As expected, Cisco held a quick CES presser today to launch its connected TV initiative, which it's calling Videoscape. It's pretty ambitious stuff -- Cisco's goal isn't to kick out a single consumer-focused set-top box, but rather to build out an entire video network architecture in conjunction with service providers that allows customers to view any authorized content on any device on any network. That means that in addition to the actual Videoscape set-top box for your TV, there will also be apps for everything from Android and iOS to game consoles and Macs and PCs -- in the end, Cisco thinks your standard premium cable subscription will serve content everywhere, negating the need for supplemental services like Hulu and Netflix. There's also a Videoscape Media Gateway that can serve up local content across all your devices -- the company demoed sharing a quick Flip video with family members just by plugging the camera into the Gateway.

Obviously rebuilding entire cable systems around pervasive content delivery won't be easy -- Cisco says "video is the new voice" when it comes to disruptive industry shifts -- and the only partner announced today is Telstra. To really gain momentum the company will have to sell its vision to huge companies like Comcast and Time Warner, who are already working on their own projects. We'll see what happens -- it makes sense for a networking provider like Cisco to take this sort of end-to-end approach, but there's a lot of action in this space right now, and we don't think anyone has the luxury of time.
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Cisco Videoscape announcement at CES 2011


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Cisco Videoscape at CES 2011

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Cisco and Service Providers Aim to Reinvent the TV Experience with 'Videoscape'

New Platform Combines Entertainment from Multiple Sources with Social Media, Communications and Mobility to Create an Immersive TV Experience


Las Vegas, NV – Jan. 5, 2011 – Cisco today announced the release of Cisco Videoscape®, a comprehensive TV platform for service providers that brings together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications to create a new, truly immersive home and mobile video entertainment experience. Videoscape is part of Cisco's overall video strategy to provide the next generation of TV that is simpler for consumers, and transforms the market opportunity for service providers. Cisco is currently working with several major global service provider customers, including Telstra, to enable next-generation video experiences through the Videoscape platform.

Overview:

* Cisco Videoscape is an open platform that utilizes the cloud, the network, and client devices to deliver new video experiences over the Internet.
* New elements of Videoscape include:
o In the home:
+ The Videoscape media gateway for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi and network traffic routing.
+ The Videoscape IP set-top box, engineered to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VoD and the Web.
+ Videoscape software clients that extend the Videoscape experiences to a wide variety of home and mobile devices, from connected TVs to tablets, smartphones and more.
o In the cloud:
+ The Videoscape Media Suite, which offers full life-cycle content management so that service providers can efficiently and cost-effectively manage and publish content across multiple screens.
o In the network:
+ The Cisco Conductor for Videoscape, which orchestrates various services and subscriber-management functions across the cloud, the network and client devices.
o These five new product families are part of Cisco's medianet architecture, and work in conjunction with its existing portfolio of network products (the Cisco Carrier Routing System, Aggregation Services Routers, Content Delivery System and Cable Modem Termination Systems), and cloud technologies (Cisco Unified Computing SystemTM and Cisco Nexus®), along with Cisco Advanced Services.


Key Benefits of Videoscape:

* For consumers, Videoscape delivers:
o Immersive experiences. Access to vast entertainment content sources, including broadcast channels, pay TV and the Web, integrating the Internet, social media, communications and mobility. The result is an experience that offers:
+ Ease of use. Videoscape provides easier access from multiple devices to content from multiple sources.
+ More entertainment possibilities on-screen, as content is delivered from a greater range of sources, including broadcast channels, on-demand TV, DVR and the Web.
+ More social and interactive features that integrate popular social networking websites and Cisco ūmi Telepresence video conferencing technology to allow you to show, share and engage with others through the TV.
+ More choices for content on the go, enabling consumers to take their TV experiences with them, viewing multiple forms of content over a wide range of mobile devices and smart phones.
o Cisco quality-of-experience. Videoscape has network intelligence built in to enhance Internet video on the TV and to deliver the premium quality necessary for a higher-resolution experience instead of "best-effort" quality.
* For service providers, Videoscape offers:
o Expanded business models. Videoscape differentiates service provider video offerings from the competition and extends service opportunities for revenue generation. New models could include capabilities such as application delivery, home Telepresence, in-video e-commerce and more.
o Extended service reach. Videoscape enables service providers to monetize activities outside their own network or traditional device footprints. For example, a service provider can offer a branded and personalized experience to its customers, regardless of their location or method of accessing content.


Supporting Quotes:

* David Thodey, CEO, Telstra
"We see tremendous opportunity with IP video services that offer consumers interactive, internet-like experiences using both the TV and the PC. We worked with Cisco to deploy a Content Delivery Network that quickly proved to be a key differentiator for Telstra, and means we can provide products and services with a more consistent and reliable video experience to multiple devices. Our CDN supports the breadth and depth of content that gives our customers choice and reliability to download and access their favorite movies and programs to the TV using our T-Box media player, through direct download to the TV, or via the PC."
* Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Group, Cisco
"Our service provider customers like Telstra are well-positioned to lead the way toward better, faster services that give consumers real-time entertainment choices they didn't have before. Consumers are looking for a personalized TV experience that can be taken with them irrespective of location or device. Cisco Videoscape is the only entertainment solution available today that delivers this experience in full scope, combining all the necessary technology components of the cloud, the network and client devices."