Thomson Snags Thales' Broadcast Unit

Thomson has agreed to acquire the Broadcast & Multimedia business unit of another French conglomerate, Thales, for 130 million Euros (approximately $180 million). The addition of Thales' IP encoding and mobile-transmission technologies should give Thomson's Grass Valley Broadcast & Networks business a significant boost in the IPTV and mobile-video markets, says Grass Valley VP Jeff Rosica.

“Those are two very important markets on our radar screen, and Thales brings us a wealth of knowledge and R&D in those areas,” he says.

Thomson, which owns the Technicolor film-services business and RCA consumer-electronics brand, in addition to Grass Valley's line of broadcast production and infrastructure gear, also gains Thales' transmitter business, which makes products for terrestrial broadcasters.

HD Alliance Throws New York Premiere

Members of the consumer-electronics, cable, programming and IT industries gathered in New York last week to officially announce the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance, or “HANA,” an industry coalition formed this fall to promote the consumer adoption of HDTV.

Set makers Samsung and Mitsubishi, computer giant Sun Microsystems, cable operator Charter Communications, and content colossus NBC Universal gathered at the high-def Saturday Night Live studio to describe new ways to link HD sets with various consumer-electronics devices by using the “Firewire,” or IEEE 1394, networking standard. More details will be forthcoming at next month's CES show in Las Vegas.

SeaChange Meets Demand

Video-on-demand server and software supplier SeaChange announced that its “TV Navigator” software application is currently being tested by UK cable operator Telewest in a next-generation set-top box, “TVDrive.” The box provides advanced PVR functions, including the ability to record two programs while watching a third and a feature that lets viewers tuning into the end of a program save it from the beginning.

Maynard, Mass.-based SeaChange also made news stateside last week as Verizon announced that SeaChange is providing the on-demand technology for its FiOS TV service, which is deployed in Dallas, Herndon, Va., and Temple Terrace, Fla.