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Television Media Hardware

Cisco Moving On Set-Top Boxes 110

nevermindme writes "Cisco has agreed to plunk down a whopping $6.9bn for Scientific-Atlanta, hoping to take a major share of the set-top-box market and push video efforts. The networking giant will pay $43 per share in cash for Scientific-Atlanta ($5.3bn) and swallow $1.6bn in debt. With the buy, Cisco acquires one of the more dominant set-top-box makers. In addition, it pushes well beyond the data center to touch consumers where they live."
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Cisco Moving On Set-Top Boxes

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  • Oh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spazntwich ( 208070 )
    What does Cisco bring to the table that nobody else does or can?

    Maybe I'm a short-sighted idiot, but I thought Cisco did networking products. I guess if I saw them getting involved in the set-top box market, it would be in designing hardware to setup a background infrastructure for other set-top box makers.
    • Re:Oh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PDXNerd ( 654900 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:47PM (#14072018)
      You haven't used cable in an upgraded market lately. With a cable modem you get your Internet, and if you plug it into your cable set-top box you have streaming TV, movies on demand, dating on demand, news, weather, etc.

      The cable box of the future will not be picking up the "cable" frequency per se, but rather handling a large amound of streaming traffic coming into the house. Perhaps Cisco might even make a cable-box/cable-modem/router all-in-one.

      The future of cable is right around the corner. By the time Cisco adds their IP to a box and gets it to market, it will be here.
      • OK, but that didn't really answer my question. What IP does Cisco have that's going to make their boxes superior to anyone elses? Otherwise they'll be "just another set-top box maker."
        • Re:Oh (Score:4, Informative)

          by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun.gmail@com> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:56PM (#14072063) Journal

          Exactly; they want in on what's going to be a big market. And this way, the cable/DSS companies buy Cisco routers to talk to Cisco cable access multiplexors or DSLAMS to talk to Cisco cable modems/DSL modems, (plugged into Cisco home gateway appliances, thanks to Linksys) and Cisco set-top boxes, hooked up to your Cisco VoIP phone. And so on.

      • Whoa!!

        dating on demand

        Do you mean like in Logan's Run where Jenny Agutter just materializes in front of Michael York in a flimsy disco slip and asks if he wants to have sex? Sign me up! I could go for that kind of "dating on demand". ;')

    • Re:Oh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OrangeTide ( 124937 )
      Cisco does all sorts of things. They are constantly aquiring companies. You know those Polycom office conference phones? Those are Cisco now too. Cisco does just do IOS (thier propritary network management OS), they do Linux and other operating systems too. They have hundreds of Java developers as well. About the only thing Cisco hasn't gotten into yet is storage appliances, but I can only imagine that would be the next thing.

      What does Cisco bring to the table that nobody else does or can?

      Nothing. But the
      • Not a whole lot, actually. General Instruments (bought by Motorola) was the dominant player. Scientific Atlanta might have had 15-20% marketshare, if that. And with an incompatible digital cable protocol, it doesn't make much sense to mix up your systems nationwide, so they were getting their asses kicked.

        Hell, they're probably worth more for satellite recievers, than their cablebox business, at this point.
    • I've been a Time Warner digital cable subscriber for a while and my last few cable boxes have all been Scientific Atlanta. Maybe there's a preexisting contract of some kind they can use to get their foot in the door in the services-via-settop market? Otherwise, why bother ...

    • What does Cisco bring to the table that nobody else does or can? I beleive the relevant term here is CAN. Try this on for size, Global Networking Market = Cheese CISCO = Mold The cheese has been out of the fridge for quite some time... and Last I checked, DTV was a switched technology...
    • Re:Oh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AstroDrabb ( 534369 )

      What does Cisco bring to the table that nobody else does or can?

      Consolidation? I have a "digital" house. We have digital cable, digital Internet access and digital phone. My digital phone comes in to a digital phone/cable router box and then goes into a Linksys cable/dsl router. My digital cable comes in through a Scientific-Atlanta set-top-box which offers video on demand, HD and 100's of channels. What I would like to see is ONE box that can bring digital goodness to my house. I don't want multiple devi

      • My cable company sometimes provides single unit set top boxes with a RJ-45 socket in the back. You plug a cable in there, and you get Internet access. Just because it's a single box connected to a single cable does not, however, mean I can watch digital TV on anything other than my TV (actually, I can't anyway, since I cancelled the TV subscription a few months ago, having watched nothing since the new series of Doctor Who finished).
      • It already exists (Score:2, Informative)

        by Gobelet ( 892738 )
        Sagem is already making something like this in France, with an ISP called FREE [www.free.fr].

