Boom in HD Transmission Using MPEG-4 Fuels Strong Growth in Grass Valley Compression Products
Paris/Amsterdam (IBC - Stands 11.550 / 11.551 7.531 / M214 / OEH201), 07 September 2006 - Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) today announced that its Grass Valley Broadcast & Networks business has won orders of more than 50 units for the Grass Valley ViBE MPEG-4 encoder in its first four months of availability taking market share from competitors in this growing segment of our market.
The market for HD MPEG-4 compression is predicted* to be around 250 million between 2006 and 2008. The power and flexibility of the ViBE encoding platform, with the dedicated Mustang processing engine, is winning a major share of that market. Thomson is predicting year-on-year growth of more than 60% for its compression products.
"HDTV is transforming every part of our industry -- but it is only of value if we can deliver it to audiences," said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson. "Our powerful compression technologies are delivering flawless HD video quality at the industry's best bit rates."
Grass Valley has installed ViBE HD encoders across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, in applications including direct to home broadcast via satellite, terrestrial broadcast and cable. Recent installations include a new HD headend for French IPTV operator Completel, the Canal+ service in Poland Cyfrowy, and the migration of pioneer HD broadcaster Euro1080 to MPEG-4, in preparation for its expansion from two channels to 20.
MediaCorp, the state broadcaster in Singapore, has launched a trial terrestrial HD service using the ViBE encoder. In the UK, both demonstration DTT channels are powered by ViBE HD MPEG-4 encoders.
The MPEG-4 HD encoder is just one application of this modular platform. Since its launch in 2003 over 6000 channels of ViBE encoding have been installed worldwide. As well as final broadcast services ViBE is used by leading network operators for contribution (backhaul) and distribution circuits.
Improved algorithms in MPEG-4 allow it to achieve compression ratios an order of magnitude better than MPEG-2, but at the cost of greatly increased processing demands in the encoder. Grass Valley has developed a single chip solution to reach this challenge, which allows it to extract the maximum benefit from the move to MPEG-4. Using the ViBE MPEG-4 encoder with the Mustang device, broadcasters can deliver premium HD services in more than half the bit rate they are currently using for MPEG-2 high definition television. This factor alone makes the move to HD commercially viable in many cases.
* Source: McKinsey
About Thomson - World leader in digital video technologies
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides technology, services, and systems 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: www.thomson.net.
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