Pace Boxes Power SaskTel's Max Interactive Services

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Largest Deployment of TV over ADSL in North America

Saltaire, West Yorkshire (Dec 6, 2004): Pace Micro Technology, the world's largest dedicated developer of digital set-top box technology, announced today that SaskTel, the leading full service communications company serving 450,000 business and residential customers in Saskatchewan Canada, has added Pace's newest IP set-top box (DB220S) to the existing inventory of Pace boxes (DSL4000) used to enable its TV over DSL service offering. The largest deployment of TV over ADSL in North America, SaskTel's Max Interactive Services provides customers unlimited high-speed Internet on a television and a computer, five e-mail addresses, more than 135 digital television stations, Max Front Row video on demand, 45 Galaxie digital commercial-free music channels, 32 Saskatchewan AM and FM radio stations, an Interactive TV Guide, TV web browsing, TV parental controls, and access to an interactive portal providing local, national, and international news, weather and sports services, all powered by Pace's IP set-top boxes.

SaskTel selected Pace in 2002 as its set-top provider as it entered the nascent market of video over IP. "We obviously selected the right partner for set-top boxes," said SaskTel's Vice President of Marketing, Mike Anderson. Pace continues to provide us with leading-edge technology and maintains an excellent reputation with us and throughout the industry. Our Max Interactive Services offering has been incredibly successful. We have more than 100,000 Internet customers today, and hope to increase the penetration rate to 20 or 25 percent by the end of 2006. Customer churn has decreased since we began offering Max exactly two years ago, and our advanced services offerings are second to none," he added.

"Of course, we are thrilled to provide all of the IP set-tops for the largest deployment of TV over ADSL in North America; but more than that, we are privileged to be part of the SaskTel partner family. SaskTel has led the industry in TV over ADSL from the beginning," said Pace Americas President Mike Pulli. "Our team has worked hard to continually provide SaskTel the latest in high-quality engineering, unique software, and innovative set-top box design. Our most recent IP set-top development, the Pace DB220S, has set the industry benchmark for Digital Broadband Media boxes worldwide," he added.

Pace's Product Manager Gary Stephenson commented, "We selected core silicon and designed the set-top box specifically for use with TV—it's not a PC with a TV graphics card. The software and hardware also incorporates special design features for content protection and to improve the quality of video and graphics including anti-flicker and a special fonts system with ANT's Fresco Browser for TV. Our software also enables use of advanced trickplay functionality of the video server which allows the viewer to pause, fast forward and rewind just like a PVR/DVR. Particular attention has been paid to the quality of MPEG-2 video decoding and the legibility of HTML content when viewed on a TV set, which means the movie you're watching looks great, and the Interactive TV Guide is easy to read," he said.

Pace's DB220S set-top is one of the best IP set-top boxes in the world, designed for delivery of MPEG-2 digital video over broadband IP networks. A proven and high-performance platform, the DB220S is capable of supporting a range of leading middleware, video servers, and content protection solutions including Alcatel, Kasenna, and Widevine. Fully compatible with existing head-ends, the DB220S uses HTML/JavaScript-based solutions to support the User Interface and advanced interactive services. This flexible set-top offers simple and compact field upgrades. Two-dimensional graphics, alpha blending, full video scaling, and arbitrary on-screen positioning enable powerful graphics to enhance the customer experience. The output video signal can be protected using Macrovision V7.x and software Digital Rights Management and Conditional Access. The enhanced decoder offers MPEG 1/2 MP@ ML with 500+ aggregate MIPS processing power on a single chip-solution.

SaskTel uses Alcatel's middleware and Open Media Broadcast Television applications, Harmonic's encoders, and Kasenna's video servers.

Press Release  |  06.12.2004

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