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Coalition seeks EC unity on HDTV

A week after the announcement of America’s HDTV “grand alliance,” a similar coalition is forming in Europe intent on bringing together disparate interests toward a digital high-definition TV standard.

Euro HDTV pioneers Philips Electronics and Thomson Consumer Electronics, also partners in the announced American cooperative (Daily Variety, May 25), are joining German pubcaster ARD, the British ministry for trade and industry and others in the endeavor to bring the European Community together.

The group, which is expected to officially announce its formation this week, will seek to coordinate the various digital European initiatives and present a concrete action plan to the EC.

According to German telecommunications ministry sources, the group also is expected to carry out new and detailed research into public demand for HDTV.

Despite its presence in the group, Philips has denied that it will scrap development of an analog HD-MAC standard, for which the EC continues to squabble over funding.

It is understood the new group will seek to assimilate parts of the HD-MAC program into its digital proposals.

Last week, Philips announced that it will pool its proposal for a U.S. digital HDTV standard with the tenders from the two rival consortiums for the project: AT&T/Zenith Electronics; and General Instruments/Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the U.S., Philips has been allied in the HDTV hunt with Thomson, NBC and the Sarnoff Research Institute.

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