Cisco joining connected TV party with updated cable boxes at CES

The battle for the connected living room is about to heat up in a big way: the Wall Street Journal reports that Cisco will announce a new series of connected cable boxes here at CES tomorrow, as part of a larger announcement that combines online video with recorded and live television. You scoff now, but keep in mind that Cisco owns Scientific Atlanta, which makes an absolutely huge number of cable boxes for providers like Time Warner and Comcast -- and if Big Cable embraces connected TV by distributing integrated Cisco hardware, well, we'd say upstarts like Apple and Google might just go home with their tails between their legs. On the other hand, the WSJ says "cable operators will be able to customize the software interface and decide on pricing" for Cisco's new boxes, so it's possible America's favorite corporations will completely bungle everything at the first opportunity. We'll be there live tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.