        You get 20 mbps, digital cable, Internet, phone, router functionality, Wi-Fi coverage, along with Ethernet and USB ports... VoD is almost here. The box is called a Freebox [adsl.free.fr].
        They added a few months ago something cool: you can stream media from your computer to the set-top box, which is plugged into a TV.

        And you get all this digital goodness for something like $35 a month (30).
        • That sounds pretty nice! I don't know of anything like that in the USA. $30 - $35 a month is really cheap! For Digital cable, 5 mbps internet and unlimted local/long distance digital phone I pay about $130 USD a month.
    • by mikael ( 484 )
      Scientific-Atlanta provide the systems required to run a complete digital-TV cable network. Everything from the video servers, the accounting systems, the set-top boxes and the digital modems required to connect PC's to the Internet. As an example, Telewest in the UK use their systems to provide telephone, digital cable TV and broadband access all through a single cable.

      Given the way everything is moving over to Internet (VoIP telephones, downloadable movies/music, online services), Cisco have everything to
    • Scientific Atlanta makes the cable modems that Cox Business (among others) use. These modems do not include a router, making it very easy for a business to be provided with multiple static addresses.
  • by TimeForGuinness ( 701731 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:36PM (#14071961) Journal
    So will I be able to buy a Set-top box with a DVR, cable modem, Wifi and Router capabilities?

    Nice.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think you will see that they are not swallowing 1.6B in debt, but swallowing 1.6B in cash. ;-) RTFA
    • No, you get a clue (Score:3, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 )
      Scientific Atalnta is in1.6B in debit. Thus, when Cisco "swallows" them up, they are also "swallowing" 1.6B in debit.

      It has absolutely nothing to do with the purchase price of $43 per share, or 5.3B, other than the fact that the transaction will essentially be a 6.9B red mark on Cisco's balence sheet (minus SA's revenues).

      • As previously posted, they are paying $5.3B net since the other $1.7B cash is for $1.7B cash. S-A has no significant debt, and definitely not $1.7B worth. Refer to these (correct) articles:

        As quoted here [ajc.com]:

        Scientific-Atlanta also comes with a bushel of excess cash. The money in its bank vault will go to Cisco, shaving the ultimate price tag for Scientific-Atlanta from $6.9 billion to $5.3 billion.

        Or here [reuters.com].

        Cisco said that the net cost of the acquisition would be $5.3 billion after subtracting Scienti

  • by carlcub ( 843533 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:38PM (#14071969)
    Ever hear of Linksys? Cisco bought them a while back. Lots of people have their stuff. Probably not as many as have cable, but it's still a substantial number of households.
    • ..and they subsequently destroyed the reputation of a good company. Wouldn't be seen dead with linksys hardware any more.. it's cheaply made crap now.

      cisco can get away with it on their routers (cisco routers are made in taiwain and hong kong and they use cheapo chinese power supplies.. they don't hide this fact either) as they have a support network to back it up. Unfortunately it's different with the linksys stuff - you get the cheap ass hardware and no support.
    • ok, I have to admit that I am not very experienced in this area so I have a total noob question So I have got a bunch of cisco wireless cards. I have a netgear wireless "router" It supports WEP....64bit....the cards support 54bit....wtf.... can anyone help?
  • All media... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Private Taco ( 808864 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:44PM (#14072002)
    Personally I think it's about time the Internet, Phone, TV, music, and movies all become condensed into one distribution system.
    • Like this? [telewest.co.uk]

      I get my broadband, TV, phone and movies on demand from these guys through one cable going into my house. That's 4Mb (soon to be 10Mb) broadband, 2 phonelines and 70+ TV channels. Ok, so I don't get music through it, but I can receive radio channels (not digital, I have a DABS radio [ukdigitalradio.com] for that) too.

      They've recently started a service called Teleport [telewest.co.uk] that essentially gives you TV on demand - not just recent TV shows, but whole series across multiple channels, just in case you missed an episode. Abs
    • Is this not what BT's 21st Century Network is about? Though they're starting by moving all of their backhaul telephone networks to IP. Once this is done, there's nothing stopping them from also delivering video and other services over the IP connections to the home.

