Scientific-Atlanta Inc. said its 'Explorer 8000,' an advanced digital set-top
box with on-board digital-video-recording capabilities, debuted in subscriber
homes this week as part of MSO trials.
So far, Time Warner Cable, which has ordered 100,000 units, is the first
formal MSO customer for the 8000, which houses dual tuners, an 80-gigabyte hard
drive and DVR software that syncs up with the box's resident program guide.
S-A did not disclose unit pricing, but the 8000 is expected to ramp into full
production in June.
'We expect to be announcing [new] customers in the next couple of weeks,'
said Dave Davies, director of strategic marketing for S-A's subscriber-networks
division. 'The 8000 is a great tool for our customers to compete against
Both DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. have been offering
DVR-capable receivers for several months.
Future versions of the Explorer 8000 are expected to support home-networking
technologies, essentially creating a media center that can feed applications and
content to other devices.
S-A also unveiled two new digital set-top models, the Explorer '2200' and
'3200,' which tout physical footprints that are about 22 percent smaller than
existing '2000-class' and '3000-class' models.
The boxes also contain 166-megahertz, 32-bit RISC (reduced instruction set
computer) processors. The 3200 comes with 16 megabytes of DRAM (dynamic
random-access memory), and the 2200 supports 8 MB.
Davies said both boxes are equipped with more power and functionality, but
they are priced at rates even with the earlier '2100' and '3100'