Anaheim, Calif. -- Saying that it is serious about its
cable modem business segment, Thomson Consumer Electronics officially unveiled its
standards-based product at the Western Show here two weeks ago.
Thomson will market the cable modems under the RCA brand,
said Carl Bruhn, general manager of Thomson's Broadband Americas division. Thomson is on
Tele-Communication Inc.'s short list of vendor suppliers for the cable modems it will use
before the devices move to retail shelves.
"We view cable as a particularly important market
segment," Bruhn said, adding that after Thomson's success in the direct-broadcast
satellite decoder business, "we got sidetracked on some of the telco
opportunities." He was referring to Thomson's work with the now defunct Tele-TV
Since then, "we've been focused on cable," he
said. Field trials are underway now with unnamed MSOs, and will widen this month.
Commercial production quantities are expected early next year, Bruhn said.
Part of Thomson's focus will almost certainly be trained on
how to best aid in the retail process. Bruhn said RCA believes that retail outlets should
focus on selling high-speed data services, like @Home Network and Road Runner, first.
"Our plan is to get retail tests done in the first
quarter, and from those results, we'll establish a fourth-quarter retail presence,"
Bruhn said. He said cable modem retail prices would range between $299 and $349 initially.