      I guess the question is, when will they actually take their IP network right into the home for phone, etc.
  • Too Much (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jay Tarbox ( 48535 )
    Cisco is trying to do too much crap. All sorts of acquisitions over they years that are all over the product map. They're trying to be everything to everybody and the house is going to fall down. There's already backlash from people (customers and potential customers) that think they're too arrogant and disorganized.
    • Re:Too Much (Score:5, Insightful)

      by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#14072094)
      > ...trying to be everything to everybody...too arrogant and disorganized

      As may be, but Cisco is becoming the next Ma Bell (or at least Western Electric). They already have a lock on backbone and enterprise routing and switching; with Linksys they have a large chunk of the consumer Ethernet market, and here they are moving into the consumer cable plumbing market. Every byte you get from the Internet goes through a dozen Cisco boxes before it gets to you. Now we're going to start seeing the same thing in cable as well.

      • Re:Too Much (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Fatal67 ( 244371 )
        Close, but no cigar. Juniper actually has the largest share of public backbones. Cisco owns the edge and the IT networks.

        Cisco buying SA is a good thing for SA. Their IP platforms have historically not been the most reliable around. Almost anything they have with IP on it is a product they resell for someone else. Cisco can actually give them the IP interface they need. As everyone knows, Video is moving to IP, and currently, noone stands out as the main player for video delivery. Alcatel has a head start,
        • Re:Too Much (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Wrong, Cisco has the majority of the backbone of the internet too. Last I read, Cisco had approximately 70% of the low-end, 80% of the mid-range, and 70% of the high-end marketshare. Juniper's only significant marketshare was in the high-end, and it had about 25%. It is now estimated this marketshare they do hold will now be decimated since Cisco came out with their high-end, fully-threaded IOS. Cisco gear can now run circle around Juniper's. Google "Cisco CRS-1" to find out more.

          "Four T640s add up to
          • Re:Too Much (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Sounds to me like you have read all of Cisco's marketing hype and never seriously looked at Junipers. A couple of points

            1) Cisco has **JUST** release in the last 12 months a NEW, re-written Threaded and Modular IOS. Juniper have had one from the beginning.
            2) Who needs 46Tb at the centralised core? In reality, data flows between nodes in a distributed network. Junipers T640 plus matrix makes sense and is by far more cost effective and read, **scalable**. Just buy one T640, then another when you need it
            3) Nam
  • by Fox_1 ( 128616 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @03:51PM (#14072037)
    Cisco has been one of the leaders in VOIP technology -their office phone systems are really quite good-, as well as their more dominant role as a networking equipment provider. I can see them anticipating the convergence of network, phone, and tv services and acting to position themselves to be the dominant hardware provider. I know here I can get phone, internet, tv services through my local cable company, just as my local telco offers TV in addition to Phone, and Internet.

    Here is MSNBC coverage [msn.com]. Somewhat more info on the Cisco viewpoints.

    • If you watch the product placement in The Island, you can see this is exactly where they see themselves as going. The guy makes a call on his videophone/TV and it has Cisco all over it. Agreed on the phones too, they stomp all over NEC VoIP phones.
  • sensible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peterjhill2002 ( 578023 ) <peterjhill@cm[ ]du ['u.e' in gap]> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#14072090) Journal
    This story is almost 24 hours old... Cisco most certainly wants to integrate itself into every part of digital data transmission. Since there are alot of people watching "digital tv" it is a sensible purchase.

    Look at what else Cisco has done. They have a voip phone that integrates with Skype
    http://www1.linksys.com/international/product.asp? coid=52&ipid=821 [linksys.com]

    If you get vonage, you often get a Cisco ATA box to turn your analog phone into a digital signal...

    It is a great strategy for Cisco. They want to sell both parts of the package, the core routers for the Internet. DSL and cable modem concentrators for the central office. DSL and cable modems.

    I wonder if they will keep the company name or roll them into Linksys as a consumer product. I also wonder how microsoft will react. They want to get a version of their OS on cable boxes.

    Time will tell
    • I also wonder how microsoft will react. They want to get a version of their OS on cable boxes.

      I doubt that many people would be sorry to see PowerTV go away, ugly creature that it is, but to be replaced by some flavor of Windows? You never know, I guess, but Linux does seem more likely, since it's already out there running a bunch of set-top boxes...

    • Re:sensible (Score:5, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:48PM (#14072282)
      > ...Microsoft...want to get a version of their OS on cable boxes.

