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Thomson Announces New IP Video Set-Top Box

(April 20, 2005)

Thomson is expanding its IPTV product portfolio with the introduction of the IP1100 High Definition Networked Entertainment Set-Top Box Platform.

Designed to enable telephone and IPTV service operators to deliver affordable standard and high-definition video content, the IP1100 platform provides extensive advanced compression codec support including H.264/AVC, Windows Media 9, VC-1, and MPEG-2. These codecs allow operators to deliver hundreds of television channels, digital audio, web browsing, gaming and e-mail directly into the living room over existing DSL lines.

The new decoder box builds upon the technology enhancements that Thomson introduced in its third generation advanced compression video product - the IP1000.

"This new decoder integrates four years of technical expertise that Thomson has acquired in IPTV," commented Keith Wehmeyer, General Manager, IP Video North America, Thomson. "Based on customer feedback, we have developed a flexible, cost-reduced set-top box that delivers both SD and HD content. We continue to be at the forefront of the technological advancements and are ideally positioned to help operators implement their IP Video strategy going forward," he added.

The decoder features a flexible and powerful PC architecture with the Intel Celeron M processor and new Intel 854 chipset that allows operators to deploy new services and hardware variations such as tuners and hard disc drives for multi-service applications including combo-broadcast, download VOD, PVR and home networking.

"Thomson's announcement of its new set-top box platform is helping to advance digital home entertainment to the next level of performance and quality," said Joe Jensen, General Manager, Consumer Electronics Group, Intel Corporation. The flexible architecture of the Thomson decoder, enabled by the Intel® Celeron M processor and Intel 854 chipset, offers service providers a cost-effective platform for the delivery of compelling content and will enable Telcos to rapidly deploy a variety of advanced services to consumers."

The IP1100 is a global platform that takes advantage of the efficiencies afforded by the advanced compression standards. "In the development of the IP1100 platform Thomson has worked closely with encoder and middleware firms to deliver a total end-to-end IP video solution to operators. Smooth integration of the system is key to the success our customers and this new flexible, affordable decoder will complete their package," Wehmeyer stated.

To showcase its interoperability capabilities, Thomson will demonstrate live decoding on the RCA IP1100 during the National Association of Broadcasters Show this week in Las Vegas in the following booths:

Thomson/Grass Valley - Booth SU7823
H.264 SD demonstration on Thomson Vibe encoder
The Grass Valley ViBE is widely regarded as the most efficient and compact digital content delivery platform available, and since its launch in 2003 more than 1200 units have been installed with the world's leading broadcasters. New at NAB 2005 is a product tailored to the specific needs of IP TV delivery. The IPS 1200 is a multi-stream encoder capable of delivering hundreds of television channels, particularly for telcos looking to move into triple play through IP TV.

Microsoft - Booth SL332
Windows Media 9 HD demonstration on Tandberg EN5980 HD encoder

SkyStream - Booth SL2756
H.264 SD demonstration on SkyStream Advanced Video Coding (AVC)

The IP1100 is fully compatible with the TANDBERG Television ICE (Intelligent Compression Engine) encoders for SD and HD Windows Media 9 Series and MPEG-4 AVC, as well as MPEG-2. "Advanced compression brings enormous benefits to players in the IPTV world, but deploying these codecs requires a lot more than just an encoding box. We are delighted to be working closely with Thomson to ensure that our SD and HD advanced encoding solutions are fully integrated with the IP1100. Our joint interoperability program will ensure that operators can make the most of the business model benefits that these new technologies enable," says Noel Matthews, director of broadband at TANDBERG Television.

In conjunction with the SkyStream Advanced Coding Solution (AVC), the IP1100 enables operators to deliver high quality video content. "SkyStream's Mediaplex-20 and iPlex headends will provide MPEG-4 AVC encoding and transcoding for transmission over any type of network to Thomson's IP1100 MPEG-4 set-top box," said Francois Modarresse, director of product management, SkyStream. "By combining the MPEG-4 AVC capabilities of our video headend platforms with Thomson's MPEG-4 compatible set-top box, we're offering service providers a complete MPEG-4 solution, making it easy to upgrade from MPEG-2 and offer broadcast quality video services along with new services like high definition video and video on demand."

The RCA IP1100 set-top box has two USB 2.0 ports, composite and S-Video outputs for NTSC video, Ethernet interface to connect via broadband modem or other IP gateway device, line-level stereo audio outputs, optical S/PDIF output, coaxial digital output, and 3 LEDs with GPIO control. HD capable models add HDMI and component video outputs.

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