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Grass Valley Cameras Race at Tour de France 2004

Cameras from Thomson providing live action throughout (July 22, 2004)

Continuing to bring some of the world’s most exciting athletic events to millions of viewers worldwide, Thomson, the world leader in integrated solutions (technologies, equipment, and services) to the entertainment and media industries, announced that its Grass Valley standard-definition digital cameras are being used throughout France to cover the world’s most famous bicycle race -- the Tour de France.

France Television (France 2 and France 3), the exclusive broadcaster, is on-site with their two OB vans and more than 35 Grass Valley cameras from Thomson. Additionally, six of Thomson’s Grass Valley LDK 23HS Super SloMo camera systems are stationed at pre-selected destinations along the race course, including at the start and finish lines. The Tour de France, which ends July 27, is organized by Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), which also runs various prestigious sporting events, such as the Marathon de Paris and L’Open de France de Golf.

Euromedia/SFP (Société Française de Production), which ordered more than 130 Grass Valley LDK500 cameras last year, is the largest OB production company in France. SFP is serving as the main contractor for the Tour de France 2004, using its own digital OB (outside broadcast) vans, as well as MPEG2 transmission systems supplied by Live Tools Switzerland. EUROMEDIA/SFP is providing complete ground-to-air transmission of live images with three helicopters -- each equipped with Grass Valley TTV 1657D 12-bit digital cameras – and two planes. Also, six Grass Valley LDK 500 standard-definition (SD) cameras, the industry's first 14-bit camera system, are mounted on motorcycles to follow the riders as they make their way through the grueling course.

“Thomson has been closely associated with many of the world’s most famous sporting events. This year’s Tour de France is the latest example of Grass Valley brand product’s flexibility and popularity for bringing these events live to a worldwide audience,” said Marc Valentin, president of Thomson Broadcast & Media Solutions.

About the products
The Grass Valley LDK 500 SD camera features the industry's first 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion circuitry, significantly raising the bar for digital broadcast acquisition. A completely new digital video processing architecture provides powerful digital processing features other cameras just don't have--like setting camera parameters, such as skin tone, with a single video frame captured as a still. The LDK 500 also offers an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, superb sensitivity, and DPM, FT, and ultra-low smear (140 dB) IT and ITW sensors.

The Grass Valley LDK 23HS mk II represents the most widely used and demanded super slow-motion broadcast camera in the industry. Shooting at three times the rate of standard cameras—150 fields per second PAL and 180 fields per second NTSC—it offers superb resolution and is compatible with virtually any disk-based, slow motion system. And because it supports standard frame rates, there's no need to double up a camera position to add its capabilities.

The Grass Valley TTV 1657D SD camera is available in several configurations, suited to different shooting conditions: camcorder, conventional portable camera, Triax EFP, Microcam or Sportcam. All camera systems in the TTV 1657D family uses the same digital image processing, with 12-bit quantization -- the only way of accurately reproducing the widest ranges of contrast-- working at 14 bits or more for accurate processing of the most difficult pictures.

About Thomson
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: S) is the leading provider of technology and service solutions for integrated entertainment and media companies. By capitalizing on and expanding its leadership positions at the intersection of entertainment, media and technology, Thomson provides end-to-end solutions to content creators, video network operators, manufacturers and retailers through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, THOMSON and RCA brands. For more information:

Thomson's Video Network Solutions division develops video and film technologies, products and services sold to all major Hollywood studios, all major television, satellite, and cable broadcasters under the Technicolor and Grass Valley brand-names for the delivery of analog and digital entertainment. The division also includes Thomson's Broadband Access Products Business, which develops technologies and products for broadband and telecommunication networks to deliver digital entertainment and data to consumers and businesses.

For information about Grass Valley products from Thomson please visit

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