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All Australians to get digital free-to-air TV


* Ericsson signs a new five-year frame agreement with Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC

* Hundreds of thousands of rural Australians to get digital free-to-air TV thanks to Ericsson’s latest satellite video compression technology

* Solution aids a government drive to switch from analog to digital free-to-air TV and provides a high-quality, richer digital TV choice for all Australians

Hundreds of thousands of Australians living in rural communities are currently unable to access the same free-to-air, high-quality, digital TV experience as their urban counterparts. A new five-year deal between Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) will help address this issue. Thanks to Ericsson’s latest satellite video compression technology, the ABC will be able to expand the reach of its high-definition and standard-definition digital TV programming across the country.

As Australia undergoes the switch from analog to digital free-to-air TV, the Australian government is funding a new satellite service to provide digital television to viewers in remote areas where free-to-air digital TV can’t be received by TV antennas. About 247,000 Australian households in these “digital black spots” will benefit from the initiative.

Sam Saba, head of Ericsson Australia & New Zealand, says: “According to a recent study, all Australian households watch free-to-air TV and spend almost three hours a day watching it on average. Since this service is central in the life of Australians, we value being part of digitalizing it and ensuring that all Australians can enjoy a rich, high-quality television experience.”

The system uses a range of Ericsson head-end equipment including bandwidth-saving MPEG-4 AVC EN8190 HD and EN8130 SD encoders, Reflex statistical multiplexing for channel bitrate allocation and management, and nCompass Control and Monitoring. Managing bandwidth and maintaining high-quality pictures is critical in such a major digital TV rollout. Deployment of the technology will start in December 2010.


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