Harmonic Signs French Deal

France's leading broadcaster launches first digital terrestrial service with Harmonic video headend

April 21, 2005

2 Min Read

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq:HLIT) and TF1 (PSE:TFI), France's leading broadcaster, today announced that Harmonic's advanced video solutions are being used to support the first commercial digital terrestrial television service in France. TF1 is the operator of the SMR6 Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) multiplex which gathers free-to-air channels (NRJ12, TF1) and pay-TV channels from TF1 Group (LCI, Eurosport, TPS Star). The new DVB-compliant digital headend -- built on Harmonic's high-performance DiviCom(R) MV 100 encoding platform, DiviTrackXE(TM) closed-loop statistical multiplexing system and NMX Digital Service Manager(TM) -- delivers the flexibility, reliability and outstanding picture quality required for free and pay-TV services. Harmonic's solution will enable TF1 to simultaneously deliver MPEG-2 and MPEG-4/AVC (H.264) based services.

The launch of the SMR6 free-to-air DTT service on March 31, 2005 initiated a new era for broadcasting in France. Over the coming months, the geographical reach will be extended and the scope of services will grow to include HDTV and pay-TV based on MPEG-4/AVC. According to recent market research, more than 30 percent of French households are expected to install a DTT set-top box by the end of 2005, representing between 750,000 and one million units. This rapid uptake is expected to lead to a further expansion of services currently delivered by satellite, cable and telecom operators.

Central to this DTT service is Harmonic's DiviCom MV 100 encoding platform, which renders the highest picture-quality at any bit-rate and offers a simple migration path to MPEG-4 through a field installable software module. The MV 100's support of standards-based digital program insertion (DPI) allows content to be more easily and cost-effectively regionalized, enhancing local relevance as coverage expands across the national network of 115 transmission sites. To further optimize the video compression and service flexibility, TF1 is using the third generation DiviTrackXE closed-loop statistical multiplexing solution to support both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats in the same multiplex. This greatly simplifies the headend infrastructure while delivering superior picture-quality across all free-to-air and pay-TV services.

"Terrestrial broadcasting in France is embarking on a series of complex technology and business model transitions as it migrates from analog to digital, MPEG-2 to MPEG-4/AVC, standard definition to high definition, and free-to-air to pay-TV," said Dr. Yaron Simler, President of the Convergent Systems Division of Harmonic Inc. "TF1 has demonstrated its forward thinking and leadership, deploying a proven Harmonic-based headend that can easily scale to support the long-term business plans, to become the first to market in France with a digital terrestrial service. Key to TF1's selection of Harmonic is the ability of our systems to provision services based on both current and future compression technologies as well as free and pay-TV services."

Harmonic Inc.

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