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NDS, SAGEM and IBM Plan to Develop Next Generation Set Top Box to Drive PVR Technology


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LONDON & PARIS & EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. - 05 Dec 2001: NDS Group plc (NASDAQ/NASDAQ Europe: NNDS), a News Corporation company, SAGEM and IBM today announced that they intend to develop an advanced digital set-top box (STB) through which TV operators can deliver improved services to viewers and run their businesses more effectively.

Under the proposed agreement, IBM would integrate NDS's conditional access and XTV(TM) technology into its latest PowerPC integrated controller chips, which SAGEM will incorporate into its next-generation set-top boxes. SAGEM anticipates that products based on these technologies would be available in mid-2002. Development platforms are available immediately.

NDS's XTV PVR software gives operators a platform from which they can deliver to consumers digital reception and content protection, encrypted and personalized in a single, secure digital set-top box. IBM's new PowerPC-based set-top box controller provides the performance levels necessary for operators to handle delivery and management of new interactive digital services, such as PVR, video-on-demand and e-commerce.

Commenting on the proposed agreement, Dr. Jas Saini, Vice President Consumer Devices, NDS Group plc, said "Set-top boxes are dramatically changing the way people are able to be entertained and informed. The level of sophisticated, open technologies being developed by companies like IBM, NDS and SAGEM means that viewers are able to access the latest digital services in rapid time.''

"With the arrival of digital broadcasting, TV is no longer just a source of passive entertainment,'' said Eric Tsou, director, Digital Video Products Group, IBM Microelectronics. "It is migrating into home networking and e-commerce arenas and set-top boxes are central to this movement. Working with companies such as NDS and SAGEM to provide innovative, interactive TV applications for existing and future customer engagements is key to our long-term strategy in the digital TV space.''

"Co-operation with IBM and NDS is for us the opportunity to go forward and to further develop our STB offer; our objective being to meet our clients' future needs,'' commented SAGEM.

Earlier this year, IBM and NDS signed an agreement to integrate NDS's Random Access to Scrambled Content Process (RASP) technologies to enable both viewers and operators to benefit from the arrival in the set-top box of the hard disk and applications such as Personal Video Recorder (PVR).

RASP enables ease of access to encrypted content on a PVR by inserting access points into the encrypted content to allow viewers using the recorder to perform certain modes like fast forward, rewind and record more efficiently and quickly.

With revenue a key factor in content provision, XTV allows broadcast operators the opportunity to exploit more effectively content that may be stored on the hard disk in the STB. For example, different Pay-Per-View and rental models may be proposed, while viewers will have a greater choice of valuable content, stored and encrypted on the disk.