Cisco's set top box business never seem to look positive, at least for the investers, as the CEO could never project any good figures towards this business. Scientific Atlanta was very costly for Cisco and so is NDS. Now the problem is double.
There is lots of pressure from investers to sell SA and NDS off. After internal discussions John Chambers apparently announced that Cisco is not going to sell of either of the two. If you dig why JC would have taken this decision, it might be due to lack of buyers. Who has the money to buy such a big division in the times of recession. If Cisco was not able to make profits with the divisions, how will any other company will be able to. Now that Cisco has killed the brand NDS, especially in the conditional acess industry, Cisco can't sell of its STB division with Cisco brand for a good price.
Splitting and selling is another opition but how many pieces is a question.
Keeping the divisions, again, is not an option as investers are not happy with the divisions anyway and Cisco could not explain why it should continue with the business.
So, the ultimate plan could be, run the show as a long as Cisco can... make the existing customers happy by delivering what has been promised and thus exit from the business silently – over a period of 2-3 years or even shorter!