Mixed news for Motorola: Its hi-def set-top boxes and DVRs are in demand, but it’s not building them fast enough for at least two key customers — telco Verizon Communications (VZ) and cable giant Cox Communications.
Today’s Wall Street Journal follows up ($) on an earlier story from Multichannel News: Verizon is running out of set-top boxes and is making some customers wait before they can receive HDTV service — one of the features the company boasts loudest about.
This isn’t a big deal for Verizon — while it may annoy some new customers, it won’t hurt the telco’s long-term prospects as a TV provider.
But the future is less certain for Motorola and Cisco’s Scientific-Atlanta, which pretty much own the U.S. cable box business. For a long time, we’ve been hearing about new devices, sold directly to consumers, that can replace the boxes. We’ve yet to see it happen, but it may finally start up this year.
That’s because the cable industry is rolling out a system called “Tru2Way,” which it says will make it easier for gadgets and PCs to act as cable tuners. And the list of companies that could eventually replace Motorola/Scientific-Atlanta in your living room is growing — including anyone making high-end TVs, digital video hubs like Apple TV and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, LG’s forthcoming Netflix box, and TiVo.
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