for her role in "Scary Movie"
1:58 - Channel 1 (MSNBC news, weather, sports) - watch a truly vintage MSNBC commercial hosted by Brian Williams
2:32 - Channel 2 (showbiz, games, drama)
3:09 - Channel 3 (arts, nature, history)
3:54 - Channel 4 (self, health, wealth)
4:31 - Channel 5 (media, zines, attitude) - the weirdest one BY FAR! stay tuned for this part. this girl coined the phrase "too stupid to stop" that haunted some people during the installation process of MSN 2.0
5:07 - Channel 6 (fun, teens, comics)

These videos were filmed some time after July 1996 and before September 23, 1996. I couldn't find any information about any of the other actors/actresses who appear throughout the videos. They all go uncredited.


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