      Oh my god. I can see it now.

      You have successfully changed the channel. You must restart your TV for the new changes to take effect. Would you like to restart your TV now?

      • Your remark is moderated as being funny, but I would say that it is insightful. Do not forget about the updates too though!

        (During the Superbowl) Your cable box has been updated with the latest security software. Press the Enter key to reboot now or wait 15 seconds.

        Five minutes later, when the cable box is done rebooting, you hear the announcer screaming about the most amazing play ever in the entire history of football...

        strike
         
      • You forgot to "write", thus it will come up with the same channel you were on before the reboot.
  • Convergence (Score:4, Informative)

    by dana340 ( 914286 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:06PM (#14072104)
    I agree with the fact that Cisco is looking toward the conversion of data systems. Right now companies are offering cable TV, internet, and phone all through coax. In about 10 years from now, I predict that television entertainment will still exist, but it will evolve into something that cable carriers will stream into homes using their network connection to your home via coaxial connections, or via fiber. It makes perfect sense for Cisco to go into this market. it secures another market for them in the future, they can offer some of the equipment to make such the switch. And besides, who goes out to the store to buy a cable box? They're often provided by the cable companies themselves to be compatible (and expandable) with their existing infrastructure.
    • Cable companies are already moving to IPTV services along with their data and voice. IP set top boxes already exist. People are doing today what you say will take 10 years.

      Oh.. and for the record, your cable plant is almost all fiber. Generally just from your house to the node is coax. But don't tell them FIOS guys that, they act like they just thought up the idea. I always thought cable companies should have advertised that fact.. but oh well.
      • It will still take some time for it to become common place. And yes there may be some carriers using IPTV now, but I was unable it find documentation quickly to back me up on that. And I have yet to find a carrier who has the option of fiber right into your home for your average cable TV user. It's not about what's possible now, but what is commonplace or probable now.
    • Dana340, it sounds like you are describing the original MaxHeadroom, as shown on CineMax in the early 80's. Originally it was produced for the BBC I think. Much like the Turtles, it was horribly changed for mass North American dumsumption.
      • "Much like the Turtles, it was horribly changed for mass North American dumsumption."

        To which Turtles do you refer?

      • Hahah, I had to look up MaxHeadroom, but that is funny. It was a little before my time, (I was 3 when it was on the air). Having everything on demand, even the newscast twenty minutes in the future is pretty cool.
  • by omgwtfroflbbqwasd ( 916042 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:10PM (#14072125)
    [Disclaimer: I am an S-A employee] Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola are the main players in the Hybrid Fiber-Coax (HFC) infrastructure that the entire cable industry, and thus all of cable-based broadband Internet runs on. With the telcos getting into this market (SBC and Verizon), there is going to be a huge shift in the cable TV industry over the next few years. Cisco and S-A together will have the capability to merge cable (which consists of IPTV, Video on demand, DVR's, real-time video compression and content management), VoIP, and traditional Internet together in a way that no other vendor will be positioned to do. The HFC networks are already IP-based and interactive services will leverage this even more going forward.
    • Just because one vendor can deliver every product, doesn't make them the best at any of the parts. But it was a very good move.

      From what I hear, Cisco has agreed to not touch SA for 2 years. Is that correct? Does that mean SA can continue on with their partnerships selling Cisco's competitors products? (C/DWDM transport gear, CMTS's, etc)

      I've never known Cisco to be a nice owner. Generally they take the IP and drop the company. I don't see them doing tha to SA but I also don't see them keeping their hands
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That's completely not true... I was part of a Cisco acquisition myself. The company I came on through did eventually get disbanded during the 2000/2001 layoffs, but that was due to product readiness and profits within the business unit. I've personally worked on many acquisitions and 95% of the people are glad to be acquired and most everyone stays with Cisco.

        It's been over 5 years since I was acquired, and I can't think of a good reason to leave. It's tough to watch all of the Cisco bashing here on Slas
        • that and they make the best modular access router manuals ;)

          seriously though cisco is one of the few companies out there still cranking out wonderfully detailed product manuals. Product manuals were what i used to read to learn about computers and computing back in the day.

          i realize cisco gets a lot of flack, it's because they're a 'security' product company, and 'true' security doesn't come from hardware, but rather having trained personel. to cisco's credit they do have an excellent program for certifin
      • From what I hear, Cisco has agreed to not touch SA for 2 years. Is that correct?

