TELE-TV SYSTEMS TAKING BIDS ON 'UNITY' SET-TOP BOX
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 1996
TELE-TV SYSTEMS TAKING BIDS
ON 'UNITY' SET-TOP
Video System Integrator Will Set Industry
RESTON, VA.-- TELE-TV Systems, the video systems integration unit
TELE-TV, the interactive television joint venture of Bell Atlantic,
NYNEX and Pacific Telesis, is set to take bids on building a universal
or 'Unity' set-top box compatible with a full-range of digital
television transmission formats.
The new product, the first digital signal decoder of its kind, will,
according to Ed Grebow, president of TELE-TV Systems, set industry
standards for both its technology and functionality.
"From a technology standpoint, the most notable aspect of the
set-top box is the integration of separate functions," Grebow said.
"We are building standard set-top functionality and a customized
network interface module (NIM) that enables us to provide a consistent
'look and feel' for TELE-TV regardless of platform or service mix."
The announcement on the 'Unity' set-top box comes one week after
TELE-TV Systems signed a contract
with Thomson Consumer Electronics to
supply an MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution System) set-top
for use in the wireless systems TELE-TV will roll out this year. The
'Unity' set-top unit will handle MMDS, too, as well as Asymmetrical
Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), Switched Digital Video (SDV), Hybrid
Fiber Coax (HFC), and Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS).
"Rather than build a 'one-size-fits-all' technology platform,
Systems offers a full suite of digital television options so the
decision on which to deploy can be based on the size and location of
the customer base, the nature of the programming to be carried, and
the nature of the current infrastructure," Grebow said. "The
box is an essential component of our ability to deliver on that
Under the terms of the request for proposal, which has been sent to 21
major set-top unit manufacturers, the 'Unity' set-top box will be
available one year after the MMDS/Thomson Consumer Electronics
set-top-unit is rolled out. According to Grebow, the 'Unity' box will
begin to appear in living rooms throughout all three of our TELCO
partner's regions by Fall of 1997.
"This is a tough business," continued Grebow. "One that
innovation. The Unity concept is an innovative approach which we will
use to further reduce our fixed costs. We are continually making
progress in the set-top area-- negotiating numbers that many in the
industry thought were impossible. For Unity, we expect to pay less
than $300 per box for the quantities we've requested," continued
The Unity set-top will integrate MPEG-2 digital video and audio with a
state-of-the-art RISC-based computing system to manage the user
interface and execute server-based interactive applications such as
Video-on-Demand (VOD), information services and transaction-based
"Together with a suite of multimedia authoring tools, the 'Unity'
set-top box will be a powerful platform for advanced consumer
entertainment and information," said Craig K. Tanner, senior vice
president- advanced technologies for TELE-TV Systems. "The unit
contain MPEG-2 video and audio decoding, a PowerPC microprocessor with
a minimum of 4 MB of applications memory, a
hardware-accelerated graphics subsystem,
and the new IEEE-1394 digital interface for interconnection with
personal computers and other future digital home entertainment
devices," continued Mr. Tanner.
"We're continually planning for the future," said Ken Van Meter
vice president- operations. "For example, we have included future
requirements in the Unity bid where the box will support linear
digital channels being provided through MMDS or DBS, and within the
same home, simultaneous use of interactive services being provided
through ADSL. It will be interesting to see how these requirements
are addressed," continued Van Meter.
TELE-TV, based in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, San Ramon,
California and Reston, Virginia, was created by its partners to
spearhead their entry into the video entertainment market. TELE-TV
Systems is the unit that assembles and integrates the technology
needed to develop and deliver video services. TELE-TV Media is the
unit that acquires, creates, packages and markets programming for new
video services. TELE-TV is a partnership of subsidiaries of Bell
Atlantic (NYSE:BEL), NYNEX
(NYSE:NYN) and Pacific Telesis
TELE-TV Systems is based in Reston, VA, with offices in San Ramon, CA.
TELE-TV Media is based in Los Angeles.
for more information, contact:
- TELE-TV - New York, Monie Begley Feurey
(212) 508-4066, Fax: (212) 508-4070
TELE-TV Systems - Reston, VA, Frankie Russell
(703) 810-1796,Fax: (703) 810-1436