THOMSON and Microsoft Sign MOU to Integrate Microsoft TV Platform With RCA Advanced Cable Set-Top Receiver for Enhanced TV

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29, 2000 — Today at the 2000 Western Cable Show, THOMSON multimedia and Microsoft Corp. announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) toward the integration of the Microsoft® TV platform with the newly designed THOMSON digital cable set-top receiver to be marketed in North America and Europe.

Demonstrations of the new cable set-top product will be conducted at the annual Western Cable Show Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Los Angeles. The scalable advanced set-top design will address growing demand from digital cable subscribers for new entertainment services including video-on-demand, interactive television, Personal Video Recording (PVR), high-definition TV via cable, and broadband Internet access.

The combined capabilities of the RCA receiver with the Microsoft TV platform provide an integrated package of enhanced TV entertainment for consumers as well as significant new economic opportunities for software and hardware suppliers. The Microsoft TV platform is capable of growing with network operators, allowing seamless upgrades to viewer services.

“The development of this highly advanced digital cable set-top product brings together two of the most respected companies in broadband cable development,”
said Carl Bruhn, general manager of the Broadband Cable Profit Center at THOMSON.
“THOMSON is an established leader in the delivery of standards-based cable products and the design of advanced, cost-effective digital video decoding devices, and Microsoft is a worldwide leader in software development for a myriad of digital products.”

“It is through our work with industry leaders such as THOMSON that we hope to advance the enhanced television industry,”
said Alan Yates, vice president of sales and marketing at Microsoft TV.
“THOMSON is one of the world’s premier producers of consumer electronics products. By working with it to deliver advanced set-tops running on a platform that supports open standards, we are confident we can speed the availability of enhanced TV services to consumers.”

Under the terms of the MOU, the companies intend to work together to fulfill the specific needs of network operators that would take advantage of the next-generation set-top receivers. Today’s announcement also illustrates the shared vision between THOMSON and Microsoft to accelerate the mass-market availability of new broadband TV services through the support of open standards. By supporting standards such as HTML, XML, DVD and Data Over Cable Systems Interface Specifications (DOCSIS), the two companies are helping ensure that other key providers — including cable operators, broadcasters, content developers, application developers and service providers — can easily take advantage of the new opportunities available through broadband TV networks.

In addition, the two companies plan to collaborate in the promotion and marketing of their respective products for cable customers. Both parties will jointly market and sell solutions to network operators and to third-party customers such as content providers and conditional access providers.

About THOMSON multimedia

With sales of 6.7 billion Euros ($6.5 billion U.S.) in 1999 and 55,000 employees in more than 30 countries, THOMSON multimedia (NYSE
) is the world’s fourth largest producer of consumer electronics. The group has five principal activities: Displays and Components, Consumer Products, Digital Media Solutions, New Media Services, and Patents and Licensing. THOMSON multimedia engineers, manufactures and markets display components and consumer products such as televisions, VCRs, audio systems, digital decoders, DVD players and professional video equipment under the popular RCA and THOMSON brand names. THOMSON multimedia is listed in the Paris (Sicovam: 18453) and New York stock exchanges. THOMSON multimedia is the parent company of the United States-based THOMSON Consumer Electronics Inc. More information can be found at .

About the Microsoft TV Platform

The Microsoft TV platform is a comprehensive, standards-based, client and server software solution that enables network operators to enhance the TV experience for their viewers and subscribers. The software platform creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and the suppliers of programming, hardware and software in the TV industry worldwide. Microsoft TV is backed by the technical expertise, support and broad third-party developer community for which Microsoft is known. The platform makes it cost-effective for network operators to deploy new enhanced TV services on first-generation digital set-top boxes as well as the new generation of advanced set-top boxes and entertainment appliances emerging now.

The Microsoft TV products include Microsoft TV Basic Digital and Microsoft TV Advanced software for set-top boxes, and Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server for delivering enhanced TV services through the network operators’ head end. As an extension of the Microsoft TV platform, Microsoft TV Technologies will provide broadcast-rich services and functions within future generations of the Windows® operating system, paving the way for enhanced TV services on personal computers and other computing devices.

Microsoft TV has been designed to support worldwide digital TV broadcast standards, including Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and ARIB. It also supports commonly used Internet standards such as HTML, JavaScript and Dynamic HTML, as well as all interactive content authored according to the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification. More information about Microsoft TV and Microsoft TV Technologies can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Except for historical information contained here, the matters discussed in this news release contain forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties, including the timely availability of new products, the impact of competitive products and pricing, the management of growth, and other risks detailed from time to time in THOMSON’s SEC reports.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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