|Founded||1939Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United Statesin|
General Instrument (GI) was an American electronics manufacturer based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, 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 November 2001), CommScope and NextLevel Systems.
NextLevel Systems, the former GI cable and satellite TV division, took over the General Instrument name in February 1998. The new (post-split) GI Corporation was acquired by Motorola in January 2000 for $17 billion and became the new Broadband Communication Sector (BCS) along with an acquisition of Zenith Network Systems a few months later. After being called Connected Home Solutions, it was renamed Home and Networks Mobility in 2007. When Motorola split on January 4, 2011, this division became part of Motorola Mobility. On December 19, 2012, ARRIS announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility's Home unit (the former General Instrument company) from Google for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition was completed on April 17, 2013. On November 8, 2018, CommScope announced that it would acquire ARRIS in a cash deal valued at $7.4 billion including the repayment of debt. This acquisition brings back together two of the former General Instrument companies from the 1997 split.
Moses Shapiro, father of former Monsanto head Robert B. Shapiro, was Chairman from 1969 to 1975. Frank G. Hickey served as chief executive officer from 1975 to 1990, as did Donald Rumsfeld from 1990 to 1993.
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:
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.
Underseas Lab, a division of General Instrument Corp., located in Westwood, Massachusetts. It invented and manufactured multibeam sonars used in ocean floor mapping. It was acquired by Channel Technologies and is now owned by L-3 Communications.
Jerrold was GI's original cable TV brand, active from 1948 into the early 1990s. Around 1993, GI dropped the Jerrold name from their product lines. 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 40th governor in 1971. Shapp's given name was Milton Shapiro.
GI Microelectronics was a manufacturer of LSI circuits and a pioneer in MOS technology and Electrically Alterable ROM (EAROM), with both off-the-shelf and custom circuits. GI spun the division off as Microchip Technology in 1987.
In 1980, their product catalog included:
Other products included the famous AY-3-8910/11/12/14 series of sound chips, the AY-3-85xx, 86xx, 87xx series of game chips and a single-chip speech synthesizer, the SP0256 Narrator. A version of the SP0256 appeared in Mattel's Intellivoice. The popular SP0256-AL2 variant came with a set of allophones built in.
In 1965, Frank Wanlass moved to General Instrument Microelectronics Division in New York. Wanlass and other GI engineers promoted four-phase logic throughout the industry. J. L. Seely, manager of MOS Operations at General Instrument Microelectronics Division, also wrote about four-phase logic in late 1967.