News Corp Set-Top Box Becomes DVR: Just Add External Hard Drive

How much simpler can it get? You take the HD satellite set-top box already sitting in someone's living room, perform a quick firmware update, plug an external hard drive into the USB jack and voila, it's a bleedin' DVR. Voila is right, though, since this News Corp-owned software fix is currently only available to Canal+ satellite customers in France. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no such thing for News Corp's DirecTV customers in the US, right? Nah, letting people keep their existing hardware is so un-American. It's bad for business, I tells ya! Press release after jump.

CANAL+ Chooses the Latest Generation of NDS Middleware to Transform Subscribers' Set-Top Boxes into Digital Video Recorders

¶ Highlights: ¶ — CANAL+ GROUP has deployed the latest generation of NDS' MediaHighway(R) middleware, allowing subscribers to easily transform their HD set-top boxes (STBs) into HD digital video recorders (DVRs) ¶ — CANAL+ and CANALSAT subscribers in France can now add an external hard drive via the USB port on their HD STB to have a fully functional HD DVR ¶ — CANAL+ has also deployed NDS' MediaHighway to support its latest dual-tuner HD STB
LONDON & PARIS —(Business Wire)— Feb. 26, 2008 NDS (NASDAQ:NNDS), the leading provider of technology solutions for digital Pay-TV, today announced that CANAL+ GROUP, France's leading Pay TV provider, has chosen the latest generation of MediaHighway(R) middleware to enable subscribers to transform their HD STBs into DVRs. CANAL+ launched its first HD STB two years ago and currently there are about 250,000 HD satellite STBs installed in subscribers' homes.

CANAL+ subscribers can connect an external hard disk to their HD STB via the USB port. Only external hard disk units which meet the requirements of CANAL+ for performance, stability and security will be integrated to provide the service. On its website, CANAL+ GROUP publishes a list of approved hard disks that are now available to buy in retail outlets.

As part of the adoption of the new version of MediaHighway, the middleware has automatically downloaded new software to each HD STB. The HD STBs now detect the addition of a new external hard drive and format the drive for use as a DVR. Subscribers may use more than one external hard drive if they wish.

CANAL+ has kicked off a marketing program to encourage customers to upgrade to HD and DVR functionality.

In addition, NDS today announced that CANAL+ has deployed NDS' MediaHighway to support its latest satellite dual-tuner HD STB for the French market.

MediaHighway is the market-leading middleware for digital pay TV worldwide. There are currently over 76.4 million NDS middleware clients deployed, and there are over 10.4 million NDS-powered DVRs in viewers' homes around the world.

"MediaHighway was the only middleware that enabled CANAL+ to offer its consumers the choice of industry-leading pay-TV solutions it required. MediaHighway has demonstrated yet again that it can handle complex requirements," commented Caroline Le Bigot, NDS Vice President, EMEA.

About CANAL+ GROUP

CANAL+ GROUP is the leader in Pay-TV in France with more than 10 million subscriptions to a wide range of offers including CANAL+, CANALSat and the former TPS. Within its offer, CANAL+ LE BOUQUET, the first multi-channel premium offer in France, available via satellite, cable, digital terrestrial television and ADSL networks, features six premium content channels built around the leading premium general-interest channel, CANAL+. CANAL+ GROUP also produces a range of channels dedicated to subscribers' favorite themes which include films (CineCinema), sport (Sport+, Infosport), news (i>Tele), series (Jimmy), documentaries (Planete) and programs for young people (Piwi, Teletoon). CANAL+ GROUP distributes CANALSAT as well, a multichannel offering available on satellite, cable, ADSL, DTT through a minipack and adapted for third generation (3G) mobile telephones. CANAL+ GROUP is also a major producer of French pay-TV channels and, through StudioCANAL, a significant contributor to the financing, acquisition and distribution of films. A pionner in new technologies, CANAL+ GROUP is the first Pay TV operator to have launched HD programs via satellite in Spring 2006 and have today the largest offering in the French TV market with more than 10 HD channels.

About NDS

NDS Group plc (NASDAQ:NNDS), a majority owned subsidiary of News Corporation, supplies open end-to-end digital technology and services to digital pay-television platform operators and content providers. See http://www.nds.com for more information about NDS.