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Humax Nets MPEG-4 Deal From DirecTV

El Segundo, Calif.— South Korean set-top box manufacturer Humax has signed the first MPEG-4 set-top box deal, with DirecTV Inc.

The direct-broadcast satellite provider plans to launch MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Experts Group) service late this year, allowing it to provide large numbers of markets with local HDTV channels.

Humax — which in the past has supplied hardware to Samsung for DirecTV set-tops on an original-equipment manufacturer basis — will now join Samsung, Thomson and Philips as official set-top suppliers to the DBS provider.

Humax will supply three different set-top models: a basic standard definition set-top, a second SD set-top with DVR and the MPEG-4 HD set-top, said Humax vice president of business development and strategic marketing Tony Goncalves.

Humax was founded in 1989 and has supplied set-tops for Germany’s Premiere and Japan’s Sky Perfect among others. It generated $400 million in revenue in 2004.

While MPEG-4 has been around for a long time, its actual deployment in set-top boxes is relatively new.

“It’s an advanced compression option,” he said. “We’re developing a new platform.”

Although volume numbers and the value of the deal were not announced, Goncalves said, “It’s a significant portion of our OEM business for ’05.”