Digital Gear Powers Tech Earnings


The rollout of digital cable-television equipment was
strong in the first quarter ended March 31, according to financial reports from vendors
last week.

Horsham, Pa.-based General Instrument Corp. shipped about
800,000 interactive digital set-top terminals in the first quarter, an increase of 160
percent over the prior-year period's 300,000.

GI launched 60 digital headends in the quarter, upping its
total of active digital headends to more than 760 as of March 31.

Digital sales were the main driver in GI's 24 percent
revenue increase during the quarter, to $519 million from $417 million in the first
quarter of 1998.

Net income before restructuring charges grew 94 percent to
$37.8 million, or 20 cents per share, versus $19.5 million (13 cents), before
restructuring and other charges. Operating income for the quarter was $57.4 million before
restructuring charges, up from $33 million a year ago.

Sales of digital-telephony gear to AT&T Corp. helped to
drive sales and earnings at Duluth, Ga.-based cable supplier Antec Corp. Its first-quarter
earnings rose 215 percent to $38.6 million, or 13 cents per share, on sales of $145.3

In October, AT&T agreed to buy up to $900 million worth
of Antec's "Host Digital Terminal" cable-telephony equipment over a period
of three-and-a-half years.

So far, the long-distance giant has placed firm orders for
more than 200 Host Digital Terminals, and Antec expects future orders to increase sharply.

Also last week, CommScope Inc., the Hickory, N.C.-based
coaxial-cable supplier that spun off from GI, said its quarterly net income rose 70
percent to $10.8 million, or 21 cents per share, from $6.3 million (13 cents) a year ago,
including a one-time gain last year.

Revenue rose 11 percent, to $148.1 million, powered by
international sales that overcame lower domestic sales.