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LOS ANGELES, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation, announced an agreement today with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq-NNM: MSFT) to enable personal computers to receive digital video programming entertainment and new interactive data services from DIRECTV(R), the nation's leading high-power direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service.

DIRECTV subscribers with a digital broadcast-enabled personal computer will be able to access all of the video programming packages currently available on DIRECTV, in addition to a new category of data services which will use the DIRECTV broadband digital transmission system. Through this system, subscribers can receive "data broadcasts" including information accompanying video broadcasts, selected Internet content, multimedia magazines and other data subscriptions in addition to broadcasts.

Microsoft is developing specifications for a version of the DSS(R) decoder that can be integrated into new Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 95-based PCs. The specifications will also apply to upgrading certain classes of the installed base of existing multimedia computers. Currently, DIRECTV programming is received by the DSS receiving system consisting of an 18- inch satellite dish, a decoder box and remote control.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft became a DSS licensee through separate agreements with DIRECTV and Thomson Consumer Electronics (TCE) for the digital compression technology. Microsoft will work with PC manufacturers licensed by DIRECTV and TCE to meet the specifications for DSS decoders.

"DIRECTV will be the first digital broadcast delivery service to provide information and entertainment on a national basis to the entire family, whether consumers prefer to receive entertainment from a television or a computer," stated Eddy Hartenstein, president of DIRECTV. "This new technology will revolutionize the interactive and multimedia landscape and set a new precedent for data and video delivery. PC users will be able to personalize their programming selections and customize the entertainment delivered by DIRECTV."

The high-speed broadcast transmission capability of DIRECTV will provide scheduled delivery of multimedia information containing elaborate graphics, audio and digital video as well as information and software code. Users will be able to download transmitted files in a matter of seconds, making this PC-based platform the most powerful delivery system of information and entertainment in the United States.

"Combining the power of the personal computer with the video and data broadcast capability of DIRECTV will create the richest, most robust information and entertainment system available yet to personal computers," said Craig Mundie, senior vice president of the consumer platforms division at Microsoft. "This new service is expected to set the bar for use of the digital broadcast medium by satellite and cable to deliver interactive broadcast services to personal computers. We think the consumer excitement we generate with DIRECTV will spur more new opportunities and innovations for PC hardware manufacturers and for content developers around Windows 95."

Upon its debut in June 1994, DIRECTV was the first national high- power DBS service to deliver digital-quality programming to homes equipped with the DSS system. The 175-channel DIRECTV lineup incorporates America's most popular entertainment and informational programming, providing a mix of 65 cable networks, up to 60 pay per view channels that include hit Hollywood films playing as often as every 30 minutes and an unprecedented selection of professional and collegiate sports programming packages. A la carte channels such as Playboy TV, The Golf Channel and TV ASIA also complement the list of DIRECTV program offerings.

DIRECTV and DSS are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation. The earnings of Hughes electronics are used to calculate the earnings per share attributable to GMH (NYSE symbol) common stock. Visit DIRECTV on the World Wide Web at
 -0- 3/11/96

/NOTE TO EDITORS: DIRECTV and Microsoft will hold an audio news briefing at 12:00 p.m. PST today, March 11. The briefing will be hosted by Eddy Hartenstein, president of DIRECTV, and Craig Mundie, senior vice president of Microsoft. The call-in number is 1-800-230-1074. The dial access code is 301144.

We will replay the briefing beginning at 2 p.m. PST for one hour. The call-in number is 1-800-475-6701. The dial access code is 301144./

/CONTACT: Linda F. Brill, Director, Communications of DIRECTV, 310-535-5062; or Cameron McCall of Waggener Edstrom Public Relations, 206-637-9097/


CO: DIRECTV; Microsoft Corp. ST: California IN: CPR TLS SU:

TT-BB -- LAM013 -- 0622 03/11/96 09:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1996
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