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Summary:

Cisco’s new Videoscape products announced at the 2012 CES will provide more functionality both for managing assets in the cloud, as well as new client-based technology for a wider range of connected devices. That will add new immersive features for pay TV subscribers.

Cisco's home videoscape product.

Increasingly, service providers are looking to make video content available across mobile handsets, tablets, connected TVs, gaming consoles and streaming boxes. So Cisco, which provides networking equipment to a large number of network operators, is hoping to provide some of the technology that will help them move beyond just delivering traditional TV offerings and extending their reach with IP video services.

To do so, Cisco first introduced its Videoscape products at last year’s CES. Now the network equipment provider is introducing a series of new products that build on its existing platform. While initial Videoscape products were built to intelligently handle video distribution over the network, the new additions will provide more functionality both for managing assets in the cloud, as well as new client-based technology for a wider range of connected devices.

On the cloud side of things, Cisco is announcing a product called Videoscape Voyager Virtual, which renders a new user interface that can be delivered to legacy set-top boxes. While some operators — most notably Comcast — are producing a massive update to their set-top boxes, there’s still a large installed base of users who won’t get new hardware anytime soon. The Voyager Virtual will let them get more dynamic updates to the programming guide, by delivering that user interface as a channel.

The Cisco Media Processor and Transcode Manager will support delivery to multiple devices with adaptive bit-rate technology automatically. The Cisco Conductor offers up a unified control plane for delivering multiple video services on more devices. And Cisco also provides advanced analytics for both its Content Delivery System customers or for third-party CDNs.

On the client side, Cisco is introducing a new multiscreen gateway that will deliver live, recorded and on-demand video to multiple TV around the home. The gateway has six tuners, meaning it can record up to six video streams all at the same time. Cisco is also introducing a software platform for creating new user interfaces and programming guides. That software stack can also be used to deploy new apps to set-top boxes, including social media applications, streaming video and other features.

This is all really geeky but necessary stuff, and it’s probably attractive for operators to run Cisco software if they’re already Cisco clients as a way to roll out these multiplatform capabilities. In fact, a few already are: Canada’s Rogers Communications, France’s Numéricable and Israel’s YES have all chosen Videoscape components to roll out next-gen video services.

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