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17Feb/140

Fujitsu Joins-Up with TVonics to Bring First of Its Kind All-European Digital Terrestrial Set Top Box to Market

Frankfurt, Germany, and Pencoed, Wales, UK, (PRWEB) August 25, 2005

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe (FME) has been working closely with UK digital set top box (STB) manufacturer, TVonics Limited, who is commencing mass production of its stylish, digital terrestrial set top box for the UK and European markets. This unique, European designed STB uses key components that have been either designed or manufactured within Europe. The TVonics designed product, which delivers fast, responsive performance at an affordable price, will be on sale from the end of September 2005.

This new STB, manufactured in the UK by Sony for TVonics, is initially being rolled-out to serve the high-growth UK digital terrestrial market for Freeview services. Offering a distinctive styling and form factor, it offers end consumers a refreshing alternative to the traditional silver or grey rectangular boxes currently on sale.

Designed to minimise ecological impact through the use of lead-free components, a recyclable aluminium enclosure, and low power consumption, it will conform to the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) EU mandate for products sold from January 2006 onwards. It is expected to be in high demand by British consumers, eager to enjoy the popular range of digital television programmes available on Freeview.

TVonics selected FME’s ‘SmartMPEG’ MB86H25B decoder for use in the new STB, due to its low power consumption & system cost, which was made possible through its optimised silicon integration design techniques. The chip was designed at FME’s Multimedia Development Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, and requires just one SDRAM and a Flash memory, consuming less than 700mW in full operation.

This 3rd Generation SmartMPEG device has enjoyed excellent success around the world, with over 10 million unit deployments. The design win at TVonics spearheads its expansion into the buoyant European digital terrestrial television market.

FME’s SmartMPEG family allows many different applications to be executed - in this case an optimised DVB-T Adapter with interactivity - but it is also suited to automotive applications; Personal Video Recorder, Dual/Twin Receiver, Portable and semi-professional applications; as well as satellite receivers, when used in combination with Fujitsu's QPSK Silicon Tuner.

The two companies were able to combine their experience in order to reduce the STB product development time to just 6 months. This was partly due to the application software being based on the Cabot Aurora DVB Middleware reference port, carried out last year between FME & Cabot Communications.

Production of the circuit board, product assembly, test and packing is being carried out by Sony Manufacturing, Pencoed Technology Park, UK - a natural choice for TVonics which is based on-site within the Technium Digital@Sony, technology incubation centre, established by Sony and the Welsh Development Agency in 2004.

Paul Fellows, CEO of TVonics said, “The silicon chip technology and technical support provided by Fujitsu, together with the software technology of Cabot, has enabled TVonics to enter the market quickly with a product delivering superior performance at a very competitive price. This development has been an excellent example of how three European based design groups can work together to deliver class leading products to market quickly”.

He continued, “The excellent co-operation from Fujitsu has led to very close links being forged between the two companies resulting in the perfect design mix. The new box will be announced and featured on our Stand 215, Hall 5 at IBC 2005 in Amsterdam from 9th-13th September”.

Johannes Richter, Multimedia Business Unit Director at FME, added, “The experience and professionalism from TVonics perfectly matched our own when it came to the design of an elegant, unique product to bring to market in the UK and Europe. We are extremely happy to have been part of this design and look forward to a long relationship with TVonics”.

He added, “We were able to achieve this fastest turnaround time from design start to production start in just 6 months including Cabot’s Pan-European Aurora DVB middleware stack with MHEG-5 functionality, because of the skilled engineers at TVonics designing a right-first-time solution, and the availability of Middleware from Cabot”.

Darren Standing, Business Development Manager at Cabot Communications commented, “Since being selected by TVonics in February 2005 to support its development programme, we have worked closely with engineers at FME and TVonics to deliver for the first time, an Aurora DVB-T Middleware market deployment running on FME's SmartMPEG technology. TVonics has used the performance and flexibility of Aurora to rapidly integrate its own innovatively styled user interface, system software and device drivers to deliver a market leading DVB-T solution in record time”.

There are up to 80 million TVs and VCRs in the UK, and the British government wants all receiving equipment to be able to handle digital signals by 2012, when analogue broadcasting will be switched off. Throughout Europe, an estimated 600 million units will need to be converted or replaced with digitally-enabled equipment in the next 10 years.

Figures above are based on typical usage of 2.5 TVs or VCRs in all registered TV households.

All product names and proper names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

About Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe (FME) is a major supplier of semiconductor and display products. The company provides advanced systems solutions to the automotive, digital TV, mobile telephony, networking and industrial markets. Engineers from design centres dedicated to microcontrollers, mixed-signal, wireless, FRAM, multimedia ICs and ASIC products work closely with FME's marketing and sales teams throughout Europe to help satisfy customers' system development requirements.

This solutions approach is supported by a broad range of advanced semiconductor devices, IP and building blocks as well as leading-edge Plasma Display Panels. For more information visit Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe's website at http://emea.fujitsu.com/microelectronics

About TVonics

Based in South Wales, UK, TVonics Ltd. designs state-of-the-art digital set top boxes and flat screen digital televisions for the European market. Managed and staffed by a team of industry professionals, with extensive product design experience gained previously at leaders in consumer electronics, broadcasters and semiconductors, TVonics delivers production line ready, digital television solutions.

TVonics specialises in the design of innovative digital set top boxes which viewers find very easy to connect and operate. It also designs modular components for integration into digital televisions. The company additionally provides consultancy services to television, monitor and personal computer manufacturers seeking to enter the digital TV market. Services include product concept and design, out-sourced manufacturing, product compliance, testing, marketing and training.

About Cabot Communications

Cabot Communications is a leading independent European supplier of digital TV software for set top boxes and integrated TVs. Cabot’s TV middleware stack enables manufacturers to build and support cost-effective and differentiated receivers for pan-European coverage of digital TV and interactive broadcasts. With nearly three million deployments, Cabot delivers a complete modular digital TV software solution for a wide range of CPU architectures. Combined with Cabot’s specialised digital TV services including integration, design consultancy and field support, Cabot enables OEMs to get compelling products to market quickly. Cabot’s technology is robust and deployed with over 20 major manufacturers. Cabot Communications will be exhibiting at this years IBC show in Amsterdam and can be found at stand number 1.130. For more information, visit http://www.cabot.co.uk.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF:        

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe    

Tel:    +49-6103-690-0         

Contact: Jim Bryant            

TVonics Limited,                

Tel:     +44-1656-868521                

Contact: Paul Fellows                 

Cabot Communications

Tel: 020 8339 4424

Contact: Louise Andrews

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