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General Instrument (GI) was an electronics manufacturer based in Horsham, PA specializing in semiconductors and cable television equipment. The company was active until 1997, when it split into General Semiconductor (power semiconductors) which was later acquired by Vishay Intertechnology in 2001, CommScope and NextLevel Systems (the cable and satellite TV division, which later reverted to GI name). The new (post-split) General Instrument Corporation was later acquired by Motorola and became Motorola Connected Home Solutions, and was renamed Home and Networks Mobility in 2007. Moses Shapiro, father of former Monsanto head Robert B. Shapiro, was Chairman from 1969 to 1975. Frank G. Hickey served as CEO from 1975 to 1990, and Donald Rumsfeld did from 1990 to 1993.


VideoCipher Division

General Instrument Videocipher Satellite receiver by Toshiba

General Instrument produced receivers for old C and Ku band satellites. They also produced Videocipher units as well as digital equipment. 4DTV was a system for picking up free and encrypted analog and digital satellite subscription channels. It also included an interactive guide. The product line included:

  • 2700 Series: on screen displays, C/Ku switching, digital sound, satellite memory increases with the model number.
  • 2600 Series: similar to 2400 except with on-screen displays.
  • 2400/2500 Series: no on-screen displays, everything is controlled from the remote and front panel. Two alphanumeric displays indicate the current satellite and transponder. A GI 2000PS is needed to use a dish motor. Digital Stereo Audio is available on VideoCipher channels, C/Ku compatible. The 2400 was re-branded in the early 90s by Rural Cable and sold with a fixed C band dish pointed at Galaxy 5.
  • 350 Regular: simple receiver with a separate dish mover (some will have a stationary G5 satellite).
  • 350i Super: extensive on-screen displays, 50 satellites (C or Ku with external switch), digital sound.
  • 450i/550i/650i: extensive on-screen displays, C/Ku pre-programmed satellites, digital sound, extras.
  • 4DTV: interactive program guide, two favorite lists, C/Ku band, many other features.

American Totalisator Corporation/AmTote

American Totalisator was a division of General Instrument Corp. It manufactured tote boards for the horse racing industry. It is now owned by horse-track operator Magna Entertainment Corporation.


Jerrold was GI's original cable TV brand, active from 1948 into the early 1990s. Around 1993, GI dropped the Jerrold branding. The Jerrold brand was prominent on both addressable and non-addressable cable TV converter boxes that were used on non-cable ready sets and cable-ready sets with premium pay services. "Jerrold" is the middle name of the company's founder, Milton Jerrold Shapp, who became Pennsylvania's 42nd governor in 1971.

GI Microelectronics

GI Microelectronics was a manufacturer of LSI circuits and a pioneer in MOS technology and EAROM (Electrically Alterable ROM), with both off-the-shelf and custom circuits. GI spun the division off as Microchip Technology in 1987.[1]

In 1980, their product catalog included:

Other products were the SP0256 Intellivoice, a single-chip speech generator (for example, the SPO256-AL2), and the famous AY-3-8910/11/12 series of sound chips.



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