Scientific Atlanta! Say it isn't so!

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Bad news from my perspective because Scientific Atlanta has been slowly drying up its operations only a few miles from where I live in suburban Atlanta. But, the news from various sources (otherwise known as widely distributed press release, edited by some, buy only a few, publications):

Cisco Systems will pay about $6.9 billion to acquire Scientific-Atlanta, the nation's second-largest maker of cable set-top boxes. The purchase is aimed at helping Cisco capitalize on the trend of consumers buying TV, Internet and phone services from a single source. Bloomberg (11/18), The New York Times (free registration) (11/18), The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (11/18), Telecommunications (11/2005)

For those who may continue tosneerr at convergence, this story should help you settle down. It's coming, whether overhyped or not. In fact, it's already here in many places. For my fellow students of new media, young and old, The New York Times is quoted as saying:

With the deal, Cisco will, for the first time, be able to sell digital television equipment that provides high-definition programming; shows and movies on demand; and an array of interactive services. Scientific-Atlanta, the second-largest provider of these set-top boxes, and Motorola, the largest, have effectively held a duopoly in this market.

Both Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola have long supplied set-top boxes to cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The boxes, though long viewed as stodgy decoders of encrypted television signals, have become far more sophisticated in recent years.

Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola now produce boxes that receive high-definition programs and include digital video recorders; soon they will include DVD recorders as well.

Cisco is envisioning a future that includes home entertainment systems built around a set-top box that communicates with not only the television, but also with audio equipment and a range of appliances. Cisco also sees potential growth in services that store television programming on giant servers for delivery to consumers on demand.

Scientific-Atlanta is also likely to benefit from a requirement that broadcasters return their analog spectrum to the government in 2009. By then, hundreds of millions of American televisions will need the equipment to receive digital signals. SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/18/business/18cisco.html?hp&ex=1132376400&en=5fe90d822ea8c07e&ei=5094&partner=homepage, obtained 18 Nov. 2005.

Makes me want to check in on the electric utilities and see where their broadband plans are today.


Inevitability of PVRs (Again)

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein.

From http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/nov/1205961.htm dated 16 Nov. 2005:
Supporting advanced services, this two-way interactive digital set-top box with built-in 160 Gigabyte hard disk to store TV and video content incorporates OpenTV's next-generation middleware, OpenTV Core and PVR 2.0, and Irdeto Access technology for conditional access.

For my linear readers, this is just another of a running list of why we all will have PVRs sooner than most commercial forecasters predict. As set-top boxes are replaced, they will include PVRs for all companies with any foresight whatsoever. Whether they are used immediately or not, they create tremendous functionality at the receiver's end and, ironically, will allow providers to return to the "push" technology days of the web by allowing the recording of infomercials, perhaps at 3 AM.

This brokers a deal Americans are used to: trading exposure to commercial messages for access to programming (for example, whatever is recorded on the PVR). I continue to maintain this is inevitable and will surprise observers with the rapidity that these new set-top boxes are rolled out. Ironically, the Christmas shopping season is a great time to market these boxes, and TV viewing rises in the winter months.