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Cutting Edge

Prison Watch

SES Americom has signed a deal with the Prison Television Network for long-term Ku-band satellite capacity on the AMC-4 satellite. The satellite has 24 36-MHz 20-W C-band transponders and serves North America. It also has 24 36-MHz 110-W transponders providing Americas-wide coverage. The Prison Television Network delivers educational, spiritual and entertainment programming to 2.1 million inmates across the country.

NDS Rides MediaHighway

NDS has completed acquisition of Thomson's MediaHighway business for 60 million euros. It's expected that the MediaHighway technology will play a role in getting NDS interactive services onto the DirecTV platform sometime in 2004. NDS also appointed Caroline Le Bigot VP of the company and general manager of NDS Technologies France and its more than 300 employees. Le Bigot previously was with Thomson, where she was VP of broadband access products for Europe and Asia and also VP of cable business and retail digital decoders worldwide. She also spent three years with Gemplus and 11 years at Apple Computer.

Sony XDCam Due March 1

U.S.-based Sony Broadcast and Professional Group executives returned from a recent trip to Japan with good news from the manufacturing plants: XDCam gear will be delivered to customers on March 1. "It's important to go to NAB saying we've already made deliveries of XDCam," says B&P President Pat Whittingham. Sony will also offer a seven-year "PowerTrain" warranty, a move the company says shows its faith in the quality of the components used in the optical-disc–based camera system.

Al-Jazeera Taps Pinnacle

Middle East news net Al-Jazeera will use Pinnacle networked graphics systems for its new documentary channel, slated to launch early next year. The decision was based on a broader strategy to standardize Al-Jazeera's graphics operations on Deko character generators and Thunder clip/still servers. The order includes four Deko 1000 character generators, one Thunder XL clip server and one FXDeko II character generator integrated with DekoObjex. The network also purchased ClipDeko, an integrated video clip player/recorder.