Digital talks go global

Holland’s Philips and France’s Thomson have confirmed they are talking to Japanese companies in order to formulate a worldwide standard for digital video. A Philips spokesman said the two companies, which have jointly led Europe’s HDTV development program, are representing the Euro electronics industry in the talks.

Plan is to replace the existing analog VHS standard with a new digital standard by 1997. The spokesman said the parties would unveil initial proposals within a few months, after which meetings would be set up with other hardware manufacturers and tape producers.

The new standard reportedly will be designed to incorporate HDTV, which the Japanese industry in particular sees as a boon to speeding up the development of HDTV in Japan. HDTV is progressing slowly there due to excessive equipment prices and limited transmission possibilities.

Philips has also confirmed that it has halted further development of its HD-MAC full HDTV video recorder. Dutch group is also researching digital video registration in the U.S., where a digital HDTV standard is also being developed.

The video development comes two weeks after Philips revealed it is slowing down production of HDTV TV sets due to the U.K.’s continued blocking of a ECU $ 500 million subsidy to stimulate HDTV programming development.

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