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New Grass Valley MPEG-4 Encoder Brings Prospect of Delivering HD in Todays SD Bandwidths

New processing hardware aims at 4 Mb/s in HD (January 30, 2006)

The first generation of a new breed of MPEG-4 encoder is now available from Grass Valley, a business within Thomson. The new encoder, part of the popular modular ViBE line, delivers very high-quality high-definition (HD) encoding. When implemented in a single chip, the new module will achieve that quality in a bandwidth down to 4 Mb/s.

Using sophisticated algorithms and other MPEG-4 efficiency improvements such as the use of multiple reference frames (I-frames) the new encoder offers the possibility of significant increases in compression efficiency.

At present, the encoder is implemented in a digital signal processor (DSP)-based architecture. It is deliverable immediately and will be used by major broadcasters for this years major sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup.

As part of Thomsons Two Year Plan to lead the market in IP solutions, Grass Valley has tackled the issue of high processing demand and compression performance by implementing all of the processing of the MPEG-4 H.264 standard in a single chip design.

This design will accomplish extremely high-quality, dual-pass encoding with low latency, at bit rates down to 4 Mb/s for HD. Supporting a cost-effective transition to HD, this approach will enable broadcasters to deliver HD in the same space as todays SD services, with five or six channels in a single satellite transponder.

Purchasers of new ViBE MPEG-4 encoders today will receive the DSP-based version. Once the Grass Valley single-chip version becomes available at the end of 2006, it can be inserted into the ViBE frame as a simple plug-and-play replacement.

?Grass Valley is in a unique position to develop this extremely complex single-chip solution because we can use it in multiple devices. In addition to the new ViBE encoder, expect to see the same excellent HD compression in products such as our server family, said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson.

Pricing for the new ViBE MPEG-4 encoder starts at $79,200 (65,000). It is scheduled to be available at the end of February 2006.

About Thomson - Partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides services, systems and technology to help its Media & Entertainment clients content creators, content distributors and users of its technology realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly changing technology environment. The Group is the preferred partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA and Thomson brands.

For more information:

Thomson's Systems and Equipment division develops video and film technologies, products and services sold to all major Hollywood studios, all major television, satellite, and cable broadcasters under the Grass Valley brand-name 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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Related Keywords:Grass Valley, MPEG-4 Encoder, Thomson, ViBE, encoding,

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