Motorola Goes Thin with New Box

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Thin is in for digital-cable boxes, so Motorola Broadband Communications
Sector has introduced a slimmed-down version of its 'DCT-5100' that it claims
will give cable operators a less expensive way to expand their high-definition
TV and interactive offerings.

It may also raise questions about how long production will continue for the
workhorse 'DCT-2000,' the most widely deployed box in North America.

The 'thin-client' DCT-5100 can ride on the same networks as deployed
DCT-2000s, but it pumps up the features with an HDTV decoder, a built-in Data
Over Cable Service Interface Specification cable modem, an integrated
'SmartCard' reader and three universal-serial-bus ports to link to peripheral
devices.

The slim DCT-5100 is aimed at the growing HDTV market. In recent months,
major MSOs including Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. have unveiled
HDTV services in response to satellite competitors' offerings.

Up to now, Motorola has offered an HDTV sidecar to operators that want to
deploy the high-resolution video format to their DCT-2000 customer base.

While Motorola isn't releasing the list price, it promised that the unit will
be offered cheaper than current HDTV decoders, while adding capabilities for
future interactive services.

'With its advanced interactive-capable hardware capabilities, this set-top
contains built-in PC-like functionality to enable tomorrow's advanced
interactive services with software downloads,' said Carl McGrath, vice president
and general manager of Motorola's digital-consumer-gateways business, in a
release.

'Plus, the expandable DCT-5100's thin-client software only takes up a small
portion of its operating capacity, leaving plenty of room for future advanced
services, as it guards against satellite competition,' he added.

The thin DCT-5100 will at first use the same Gemstar-TV Guide International
Inc. electronic programming guide as the DCT-2000, and it can support the same
video-on-demand services.

But its greater processing horsepower will also allow operators to deploy
more advanced interactive services such as home networking, streaming media and
transaction commerce, according to Motorola.

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