At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week Cisco unveiled extensions to its Internet TV platform and strategy that enable "video in the cloud" services.
If Cisco's appearance at CES surprises you, it's no wonder. The company gutted much of its consumer business last spring after weak results and the distraction it caused in the company's core markets of routing and switching. It killed the Flip pocket videocam and Umi home telepresence system, and dispersed its Eos home entertainment platform throughout other company operations.head of Cisco's Videoscape venture left the company, leading to speculation that Videoscape would be the next consumer technology to be jettisoned by the company. But Cisco has stood by Videoscape and its Linksys home routers as potential catalysts for growth in sales of its higher-end routers and switches.
Cisco’s Internet TV platform, Videoscape, is targeted at service providers looking to offer video services as a new revenue stream. It is designed to combine digital TV, online content, social media and other communications applications into an all-inclusive home and mobile video session.
Videoscape, which debuted at last year’s CES show, competes with Internet TV platforms from Google, Microsoft and Apple, among others.
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At this year’s CES, Cisco is rolling out several new Videoscape products that are designed to provide a consistent look-and-feel across devices, no matter what or where they are. With these enhancements, service providers can deliver live video and on-demand video experiences to PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, Cisco says.
The new products include those for the desktop or mobile client, and back-end infrastructure components for the cloud. For the client, Cisco unveiled the Videoscape Multiscreen Gateway line, kicked off by the Cisco 9800 series.
The 9800 series features six tuners that allow consumers to watch and record six video streams at once. It delivers live, recorded and on-demand content, in standard, high-definition and 3DTV formats, to multiple screens within the home via traditional quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM)-based set-top boxes and IP set-tops.
Also for the client, Cisco rolled out software called Videoscape Voyager Vantage. This software connects set-tops to the cloud and provides the user interface to the home. The interface includes video on-demand catalogs, and a launch point for social media, Internet video and content sharing applications.
For the cloud infrastructure, Cisco unveiled four products. The first is Videoscape Voyager Virtual, a “cloud-rendered” user interface that delivers IP video to legacy MPEG-2 set-top boxes and helps to enable social media, e-commerce and gaming applications, cloud-driven electronic programming guides, video place shifting and remote user interfaces.
The second is Cisco Conductor back-office technology for QAM Video. This serves as a video control plane and service management application for providers to roll out differentiated video services across networks and devices.
Third is the Cisco Media Processor and Transcode Manager, which allows service providers to deliver video content to second and third screens through expanded video format support, such as adaptive bit rate technologies that optimize delivery of services to each screen for the best possible quality. And last is Videoscape Content Delivery Network (CDN) Analytics, a reporting application for analyzing the performance of CDNs.
Cisco also announced that several video service providers, including Rogers Communications of Canada, YES of Israel and Numéricable of France, have selected Videoscape to deliver their next-generation video services.