Scientific-Atlanta Unveils New Explorer 8000 Set-Top

In an effort to place the cable set-top box at the center of the home entertainment universe, Scientific-Atlanta last week unveiled its new Explorer 8000 set-top, which is expected to begin shipping during the summer of 2001. The company also announced that Time Warner Cable has signed purchase orders, commiting them to buy sufficient numbers of the device to satisfy most of the cable operator's forecasted requirements for calendar years 2001 and 2002 for this class of digital set-top.

SA says that the Explorer 8000 set-top, will sport a 40 gigabyte hard drive, which the company says can hold more than 40 hours of video content and a dual-stream MPEG encoder and multiple-stream MPEG decoder to allow the simultaneous recording and viewing of video streams. The company claims that the new set-top will also provide extensive input/output capabilities, including a front-access USB port and available dual 1394 ports to support HDTV and connections to high-speed peripherals.

SA's Michael P. Harney says the new product will perform TiVo-like functions and explains that "the Explorer 8000 set-top will deliver powerful PVR capabilities together with a suite of bundled interactive TV applications, which eliminates the need for two boxes and offers cable operators an unmatched competitive edge to drive new revenues and subscriber satisfaction."

According to SA, the Explorer 8000 platform will also offer access to a multiple interactive TV applications without the need for network upgrades. Capabilties expected with the new platform include: Web browsing, email, television-commerce (t-commerce), and video on demand (VOD). It says that, with its two tuners, SA says the Explorer 8000 set-top will enable the simultaneous viewing and recording of two channels of programming and support HDTV via memory options.