Video Vendors Make Digital Strides

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Cable-technology vendors are continuing their tweaks on video-delivery
systems to make TV easier.

First, Motorola Inc. has installed new 'DigiCipher II' encoders at MTV: Music
Television's uplink site in Hauppauge, N.Y. The encoders -- armed with
Motorola's 'Pure Pixel' video-compression technology -- will be used to
distribute MTV's digital-programming lineup.

With better compression and multiplexing capabilities, the encoders will
allow MTV to increase its channel capacity from 10 to an even dozen.

Elsewhere, Canada's Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. is now offering a
high-performance chip set for analog- and digital-cable tuners, allowing
set-top-box manufacturers to cut tuner size in half and lower costs by as much
as 20 percent.

Priced between $1.70 and $1.89 depending on volume, the new RF-tuner chip set
can process analog- and digital-TV signals, interactive gaming, home shopping
and cable telephony. It cuts the size requirement by imprinting radio frequency
and intermediate frequency modulation directly on the silicon, eliminating about
40 external components.

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