VideoCipher, the San Diego-based unit of General...

VideoCipher, the San Diego-based unit of General Instrument Corp. that manufactures satellite TV encryption systems has signed a joint-venture agreement with conglomerate C. Itoh & Co. and Century Research Center Corp., both based in Japan, to market an enhanced version of its TV signal descrambling equipment in Japan.

VideoCipher declined to make a dollar estimate of the sales of the venture, which is to be called Japan VideoCipher Corp. (JVCC).

VideoCipher’s equipment is used by more than 60 satellite-transmitted cable TV programmers in the United States, including HBO, Showtime and Cinemax. The equipment prevents back-yard satellite dish owners from pirating cable TV programming signals.

C. Itoh is one of the owners of JCSAT, a private satellite launched March 7 to transmit Japanese business and entertainment satellite programming. Century Research Center Corp., a C. Itoh subsidiary, has experience in computer operations and software services in Japan.


JVCC is the second international joint venture established by General Instrument’s VideoCipher division. In 1988, the company established a joint venture with British Satellite Broadcasting Co., Ltd., an agreement valued at possibly more than $100 million.

A VideoCipher spokesman said the joint venture will not require the hiring of more employees at VideoCipher plants in San Diego, Puerto Rico and Mexico.