BNI Video Raises $16M to Turn Cable TV to IPTV

BNI Video, which hopes to provide a way for cable and IPTV providers to quickly roll out new video services, has raised $16 million from a group of investors led by Cisco, (s CSCO) Comcast Interactive Capital (s CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable. (s TWC) The startup also announced a new cloud-based video control plane for service providers to offer multiple types of video from various sources to their customers.

BNI Video’s control plane is designed to help cable companies and other pay TV service providers as they transition their video services to all-IP networks. It takes all of the pieces required to deliver content to end users — including all of the transcoding, digital rights management, quality of service, etc. — and packages it together in a hosted platform that can then interface with service providers’ own billing and entitlements systems. The hosted nature of the product will enable companies like Comcast — which is an amalgam of various cable systems that have been rolled up over the course of several decades of consolidation — to offer new services across all of those various systems, regardless of the legacy infrastructure behind it.

Because the platform acts as a hosted service, BNI Video’s offering isn’t subject to the long upgrade process typically required when cable companies want to add new features to their video offerings. For instance, adding advanced search and navigational features will be easier and could provide a much-needed upgrade to the decades-old grid navigation system that is common in most pay TV providers’ electronic programming guides. It will also could enable them to roll out new social features more quickly.

So far, the story is resonating with cable providers, CEO Conrad Clemson said in a phone interview: The company already has one deployment with a Tier 1 operator, and is in multiple field trials with others.

BNI Video’s round also included participation from Charles River Ventures and Castile Ventures. The company, which is based in Boxborough, Mass., has 50 employees worldwide, including a 35-man engineering team in China.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user comedy_nose.

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