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Motorola: 15 Million HD Set-Tops Shipped


There was a lot of press coverage last week around HD set-top shortages at Cox and Verizon, and a lot of the blame seemed to fall squarely on Motorola’s shoulders. Naturally, I’m a bit peeved.

Here’s a little perspective and context. First, HD demand skyrocketed in the last few months, and that’s a good thing. It means consumers love HDTV, service providers are bringing in more revenue from HD offerings, and Motorola is in a business that continues to grow.

Second, Motorola is very good at churning out set-tops. Last quarter alone the company shipped 1.25 million HD set-tops, reaching a total of 15 million HD set-tops and 69 million total digital video set-tops shipped to date. In comparison, Scientific Atlanta’s site (now part of Cisco) says it has shipped a total of “more than 30 million digital set-tops,” and TiVo’s total set-top shipments appear to ring in at around 4.1 million. Temporary shortages or no, it should be impossible to ignore the success Motorola has had with HD set-tops.

One final note, The Wall Street Journal did include one positive quote from Cox (subscription required) in a story last Tuesday. I think it bears repeating.

“Motorola worked very closely with us to resolve this quickly and we are satisfied with their efforts,” said Cox spokesman David Grabert in an email. “This will imminently be a non-issue for Cox customers.”

4 Responses

  1. All fine and good, but the Mot STB I’ve got from Comcast is, to put it mildly, HORRIBLE.

    The remote often doesn’t respond until a few seconds later when all the commands you issued are executed at once. Assuming of course that the darn thing doesn’t spontaneously reset itself – which means hours of wait for the guide to update. And why must the thing suck so much power? The on/off switch simply turns off the display – the power consumption is virtually the same whether on or off.

    And the user interface is pretty bad. You have to turn it off in order to access the Closed Caption menu and the output resolution (480, 720p, 1080i).

    Last, no pass through mode for HD channels such that whatever the broadcaster is sending is what you get. Given that half are sending 720p and the others 1080i, why not have the option of sending to the display whatever the source is?

    This STB (my second with the same issues), as well as Comcast’s choice to use this piece of junk, is going to drive me to SAT soon at this point!

    Amazing that Comcast is now trying to sell TiVO service using this very same box. As if the software in the box isn’t already at it’s limit! Rather than new services, how about fixing the basic problems first?!

  2. A lot of things go into a set-top, both hardware and software.
    (Motorola makes the hardware) The trick is designing to the specs that operators want, which in turn are determined by the need to make set-tops inexpensive enough to be widely accessible. The good news is that lots of folks are getting premium HD content because of what their cable operators have to offer.

    The new MPEG-4 set-tops announced at CES do address a couple of the issues you mention. They offer HD pass-through and have a higher-efficiency internal power supply.

  3. […] stat goes hand in with the more than 15 million HD set-tops Motorola has shipped, and I believe Motorola must now be over 70 million digital video set-top shipments […]

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