Press Release

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July 3, 2000

Electronics Companies Announce Joint Project
"Technologies for Storage of Data in DTV Datacasting in Japan"

(Tokyo, Japan, July 3) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.(Panasonic), Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation jointly announced today that they will jointly work on standardizing basic technologies for storing data and content that has been datacast in digital TV broadcasts in Japan and agreed to propose it to the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses(ARIB).

Digital TV(DTV) broadcasting service via broadcasting satellite (BS) will start in Japan in December, and other types of DTV services including broadcasts via a new communications satellite (CS) at longitude 110°, terrestrial broadcasts and digital cable TV systems are planned to follow in the future. With these digital broadcasting services, advanced features such as higher picture quality and interactive services, as well as stored data services, will become possible. These features will bring about advanced information distribution services and a new environment for electronic commerce.

The storage of digital content and other data that has been datacast is essential to these new services, and standardization for data-casting receivers is urgently needed. Under these circumstances, the three companies agreed to work jointly to develop a technology proposal.

In addition to the joint project to propose standards, the companies also agreed to start a working committee in July to develop an "e-platform" by which new types of services, in which telecommunication and broadcasting technologies converge, are expected to be realized. Hitachi Limited will be joining this committee. Major Japanese broadcasters have also been invited to participate. The committee is working towards delivering new services in the summer of next year.

With the "e-platform" concept, broadcasters and providers of information services can launch diversified new business models. Digital broadcasting receivers equipped with hard-discs can further enhance features of those new services by allowing instant access and retrieval of necessary data, as well as linkage to mobile communication equipment.

Areas of technical collaboration are:
  1. Scheme for storage datacasting: specification of technical requirements, transmission methods, coding methods, etc.
  2. Receiver specifications: Reference receivers, stored data management, copy protection methods, interface protocols for links to other devices, and on-line billing systems.