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Thomson Confirms Comcast’s Digital-to-Analog Adapter Order

Thomson announced Monday that it has entered into a purchase agreement with Comcast for an unspecified number of digital-to-analog adapters, low-cost devices that the MSO is looking to use to free up large amounts of spectrum.

Thomson did not disclose the value of the deal.

Multichannel News last month reported that Comcast has ordered as many as 6 million DTAs for delivery this year from Thomson, Motorola and Pace Micro Technology.

Comcast has said it expects to eliminate most analog TV channels in about 20% of its footprint by the end of 2008, providing DTAs to basic cable subscribers who don’t have any interest in standard digital package.

“Thomson is pleased to enter the U.S. cable video market and expand our relationship with Comcast by becoming a supplier of DTA adapters,” Frederic Kurkjian, Thomson’s Systems Division vice president of video premises systems, said in a statement. “The experience on this project will be invaluable for us as the world prepares to follow suit and migrate from analog to digital.”

Paris-based Thomson showed its DTA adapter at the NCTA’s Cable Show in New Orleans in May.

Thomson said the DCI 1011, scheduled for mass production in September, will cost less than $40 and can replicate an existing analog lineup.

The DCI 1011, like other digital-to-analog converters, doesn’t include support for conditional access or any other advanced digital cable services, like video-on-demand or interactive program guides. The DCI 1011 does have an infrared port for remote-control operation, and uses the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 65 standard to transmit channel call letters from the headend.

Thomson already supplies Comcast with embedded multimedia terminal adapters, which provide voice and data services in a single customer-premises device.