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USDTV Selects Sigma Designs Chip Set

Las Vegas — USDTV, the budget multichannel TV service provider using digital terrestrial broadcast stations to carry its signals, announced at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention here that it will use Sigma Designs’ SMP8634 chip set to power its new MPEG-4 AVC set-top receiver boxes.

The chip set will enable a range of new features including the latest codecs, high-definition video and set-top box processing power.

USDTV is transitioning its network to an advanced MPEG-4 AVC video compression system in order to expand its channel capacity and provide enhanced services for its customers.

“The new USDTV receiver will provide consumers with enhanced video features including advanced digital reception, PVR functionality and VOD services,” said Richard Johnson, USDTV COO. “We are pleased with the state-of-the-art HDTV output and advanced features that Sigma Design’s SMP8634 ‘System-on-a-chip’ media processor will add to our next-generation set-top box.”

USDTV’s second-generation set-top box is slated to begin shipping to new customers in two phases starting in the fall. The last phase will ship in the first quarter of 2007 and incorporate a 250GB hard drive, which will support a variety of storage based and in-home networking services, the company said.

The USDTV STB incorporates a high-definition TV receiver and allows viewers to receive all the digital and HD programs sent out by local stations and national broadcast networks.

Sigma’s SMP8634 media processor will decode H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10), VC-1 as well as Windows Media Video 9, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (part 2) signals with multiple streams, up to the equivalent of two high-definition video streams.

It is said to deliver high-performance graphics acceleration, multistandard audio decoding, advanced display processing capabilities and HDMI/HDCP output. The SMP8634’s 300-Mhz host CPU, 3.2 GB/second unified memory controller, Ethernet 10/100 controller, dual USB 2.0 controller and IDE controller provide for a single-chip solution for most set-top boxes and consumer players, Sigma said.

USDTV currently offers its service in Salt Lake City, UT; Dallas, TX; Las Vegas, NV, and Albuquerque, NM. Equipment is sold through the company’s Web site, by select dealer installers, and Wal-Mart and RC Willey stores.

The service, which carries a $19.95 per month subscription fee, packages an abbreviated selection of the most watched cable channels including ESPN, ESPN 2, Lifetime, Disney, Toon Disney, Fox News, the Food Network; TLC, Discovery Channel, and HGTV. For an extra charge, viewers can receive the Starz premium movie service.