@I ain't Spartacus Re: to buy a failing company
"Why were they ever called set-top boxes? I don't recall seeing many CRT tellies that had a flat enough top that you'd balance the video on them..."
Apparently, you're not old enough. In the early cable era, when settop boxes made their first appearance, there were tellies that you could (and most did) use as a table!
They're called that because that is, in fact, where they originally sat in virtually every household.