CES 2013: Cisco using NDS purchase to advance living room ambitions

The battle for the living room erupted on Monday at CES 2013, and Cisco isn't risking being left out of the fray.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- Although Cisco tended to veer away from the consumer electronics segment since it folded the Flip video camera unit in 2011, the networking giant is now heavily focused on the living room.

During Monday's press conference at the 2013 International CES, Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of the video and collaboration group at Cisco, introduced what he dubbed as the "evolution of Cisco's Videoscape," which first debuted at CES last year.

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De Beer added that this has been made possible thanks to the acquisition of NDS last summer, which he explained moved Cisco's strategy and vision forward by an estimated two to three years, based primarily on a different go-to-market model for cloud and services with long-term recurring revenue.

Videoscape Unity is the latest release, but De Beer said it is "one of many" to come for Cisco. First and foremost, De Beer described, this platform is supposed to be an open, agile, and transformative model for consuming "all forms of content," whether it be free or paid.

Jesper Andersen, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's service provider video technology group, explained that Videoscape Unity is comprised of several parts -- namely social, personalization, and synchronization across all connected devices within the home (or at least the living room). That means TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones -- you name it.

Now, all of these facets are arguably de facto requirements for connected living rooms as this battle has really taken ahold of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show already.

Andersen suggested how Videoscape Unity could fit a unique role, relying mostly on the rather undefined category of anticipating and preparing to support new and unexpected technologies.

He cited cloud-based DVR as one example of an innovative feature that would fit into this category, which Cisco also included in the Videoscape Unity debut on Monday for TV service providers. Basically, this means being able to stream, pause, and pick-up from the exact same spot when streaming cloud-based DVR video across connected screens of virtually any size.

Advertised to be delivered "as a service," Cisco said that Videoscape Unity can be tailored and deployed to each service provider's preferences. Because it is an open platform, Videoscape Unity also supports the addition of third-party components and apps.

From the consumer point of view, besides the ease of seamless DVR streaming across devices, Cisco argued that Videoscape Unity also offers customers with a wider range fo service provider-managed devices to choose from -- not to mention the option to tack on their own when subscribing to this platform.

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