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Eurosport Deploying Thomson ViBE Encoders For New HD Channel

Eurosport, a leading European sports multimedia platform, has deployed high-definition (HD) MPEG-4 ViBE encoders from Thomson, a leading provider of video solutions, for its new high definition (HD) channel Eurosport HD, currently available in 24 countries across Europe with roll-out planned in further markets soon.
Thanks to Thomson's ViBE encoders, Eurosport is setting new standards in picture quality for HD video, even where bandwidth is limited. Thomson's ViBE encovers, which feature Dolby Surround Sound, also provide top-of-the-range audio quality. The first HD channel from Eurosport, launched in May, provides continuous live sports content in HD video, including coverage of major sporting events such as tennis for the Wimbledon Championships and the French Open Roland Garros, UEFA Euro 2008 football and the Beijing Olympic Games.
With this new contract Eurosport, based in Paris, is adding HD capabilities to its broadcasting infrastructure, which already relies heavily on Thomson equipment. Its standard definition channels are also encoded using Thomson ViBE equipment and the production centre includes a very large K2 storage area network ( SAN) with 1,000 hours of on-line storage.
Vincent Gerard-Hime, Eurosport's Technical Director, said: "We selected Thomson's MPEG-4 encoders as we aimed to provide the best ever viewing and audio experience in HD to our customers.
"Thomson's ViBE encoders provide maximum compression capacities but with the best picture quality we have seen. In fact, this has been confirmed since the first channel's launch, as several online user forums have shown viewers to be delighted with the picture quality."
Patrick Montliaud, Senior Vice President of Thomson's Networks and Integration Solutions within the Systems division, said: "This illustrates the breadth and strength of Thomson's end to end capabilities. Eurosport is a big broadcaster with ambitious plans for the future.
"Thomson is supporting them right across the board, from our 44 channel, multi-format K2 media server to the output codecs, which are the critical component in delivering the best possible quality to the home. Sports viewers are very critical, and with ViBE Eurosport is maximising their HD experience."
Thomson's ViBE HD MPEG-4 encoders feature a unique chip developed in house for this demanding digital signal processing application. The Mustang chip allows the delivery of HD video in as low as 4 M b/s, but with unrivalled picture quality as it is the only compression solution to use the complete MPEG-4 tool kit.
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