Bitstream, NDS sign deal for first satellite TV platform in Korea

Bitstream Inc. and NDS Group plc have have entered into a long-term, large volume contract to license Bitstream's Korean stroke-based font for use in NDS' digital broadcasting systems deployed by SkyLife in Korea.

SkyLife is the first and exclusive satellite broadcaster in Korea, and hopes to reach 3 million pay-TV subscribers by 2005.

The first set-top box vendors have been selected by SkyLife, and integration of Bitstream fonts and NDS middleware and conditional access systems is ongoing. Humax Co. Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and Hyundai Digital Technology Co. Ltd. are all committed to delivery of digital set-top boxes to SkyLife by the end of the year, a joint release says.

"We are excited to expand our long-term relationship with NDS and to offer a high-quality Korean font to SkyLife," said Anna Chagnon, President of Bitstream yesterday. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Bitstream. With its small footprint and fast rendering speed, including the fastest TrueType rasterizer on the market, Font Fusion and stroke-based fonts are ideal for digital broadcasting systems, where quality text rendering on screen is of critical importance. We are excited by SkyLife's endorsement of our stroke-based font as the standard for digital satellite broadcasting in Korea."

Sue Taylor, Vice President and General Manager, NDS Asia Pacific, said, "The combined strengths of Bitstream and NDS are a proven solution. In China, we have shown that our combined solution reduces the hardware requirements of the set-top box, consequently reducing the overall cost of the set-top box."

NDS will supply the Open VideoGuard conditional access system, NDS Core middleware, StreamServer for the management control of the digital headend, and provide consultancy for set-top box integration.

NDS and SkyLife will work with Korean set-top box manufacturers to incorporate Bitstream's Korean stroke-based font into their solutions. NDS licensed Font Fusion from Bitstream to use as NDS' font rendering technology for rendering high-quality Korean characters on the fly.

Bitstream's stroke-based fonts are extremely compact, high-quality Asian fonts for embedded systems. These fonts enable developers to keep storage and memory requirements to a minimum. For example, a Korean font in this format includes over 17,000 characters in less than 400 KB. Developers do not have to dedicate a large amount of ROM space to store a stroke-based font, nor do they have to use a lot of memory to display it.

Many developers, including ANT, Liberate, NDS, Quadriga, and Samsung, are using Bitstream's font technology to build cable, satellite, and home entertainment systems for digital television.

Font Fusion provides developers with full font fidelity and high-quality typographic output at any resolution on any device, while maintaining the integrity of the original character shapes. Font Fusion is small and fast. Most developers can compile the source code in 32-105 KB, depending on options. It generates more than 16,000 characters per second, using the Arial font at 25 lines per em on a 233MHz Pentium(r) II processor, cache turned off.

Font Fusion performs well in memory- and performance-constrained environments. For example, a complete traditional Chinese TrueType font with over 13,000 characters can occupy as much as 8MB. With Font Fusion, the same characters occupy less than 0.5MB, representing considerable savings in memory and disk space costs.

Font Fusion is designed for operating systems, software applications, Web applications, low-resolution screen devices, multimedia servers, high-definition television screens (HDTVs), set-top boxes, continuous tone printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other embedded systems and information and wireless appliances.

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