        I'm pretty sure that only applies to senior management, who have agreed to stay for two years following the acquisition. Based on my experience with other companies, I'd venture to say that within 6-12 months, any redundant or competitive product lines will be merged or cut. As far as the product partnerships go, those would probably remain for the period of their contractual obligation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The affordable desktop boxes will be intentionally crippled, and you'll have to pay big bucks for an enterprise-class desktop box that can tune in all the channels.
  • Ummm... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by suitepotato ( 863945 )
    In addition, it pushes well beyond the data center to touch consumers where they live.

    Quite frankly I don't need Cisco touching me and would appreciate it if they didn't touch my wife either.

    I'm also kind of concerned that I might need a CCNA, you know, a Can't Configure Network Access certification, just to install a frigging cable box. CCNA holders have a high incidence of primma donnas amongst them and I can't see them deigning to be cable monkeys or accepting the sh*tty pay that the customer suppor
    • ... and Cisco knows that their core products are not meant for home users. That's why Cisco has the division of LinkSys. Products that are geared for home users and are easy to setup and use. If you are worried about something being too complicated, don't. Cisco has a good understanding of what a business need and what a home user needs.
    • You know I am just trying to wrap my brain around your wawwwwwwwwwwwwy out in left field comment.

      I see no mentioning of Cisco wanting to touch you or your wife.

      Do you personally have something against Cisco? Did their IOS insult your to your very core? Did a CCNA give your sister the crabs?

      Cisco is know for making high quality equipment, I have been sending commands to them since 95, but I do not have it out for CCNAs or cisco.

      You know I could almost agree with you about paper CCNAS, MCSES, RHCIm A+, etc.
  • Isn't our GOD(vermin)t going to subsidize the purchase of settop boxes for the poor when the digital revolution (i.e. RESOLUTION)is implemented? Wow what a concept... get into the market with both feet and get extra revenue from the trough!

    Chew on that angle

  • Coming soon from Cisco: a combination PVR, wireless access point and home router/firewall, complete with Cisco's legendary support: security patches will be made available only for cold hard cash, regardless of what was paid upfront. (See your support contract for details, some restrictions apply. Must be legal drinking age.)

    -g
  • I know that Scientific Atlanta manufactures Cablemodems, but with Cisco, via Linksys, already providing that... Does this mean that A) The modems will stop sucking or B) be replaced with linksys branded products?
  • Linking the dots... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by droopycom ( 470921 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @05:22PM (#14072414)
    - Cisco buys SA (Scientific Atlanta)
    - Cisco recently bought danish company Kiss Technology - now part of the linksys division (Some of you might remember them as the first company coming out with a Mpeg4/Divx set top DVD player)
    (http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2005/corp_072205.h tml [cisco.com])
    - Kiss has a long standing relationship with chip maker Sigma Designs, Inc.
    (http://www.google.com/search?q=Kiss+Sigma+Designs [google.com])
    - Sigma and Microsoft are working together to enable Windows Media CE product, including Kiss products
    (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/nov 04/11-30sigmadesignspr.mspx [microsoft.com])
    - Sigma is working with Microsoft on their MSTV IPTV platform.
    (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/sep 05/09-08SigmaIBCPR.mspx [microsoft.com])
    - SBC plans to release IPTV service using the MSTV platform.
    (http://www.microsoft.com/tv/content/PressReleases /SBC04_IPTV.mspx [microsoft.com])
    SBC will use Motorola and SA set top boxes for this (service.http://www.sbc.com/gen/press-room?pid=480 0&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=21772 [sbc.com])

    Obviously Cisco wants to be a player in the IPTV space.

    This article is interresting also, cisco was not named, so they must have realized that their were getting out of the loop. Not anymore with the SA acquisition: http://www.forbes.com/facesinthenews/2005/09/09/tv -broadcasting-microsoft-cx_dl_0909autofacescan06.h tml?partner=yahootix [forbes.com]

  • The issue is really only in part what Cisco can bring to the market. Scientific Atlanta is very close to being the first set top box manufacturer to release an MPEG4 HDTV set top box. Of late, the big craze is the "Triple Play" service provider model. Cable companies are selling phone and data services. Phone companies are migrating to GPON and providing TV content and data services. The big challenge for all these triple play providers has been that the bandwidth required to transport 160 channels of
    • Assuming a provider is offering 160 channels, say 145 channels of standard and 15 channels of HD, you can see that this would take 880Mbps of transport!

