BERLIN (07/11/2000) - Consumer electronics giant Thomson Multimedia SA and disk drive maker Seagate Technology Inc. announced a joint venture Tuesday to create storage modules for home entertainment devices, including televisions, digital video recorders and set-top boxes.
The companies said their enterprise, called CacheVision Inc., will specialize in hard disk drive-based technology, allowing consumers to customize their TV viewing though applications such time-shifting or intelligent recording, in which a program tracks viewers' preferences and records broadcasts accordingly.
CacheVision, based in San Jose, California, will focus on design and development, said Yves Blanc, Thomson's vice president for New Components. It will contract out fabrication of the modules, which will be used by Thomson in its consumer products or sold to competing manufacturers.
Blanc said the two partners are well-suited for such a venture, given their complementary expertise in consumer electronics and storage devices.
"Everybody is trying to get a foot into the consumer electronics marketplace," he said, mentioning competitors Quantum Corp. and Western Digital Corp. "But moving from the PC (personal computer) industry into the consumer electronics industry, if you are not born into the industry, is a bit difficult. It's the same thing if Thomson wanted to go into the PC industry; it could take us years and millions of dollars to succeed."
Blanc declined to comment on the capitalization of the new venture, noting that it is privately held on a 50-50 basis. But he said CacheVision aims to reach sales of US$500 million in three to five years.
Asked about potential customers, he mentioned Thomson's strong relationship with service providers, such as DirecTV Inc. and WebTV Networks Inc. in the U.S. and Canal Plus SA and BskyB Group PLC in Europe.
"You cannot deal with (companies like) DirectTV if you have not the proper platform to support the service," he said. "We have to make sure we are able to keep our leadership position when we are talking with the big guys."
Thomson Multimedia, in Paris, can be reached at +33-1-41-86-50-00 or on the Web at http://www.thomson-multimedia.com/. Seagate, in Scotts Valley, California, can be reached at +1-831-438-6550 or on the Web at http://www.seagate.com/.
CacheVision can be reached at +1-408-952-4600 or on the Web at http://www.cachevision.com/.