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Cisco Puts TV in the Cloud with Videoscape
At CES 2011, Cisco said its new Videoscape suite will integrate voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi, and network traffic routing
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Cisco has unveiled an ambitious new platform called Videoscape that aims to do nothing less than unify online content and digital TV with social media and communications applications in the cloud.

Speaking at CES on Wednesday CEO John Chambers said that while the TV Everywhere concept isn't new, Cisco had identified the core issues at play in making it reality: interoperability, business modeling, and QoE (quality of experience).

"We aim to enable a new architecture tailored to making video content available across any network or device," said Chambers.

Chambers noted that key partnerships with service providers were critical to deploying video everywhere. This is because, as Cisco has long pointed out, there will soon be 50 billion devices connected to networks pushing and pulling video and growing video traffic at a 50% year on year creating massive pressure on service providers across data centres, storage and switching hubs.

"The focus for service providers is on creating services that combine mobility, video networking and media in the home, while transforming the experience in general for the end user into much more of a personalized one," he said. "Video is about how you have an infinite source of content, and you need to be able to use any device over any network to get to any content you're authorized to get to...and it's got to be more visual and intuitive [than it is today] as to how this occurs, and more social and more effective."

Videoscape, for which Australia's Telstra is a beta customer, is described as a suite of five product lines that utilises the cloud, the network, and client devices to deliver a new television experience. A Videoscape media gateway for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, Wi-Fi and network traffic routing will sit within the home. A Videoscape IP STB has been engineered to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VoD and the Net.

Videoscape software clients will then extend the Videoscape experience to a wide variety of home and mobile devices, from connected TVs to tablets, smartphones and more. The Videoscape Media Suite meanwhile sits in the cloud, which offers full life-cycle content management so that service providers can manage and publish content across multiple screens.

A Cisco Conductor for Videoscape is a network product combining various services and subscriber-management functions across the cloud, the network and client devices.

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.

"This ideal world of video is only enabled by leveraging the architecture of the Internet," said Chambers. "Getting it right is more of an art than it is a science. But it's inevitable how fast this market is going to move. The network should be seen as the platform. It's not about the devices, it's about underlying intelligence in the network and an underlying architecture."

Telstra CEO David Thodey said that it is working with Cisco to deploy a CDN that quickly proved to be a key differentiator for the telco, "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," Thodey added.

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