Microsoft and Thomson Announce Availability of IPTV-Ready Set-Top Box

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 10, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. and Thomson, the world leader in integrated solutions (technologies, equipment and services) for the entertainment and media industries, today announced the availability of the Thomson-brand IP1001 and RCA-brand IP1000 set-top boxes that support the Microsoft
TV Internet Protocol television (IPTV) software platform. The Microsoft TV platform, together with Thomson’s advanced set-top boxes, enables the delivery of next-generation TV services to consumer television sets over existing two-way, broadband networks. The new Thomson IP1001 set-top box running Microsoft TV IPTV software is being exhibited at the Microsoft TV booth, stand 1.548, at IBC2004.

The Thomson IP1001 and the RCA IP1000 set-top boxes are now available for all Microsoft TV IPTV trial customers, including Bell Canada, Reliance Infocomm Ltd., SBC Communications Inc. and Swisscom/Bluewin. Switzerland-based Bluewin is the first customer to conduct a market trial of the Microsoft TV IPTV platform and is deploying the Thomson set-top boxes in the trial.

“We are very excited about the trial we are undertaking with the Microsoft TV IPTV solution on the Thomson IPTV-ready set-top box,” said Michael Zumsteg, Head of Expanded Business at Bluewin. “Working with these two market leaders in the field of IPTV enables us to deliver significant new value to our trial base of over 600 customers, providing them with compelling and exciting TV services across 30 channels, including five pay-TV channels.”

The Microsoft TV IPTV platform enables network operators to deliver pay-TV services, including broadcast and on-demand television, along with an array of new content and service offerings that take advantage of the power, flexibility and cost efficiencies of broadband IP networks and systems. IPTV allows network operators to deliver integrated video, communications and data services across a single network architecture. The Microsoft TV IPTV platform includes bandwidth-efficient delivery of standard- and high-definition TV channels, along with scalable video on demand, digital video recording and interactive TV services.

The Microsoft TV IPTV platform and Thomson IP1001 and RCA IP1000 set-top boxes run Windows® CE embedded technology, allowing network operators to easily add new applications and providing a rich multimedia experience for customers, in addition to robust, remote management capabilities. The IP1001 and IP1000 are based on Thomson’s new advanced-compression video delivery platform that enables network operators to deliver high-quality audio and video content through existing IP networks. The powerful, flexible and efficient technology platform incorporates an Intel Pentium III processor running at 933 MHZ and the Intel 830M4 graphics chipset to provide the raw processing power needed to decode advanced coders/decoders (codecs) and produce high-quality pictures and sound. Both set-top boxes support current and next-generation video codecs including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, Windows Media®
9 Series, and MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC (H.264/JVT).

“Our announcement with Thomson reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to working with industry-leading partners to deliver best-in-class solutions for operators that want to offer compelling pay-TV services using today’s broadband network technology,” said Moshe Lichtman, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV Division. “The combination of the Microsoft IPTV platform and the Thomson IP1001/RCA IP1000 set-top boxes results in an ideal solution for operators like Bluewin that want to complement their existing voice and high-speed data offerings with compelling pay-TV services to significantly improve their competitive position in today’s dynamic marketplace.”

“By being the first set-top manufacturer to deliver devices to support the Microsoft TV IPTV platform, Thomson demonstrates its global market leadership as the demand for IPTV solutions takes off,” said Bruno Fabre, vice president of the Telecom Division at Thomson. “Microsoft and Thomson share a commitment to help telecommunications operators derive significant new business benefits from technology, and this priority is the driving force behind our successful relationship.”

About Thomson

Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) is the leading provider of technology and service solutions for integrated media and entertainment 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 Broadband Access Products activity, part of Thomson’s Video Network Solutions division, is a leading supplier of digital entertainment receivers to the world’s major satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcasters. It is also one of the leading suppliers of high-speed modems, IP set-top boxes, and telephones to Telecom companies around the globe. Products are marketed under several brands including RCA, Thomson, and SpeedTouch.

About Microsoft TV

Microsoft TV provides software solutions that help digital TV operators create new services that delight consumers. Designed to help cable providers and telecommunications companies derive more value from digital video and network infrastructure investments, the Microsoft TV product family supports a range of digital video services including interactive program guides, digital video recording, high-definition TV and on-demand programming. The Microsoft TV platform works across a full range of set-top boxes and TV devices. More information about Microsoft TV can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Windows and Windows Media 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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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