Cisco Videoscape looks to reinvent TV experience

Cisco has unveiled a comprehensive TV platform that brings together digital television and online content with social media and communications applications.

The technology company that is already a major supplier of both infrastructure and consumer premises equipment says the new multiscreen platform, named Videoscape, is part of an overall strategy to provide a next generation of television that is both simple for consumers and transforms the market opportunity for service providers. It is already working with the Australian telco Telstra on a trial run for its fledgling platform.

“We see tremendous opportunity with IP video services that offer consumers interactive, internet-like experiences using both the TV and the PC,” said David Thodey, CEO, Telstra. “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 favourite 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 added that Telstra and companies like it were able to 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.”

At first glance, Videoscape appears to be heading for the same territory currently being visited by Virgin Media and Ono through TiVo, and the UPC Horizon project that brings together the talents of NDS, Intel and Samsung. However, Videoscape appears to be travelling deeper into the network, starting with a media gateway for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi and network traffic routing.

Then there is the IP set-top box that incorporates access to linear broadcast content, VOD and the web. Software clients will extend Videoscape’s multiscreen experience to home and mobile devices including connected TVs, tablets and smartphones. It’s not just about TV, because elements of Cisco’s Telepresence video conferencing platform are also included.

The Videoscape Media Suite makes it possible to publish content to all of the devices while the Cisco Conductor provides subscriber management functions through the cloud.

In days gone by a US cable operator might have been described as either a Cisco or Motorola system and Videoscape kind of continues the tradition by combining it with five product families within Cisco’s medianet architecture.