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posted: 4/13/2010 12:01 AM

Motorola readies new 3-D set-top box for cable

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If you're an early adapter with a new 3-D, high-definition television set, you may appreciate the upgraded set-top box that Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc. demonstrated Monday.

The software in the box for cable subscribers eliminates the need to use remote controls and fiddle with on-screen menus to configure the box and TV every time a channel changes from 2-D to 3-D. The box is designed to automatically detect the presence of 3-D content and identify the type of 3-D format used to provide the right display on the TV.

After the box identifies the 3-D content, it will reformat all the on-screen graphics so they can be correctly displayed, such as closed captioning, the TV guide, emergency alerts and so on. Otherwise, you could end up seeing a weird overlay of the words.

"We've already released this to service providers for demos," said David Goodwin, senior product manager for Motorola Homes in Horsham, Pa. "And it could roll out to cable providers later this year."

Motorola upgraded the software in its DCX line of set-top boxes to make it easier for consumers to watch 3-D at home. The 3-D upgrade was demonstrated at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Last Vegas Monday.

Despite the upgrades to the set-top box, consumers still need a 3-D-ready TV and special glasses to view the program.

"This is a new thing for the industry, and new channels for 3-D are expected to come out, too," Goodwin said.

Comcast Corp., which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg, used the new Motorola 3D set-top box for its demonstration last week on 3D coverage of the Masters golf tournament from Augusta, Ga. But a company spokesman declined to comment on when the devices would be available to subscribers.