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Motorola Plans to Acquire Modulus – Where is This Business Going?

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Nearly five years ago when I first started working with Motorola, the broadband business was a Goliath in the cable industry, but it certainly wasn’t known for being either nimble or aggressive. At the time it seemed almost like senior leadership was letting the division marinate a while to see which direction the market would head.

Times they have a’changed.

Over the last year in particular, Motorola has stepped up the pace on broadband-related acquisitions, with today’s announcement of the intent to acquire Modulus only the latest in a series of buy-outs. Modulus, briefly, is a video encoding company with technology for IP, cable, broadcast and satellite TV. This acquisition follows on the heels of:


It’s not hard to see that Motorola’s strategic vision includes serious investment and expected financial return in broadband delivery and specifically broadband video. What’s amazing is that, in hindsight, someone at the top had that strategic vision seven years ago. Even while moving slowly on the outside, Motorola has held an ace up its sleeve ever since purchasing General Instruments in the year 2000 to start the broadband business. The acquisitions of the last twelve to eighteen months are just filling out the company’s hand.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve finally had time to look at this move further and can see how Modulus would nicely compliment what you have been doing over the last year or two. In trying to think through the consumer applications, it seems like the biggest benefit would be that customers could record a lot more television to their hard drive, compared with an MPEG 2 encoding solution. Do you have any idea of what the difference in storage will be for the number of hours of HD content that you can store on a 180GB drive or am I misunderstanding the main benefit of the acquisition? If you can compress HDTV content into smaller files, it will go a long way towards improving the 17 hour limitation I was faced with, when I had my Motorola HD DVR.

  2. It’s a storage issue and a bandwidth issue. Someone once told me that, roughly speaking, HD increases the bandwidth needed by a factor of 4, yet MPEG4 decreases it by about half.

    As far as storage goes, I’ll dig for some specific comparisons between MPEG2 and MPEG4 and plan on doing a follow-up post. But yes, you’re absolutely right. By shifting to MPEG4 you can get more content stored in the same amount of storage space.

  3. […] acquisition train keeps on rolling. Motorola announced today its intent to acquire Leapstone Systems. Leapstone has a […]

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