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ASTRO selects Pace's set-top box technology for Malaysia's first HD service

2 March 2010

Malaysian deal marks Pace’s first HD deployment in Asia

Pace plc, the leading developer of digital TV technologies for the payTV industry, today announces it is providing the set-top box technology to support the launch of Malaysia’s first high-definition (HD) service. ASTROf ALL ASIA NETWORKS plc (ASTRO), Malaysia’s leading cross-media broadcaster and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite payTV operator, has selected Pace for the premium service, which launched in December 2009. ASTRO is Pace’s first HD customer in Asia.

ASTRO currently broadcasts over 100 payTV channels across Malaysia and Brunei to over 2.8 million subscribers in multiple languages. With Pace’s DS830NA set-top box, ASTRO was able to add five new HD channels initially to its existing line-up of programming that includes HBO HD, ESPN HD, Astro Supersports HD, History HD and National Geographic HD. Offering full MPEG-4 support and integrated Ethernet capability, the DS830NA will be core to ASTRO’s long term expansion plans, providing the operator with the flexibility to develop its digital portfolio through the rollout of new HD services and other interactive service applications.

Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, CEO of MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems (ASTRO) commented: “Launching Malaysia’s first high-definition service is an important milestone for the country and a significant achievement for us as a company. Pace’s proven track record in developing innovative HD payTV technology gives us the confidence to launch this important new service, which will contribute positively to the growth of the payTV industry in Malaysia. Choosing Pace as our technology partner means that we can stay focused on raising the bar for digital television as we provide our subscribers with the finest viewing experience possible.”

“Pace has unparalleled expertise in delivering new, advanced high-definition products that create business benefits for operators while enhancing the viewing experience for the subscriber,” said Neil Gaydon, Chief Executive Officer, Pace. “We are very proud to be working with ASTRO, the leading Malaysian operator, for its exciting launch of high definition. This in turn has expanded our presence into the Asian market, extending the global penetration of Pace technologies and providing further evidence of Pace's leading global position as a key partner to the payTV industry.”

ASTRO is Malaysia’s only DTH satellite provider, Pace will be using several local businesses – including sourcing and manufacturing - to bring the product to market.

Deployment of the DS830NA set-top box began with the launch of the service in December 2009. The unit incorporates NDS MediaHighway middleware and NDS VideoGuard conditional access. The DS830NA will be ASTRO’s only HD-capable set-top box at launch.

About Pace plc

Pace plc (LSE:PIC) is a leading technology developer for the global payTV industry, working across satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. Pace has one of the world's most experienced specialist engineering teams, developing intelligent and innovative products and services for both payTV operators and retail markets across the world.

Pace employs over 1000 people in locations around the world, including France, the USA, India and China. Pace's international headquarters are in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, UK. For more information on Pace, please visit www.pace.com.

About ASTRO

ASTRO ALL ASIA NETWORKS plc (AAAN) is the holding company for MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd, the sole operator of direct-to-home satellite pay television services in Malaysia under the "Astro" brand, and Airtime Management & Programming Sdn Bhd, the leading commercial radio broadcaster in Malaysia. Celestial Pictures Ltd, a subsidiary of AAAN in Hong Kong, owns and distributes the world's largest Chinese film library as well as operates the Celestial Movies Channel. Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd produces and aggregates local content for distribution primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia but also increasing to other regional and international markets such as Singapore, Vietnam and the Middle East. AAAN also has investments in pay television and radio broadcasting in India. AAAN, which is listed on Bursa Malaysia, operates out of the All Asia Broadcast Centre, a fully-integrated digital broadcast and production complex in Kuala Lumpur.

For further information, contact:

Sheena Riviera 
AxiCom 
T: +44 (0) 20 8392 4064 
E: sheena.riviera@axicom.com  

Helen Kettleborough 
Pace plc 
T: +44 1274 538005

Tammy Toh 
ASTRO 
T: +603 9543 6688 ext 2406