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Thomson multimedia launches new mp3PRO with free download availability of demonstration software

Backwards Compatible with mp3, New mp3PRO Digital Audio Codec Dramatically Improves Compression Rate and Audio Quality

Paris and Indianapolis – June 14, 2001 -- mp3PRO, the eagerly anticipated next generation version of the world’s most popular audio compression format, makes its debut with the introduction of the free demonstration mp3PRO encoder/decoder now available for download from www.thomson-multimedia.com and www.rca.com.

Launched by Thomson multimedia (Paris Sicovam: 18453) (NYSE: TMS), mp3PRO is an improved version of the popular mp3 coding-decoding (codec) format that provides improved sound and creates files that are half or less the size of original mp3 files.

In addition to its combination of more compact mp3 files and superior audio quality, mp3PRO offers backwards and forwards compatibility enabling original mp3 files to play normally on the new mp3PRO player and mp3PRO files to play on original mp3 systems. The best audio performance is achieved when consumers both encode and decode music files in mp3PRO. Thomson multimedia is the exclusive licensing representative of mp3 and mp3PRO patents and software of Fraunhofer IIS-A, Coding Technologies and Thomson multimedia.

Beginning today, the mp3PRO encoder/decoder demonstration software can be downloaded from Thomson's websites (listed above), as well as the website of Coding Technologies, www.codingtechnologies.com . This application, which is compatible with Windows 9X, 2000, NT, and Millennium, encodes .WAV files into mp3PRO files at 64 kbps and plays back all mp3 and mp3PRO files. Availability of other mp3PRO software products supporting other mp3PRO bit rates and mp3PRO-compatible portable devices is expected later.

Coinciding with Thomson’s introduction of the downloadable mp3PRO software, integration work for popular PC based players and jukebox products of current mp3 licensees and for several Thomson and RCA hardware products has started. In addition, the mp3 licensing division of Thomson multimedia has embarked on a comprehensive program designed to introduce mp3PRO capabilities across the audio hardware and online sectors.

According to Henri Linde, Vice President, New Business of the Patent and Licensing unit for Thomson multimedia, mp3PRO has been well received by the audio manufacturing and Internet streaming industries. Details will be announced soon.

“Today there are more than 12 million portable mp3 players, 250 million personal computers playing mp3 files and practically every song in the world has been encoded as an mp3 file. These numbers underscore the tremendous appeal mp3 has within the global consumer marketplace – and the need for continued compatibility as we continue to advance the format. In addition to offering improved quality, mp3PRO recognizes the consumers’ investment in the format by providing both backward and forward compatibility with mp3 files,” said Linde.

Developed by Coding Technologies, mp3PRO utilizes both Coding Technologies' codec enhancement technology and the pioneering work in the field of perceptual audio coding covered under the basic mp3 patents owned by Thomson and Fraunhofer.

When making an mp3Pro file, the new mp3PRO encoder splits audio recordings in two. One part of the new files contains all the information found in ordinary mp3 recordings to maintain complete compatibility with original version players. At the same time, new or upgraded players supporting mp3PRO will tap into another stream that holds high audio frequencies, putting them together to make a higher-quality sound.

Offering 128kbs performance at a 64kbs-encoding rate, mp3PRO doubles the digital music capacity of flash memory and of compact discs. For example, traditional audio CDs hold 15 songs, and an mp3 CD today holds up to 150 songs. In the near future, mp3PRO will allow consumers to store over 300 songs on an mp3PRO Compact Disc. Utilizing advanced psychoacoustic techniques and music structure analysis, mp3PRO creates files that are twice (or more) as compact as original mp3 files, with equal or better sound quality, along with backwards and forwards compatibility.

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding prospects for the future that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the factors that could cause actual income to differ materially from those expected are the following: business conditions and general economic conditions; competitive factors such as pricing and marketing efforts of rival companies; timing of product introductions; ability of contract manufacturers to meet product price objectives and delivery schedules; legislative, regulatory, and industry initiatives that may affect planned or actual product features and marketing methods; and the pace and success of product research and development. For more information on the potential factors that could affect the company’s financial income, please review the relevant SEC filings.

About Thomson multimedia With sales of 9.1 billion Euros (U.S. $ 8.3 billion) in 2000 and 73,000 employees in more than 30 countries, Thomson multimedia (Paris Sicovam: 18453) (NYSE: TMS), provides a wide range of technologies, systems, finished products and services to consumers and professionals of the entertainment and media industries. To advance and enable the digital media transition, Thomson multimedia has five principal activities: Digital Media Solutions, Displays and Components, Consumer Products, New Media Services, and Patents and Licensing. The company distributes its products under the popular THOMSON, RCA and TECHNICOLOR brand names. For more information: www.thomson-multimedia.com.

About Coding Technologies Coding Technologies is a privately held company having offices in Stockholm, Sweden, and Nuremberg, Germany. It employs 20 people to date, most of them highly skilled researchers and software developers with a multi-year background in audio compression. Coding Technologies is focusing on developing and implementing unique audio compression technologies for the broadcasting, Internet and telecommunication markets. The company offers its audio solutions to system designers, chip/device manufacturers and content providers. For more information, visit http://www.codingtechnologies.com.

About The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft is the leading organization of applied research in Germany. It operates 47 research centers in Germany with about 9,000 employees, about half of them scientists and engineers. The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft expands to a worldwide Organization, especially in USA and Asia. Home of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft is Munich, Germany. One of the goals of the Fraunhofer policy is a rapid transfer of innovations into products. The total research expenditure is about US$ 700 million.

The Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen (Fraunhofer IIS-A), based in Erlangen, Germany, is one of the 47 research centers. Fraunhofer IIS-A is the leading international research lab in the field of high quality low bit rate audio coding. Fraunhofer IIS-A has been the main developer of the most advanced audio coding schemes, like MPEG Layer-3 and MPEG-2 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). Fraunhofer IIS-A plays a major role in the ongoing work for the MPEG-4 Audio standardization process and contributes to many other standards bodies as well, like ITU-R TG10/4, ITU-R WP10C and AES.

Thomson multimedia Press relations :
Marc Meyer Tel: 331.41.86.5003 (France)
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