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Thomson To Build EchoStar Receivers

1/14/2002 11:34:00 AM Eastern

Paris, France - Thomson Multimedia and EchoStar have reached an agreement that will allow Thomson, which is the leading manufacturer of DirecTV receiving equipment, to manufacture DISH Network compatible satellite TV receivers.

Thomson said it expects to begin production by mid 2002. Thomson said it would continue supporting existing satellite customers including DirecTV, and will immediately begin a development program for DISH Network compatible products.

The companies said the agreement is not contingent on the merger of EchoStar and Hughes Electronics, which is pending U.S. government approval. However, Thomson said its 'intention is that future receivers for EchoStar will meet technical requirements that will facilitate the migration to a combined network once the pending merger is approved.'

'EchoStar looks forward to working with Thomson as a manufacturer of set-top boxes to meet our future needs,' said Charlie Ergen, EchoStar chairman. 'Thomson has a solid history of offering state-of-the-art digital consumer television equipment and is a recognized leader in the industry.'

'I am particularly glad to welcome EchoStar as a new customer. This is excellent news for Thomson and strongly reinforces our world leading position as a provider of digital satellite receivers. We will expand our extensive digital satellite engineering resources to bring DISH Network receivers to EchoStar this year,' said Thierry Breton, Thomson Multimedia chairman.

Thomson is a global leader in digital set-top receivers and has extensive experience developing and manufacturing RCA brand digital satellite receivers in the U.S. and Latin American markets, as well as DVB-based Thomson brand receivers for numerous operators in Europe.