      Except a customer will NEVER EVER come close to using this much transport. You can't tune a TV to 160 channels at the same time. And the most TV's i've seen on a customer acct(I work for cable company) is 10. Even if all of those TVs were on at the same time, plus someone on the digital phone, plus a couple kids using the digital Internet, they STILL wouldn'
  • Cisco is dominant in the CMTS (Cable Modem Termination System - i.e. cable router) space with their uBR 10K product. By aquiring a settop company that essentially implements non-standard/proprietary PHY and MAC layer protocols, Cisco will be able to move their direction to open CableLabs based standards such as the DSG (DOCSIS Settop Gateway) specification. By doing this, Cisco will sell even more CMTS' since SA PVRs and digital settops will now speak the DOCSIS protocol and be able to be provisioned o
  • Makes sense to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <.moc.mocten.xi. .ta. .yladetep.> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @05:56PM (#14072538)
    Contrary to what seems like the opinion here seems to be, I think this makes perfect sense. Set-top boxes are really only a portion of the SA business. The rest is in cable networking components.

    From network components to cable set-top does seem like a little bit of a jump, where buying up a company that makes cable networking equipment in general is right up Cisco's alley.

    I used to work for the division of Philips that made commercial cable equipment (no longer in business.) A modern cable system is really a modern day addressable network.

    My thinking is "wall-street" folks come in contact with the set-top boxes, so that's what they percieve the SA business to be all about.

    -Pete
  • Scientific Atlanta is probably the dominant brand of equipment in almost every cable TV headend in the country. They make all kinds of stuff for cable TV networks.

    As cable TV moves away from analog to digital, it will be nice to have Cisco handling the data side of things inside SA equipment. I expect to see some nice products, and it will probably accelerate the adoption of digital cable in smaller markets that haven't upgraded yet.

  • by tpengster ( 566422 ) <slash@NOSpAM.tpengster.com> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @06:10PM (#14072588)
    I believe the article is wrong.. SFA has $1.6b in cash, not debt. CSCO will be paying $6.9b, but the effective price will be $5.3b since they will be acquiring the cash on SFA's balance sheet.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=SFA [yahoo.com]
  • Scientific Atlanta has to have the absolute worst cable boxes I have ever experienced. I have never had an electronic device of any sort overheat and malfunction as much as my cable boxes from them have done.

    You'll note that I said "boxes"; the reason is that I've gone through about 4 or 5 before finally giving up and accepting that my cable was going to be nearly useless until I move again. The worst of the worst have been the HD DVR ones. Behind those were the regular DVR boxes, and coming in at nearly
    • I think your blame is misplaced -- somewhat. When I was in Upstate New York with Time Warner Cable, I had the Explorer 8200 HD DVR(or was is it the 8100 HD?). It was a terrible box. The thing crashed all the time, failed to record, and did a generally crappy job with pixelation. Also, it lacked basic features like the ability to watch something from the beginning while it was being recorded.

      However, when I moved to North Carolina, I got the Explorer 8300HD DVR. I'm still with Time Warner Cable, but a diff

      • Interestingly enough, the Explorer 8X00 series are based on a MicroSPARC processor (single 160MHz in the 8100s, Dual 250MHz in the 8300s), and the underlying OS is PowerTV, which has a lot of GNU elements and a BSD-based kernel.

        The Passport GUI on those things sucks all kinds of ass, though.
    • I was going to add that Cisco did not do their due diligence - the Scientific Atlanta HDTV cable boxes are absolute crap. I've gone through two of them so far. They run way too hot and eventually die. Not to mention the bugs in the software. I can consistently cause mine to go wierd to the point that I have to unplug the power from the back of the unit.
  • by Cally ( 10873 )
    In addition, it pushes well beyond the data center to touch consumers where they live.
    Right,.. 'cos that's a completely new market for Cisco [linksys.com].
  • All your IP packets belong to us.

    It actually makes a bit of sense... now your set top box can tie in with your home router/WAP.

  • With the buy, Cisco acquires one of the more dominant set-top-box makers.

    One of the more dominant providers? I thought SA was the set top provider.

    I've never seen any other box (however, I've only lived on the East Coast).

  • With cable card threatening to obsolete cable boxes I would bet that Cisco's primary interest is in the head end, not the set-top box.

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