SOURCE: Thomson

November 16, 2005 13:45 ET

Australian Operator AUSTAR Signs Agreement with Thomson for Advanced Personal Digital Recorder Technology

Boulogne -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 16, 2005 -- Agreement marks further expansion of Thomson media and entertainment customer base

in Asia-Pacific Region

Paris and Sydney - November 16, 2005 - Thomson (Euronext Paris:18453; NYSE: TMS), partner to the media & entertainment industries, and AUSTAR (ASX: AUN), one of Australia's leading subscription television providers, today announced the signing of an agreement for the delivery of Personal Digital Recorders (PDR) to support the launch of AUSTAR's PDR service across regional and rural Australia from mid 2006. In winning this contract, Thomson has reinforced its Two-Year Plan commitment to broaden both its media and entertainment product offering and client base globally including in the Asia-Pacific region.

Major Digital Satellite Operator in the Region

With a coverage area of approximately 2.4 million homes and an existing base of almost 526,000 subscribers, AUSTAR is Australia's second largest subscription television operator and the largest operator in its market of regional and rural Australia. Marking Thomson's first entry into the Australian Subscription-TV market, delivery of the AUSTAR Personal Digital Recorders is due to commence mid 2006.

Cutting-edge PDR Technology

Breaking new ground in PDR technology, the Thomson solution comprises 4 tuners and is designed for both digital satellite and terrestrial reception. Inclusion of Free-to-Air (FTA) technology will enable AUSTAR to offer its subscribers a seamless digital entertainment experience across both delivery platforms without the need for a separate FTA digital tuner. Supporting advanced services, this two-way interactive digital set-top box with built-in 160 Gigabyte hard disk to store TV and video content incorporates OpenTV's next-generation middleware, OpenTV Core and PVR 2.0, and Irdeto Access technology for conditional access.

"In opting for Thomson's PDR, our customers will enjoy the best interactive television experience, watching what they want, when they want," said John Porter, CEO of AUSTAR. "This agreement allows AUSTAR to capitalize on Thomson's global leadership in set-top box and PDR technology. It will further expand our service offering and expand our subscriber base by offering our customers greater control, choice and flexibility than ever before," he added.

"We are delighted to have been appointed AUSTAR's supplier for PDR technology," said Koen van Driel, Senior Vice President, Satellite, Terrestrial & Cable Business Unit, Thomson. "In choosing Thomson, AUSTAR has demonstrated its confidence in our innovation and expertise in the delivery of cutting-edge digital content delivery solutions. Following on the heels of our being chosen as number one supplier of cable set-top boxes to Singapore-based cable operator StarHub in October and thanks to our relationship with Malaysian multi-channel TV service provider Astro, for example, this marks a further strengthening of Thomson's presence in the Asia-Pacific region, he concluded.

Information on Personal Digital Recorder Technology

PDR is an advanced set-top box technology that allows users to record and save hours and hours of TV programming on its hard drive to view anytime that suits them. Users can pause and re-wind live programming, record more than one channel at once, find and record whole series instantly, and much more.

* * *

Some of the statements contained in this press release, including statements by the management in relation to future expectations, represent "forward-looking statements" in the sense of the "Safe Harbor Statement" by the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These types of forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions on the part of the management and are subject to a range of factors and uncertainties which may lead to a considerable deviation of the results actually achieved from the expectations outlined either explicitly or implicitly in the forward-looking statements. This may be due to changes in global economic conditions, industry developments, a shift in the competitive situation or the passing of new legislation. More detailed information on the factors which may influence Thomson's financial results can be found in the documentation submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Thomson - Partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries

Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides services, systems and equipment, 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: www.thomson.net.

Thomson's Access Platforms and Gateways (AP&G) activity, part of the company's Systems & Equipment division, is a leading supplier of digital entertainment receivers to the world's major satellite and terrestrial broadcasters. It is also a major innovator in the provision of digital set-top boxes and high speed modems to cable operators.

In addition, it is one of the leading suppliers of high-speed modems and gateways, Internet Protocol (IP) set top boxes, IP system integration services and telephones to telecom operators and ISPs around the globe.

Inventel and Cirpack are part of Thomson's Access Platforms & Gateways Business Unit.

Complementing Thomson's offering in IP telephony and triple play services (voice, video and data), Inventel is a European leader in home gateways for fixed broadband network operators and in wireless voice and data communications (DECT, WiFi, Bluetooth), and Cirpack is the European leading provider of softswitch platforms.

You can find more information on AP&G's products at www.thomson-broadband.com.

About Austar United Communications (AUSTAR)

AUSTAR (Australian Stock Exchange "AUN" is a leading provider of subscription television services in Australia, providing principally satellite delivered services to regional and rural Australia. AUSTAR also offers mobile telephone and internet services. AUSTAR's 50% owned joint venture, XYZnetworks, is a significant program provider in the Australian market and owns and/or distributes Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Discovery Channel, Channel [V], Club [V], MAX Arena, The Lifestyle Channel, Lifestyle Food, CountryMusic Channel and The Weather Channel to an audience of more than 4 million people. In addition, AUSTAR was the first company in Australia to launch digital interactive television.

+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Press Relations          |                   |                    |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Martine Esquirou         |  +33 1 41 86 58 51|martine.esquirou@tho|
|                         |                   |mson.net            |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Marie-Vincente Pasdeloup |  +33 1 41 86 61 13|marie-vincente.pasde|
|                         |                   |loup@thomson.net    |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Brenda Clery (Access     |  +33 6 83 30 57 57|brenda.clery@thomson|
|Platforms & Gateways)    |                   |.net                |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Claudine Cécille (Access |  +33 1 41 86 67 44|claudine.cecille@tho|
|Platforms & Gateways)    |                   |mson.net            |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Investor Relations       |                   |                    |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Séverine Camp            |  +33 1 41 86 57 23|severine.camp@thomso|
|                         |                   |n.net               |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Laurent Sfaxi            |  +33 1 41 86 58 83|laurent.sfaxi@thomso|
|                         |                   |n.net               |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|AUSTAR                   |                   |                    |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
|Sarah Ogilvie (Corporate |    +61 2 9394 9806|sogilvie@austar.com.|
|Affairs)                 |                   |au                  |
+-------------------------+-------------------+--------------------+
This information is provided by CompanynewsGroup

Contact Information