MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 4, 1995--The Sun Microsystems, Inc., and THOMSON Multimedia interactive TV alliance today announced that Nethold, one of the world's largest pay TV companies, will be the first commercial service provider to implement the alliance's Open TV interactive video system.

In what is expected to be one of the largest implementations of digital interactive television to date, Nethold, based in the Netherlands, will, in mid-1995, launch interactive television services to its subscribers in Europe and South Africa. The Open TV applications, delivered via satellite, will give European and South African viewers access to such potential services as home shopping, ticket ordering, interactive commercials, interactive game shows, and improved electronic program guides.

`With this first deployment, the THOMSON and Sun alliance has proven that it has the interactive technology the marketplace wants,` said Alain Prestat, chairman and CEO of THOMSON. `This demonstrates our ability to immediately deliver complete, cost-effective solutions. Interactive television on a mass scale will soon be a reality.`

`In just a few months, TV viewers in several countries will be enjoying the full-featured, exciting interactive applications made possible by Open TV,` said Scott McNealy, chairman, president and CEO of Sun. `Our goal of leveraging both companies' experience and expertise is now paying off. Sun and THOMSON have joined forces to be first in a mass consumer field deployment of interactive television.`

The THOMSON/Sun alliance was formed last year to develop end-to-end interactive TV solutions by leveraging Sun's expertise in network management and video serves, and THOMSON's leadership in consumer electronics and digital set-top devices. The Open TV operating system is a platform-independent, open solution for delivering interactive services to homes through existing networks.

Headquartered in Paris, THOMSON Multimedia is the world leader in digital television. THOMSON is the world's fourth largest consumer electronics company. It is number one in the U.S. marketplace with its RCA, GE, and ProScan brands, and number two in Europe with several prestigious brand names including Thomson, Ferguson, Telefunken, and Saba. THOMSON is an industry innovator in the development of digital technologies, both for professional and consumer applications. With the introduction of the RCA brand DSS (Digital Satellite System) in the U.S., THOMSON became the first consumer electronics company to develop and implement an all-digital delivery system for video reception in the home.

Sun Microsystems is the leading supplier of network computing to the telecommunications and cable industries. In concert with its business partners, Sun delivers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to address customer management solutions, billing systems, operational support systems and network management. Sun Microsystems is the world's top supplier of open network computing solutions, built on Sun's legacy of `The Network is the Computer.` Sun's SPARC/Solaris workstation and server family leads the UNIX market. The company has its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. -0- Note to Editors: Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, The Network is the Computer and Solaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Open TV is a trademark of Thomson Consumer Electronics. All SPARC trademarks, including the SCD Compliant logo, are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based on an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd. All other product or service names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective owners. Press announcements and other information about Sun Microsystems are available on the Internet via the World Wide Web using a tool such as Netscape or NCSA Mosaic. Type at the URL prompt.

--30--pc/sf.. CONTACT: Sun Microsystems Inc. Penny Johnson, 415/336-6180 Burson Marsteller Ted Dupont, 212/614-4562 THOMSON Multimedia, Indianapolis Frank McCann, 317/587-4450 KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA INDIANA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: COMPUTERS/ELECTRONICS COMED PRODUCT REPEATS: New York 212-575-8822 or 800-221-2462; Boston 617-330-5311 or 800-225-2030; SF 415-986-4422 or 800-227-0845; LA 310-820-9473 AP-NY-04-04-95 0603EDT This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.