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Cisco infuses Internet TV platform with software from $5B NDS buyout

Cisco this week unveiled the fruits of its $5 billion acquisition of video software maker NDS with a product designed to enable media companies to deliver synchronized multiscreen video services.

The product, called Videoscape Unity, combines the NDS software with Ciscos Videoscape Internet TV platform, which was introduced at the CES consumer electronics conference two years ago. Cisco unveiled Videoscape Unity at this years CES conference in Las Vegas.

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Included in Videoscape Unity is a  multiscreen cloud digital video recorder (DVR), which enables consumers to restart shows, catch up on past programs, and play back DVR-captured content from anywhere, on any screen, Cisco says. Videoscape Unity also includes unified search, discovery, and viewing functions to allow consumers to watch premium live and on-demand content on any connected device regardless of location, the company says.

Cisco also rolled out a connected video gateway for Videoscape Unity that serves as a single entertainment hub, with back-end management of IP and QAM video, for distributing video content to any IP-connected device in the home.  Another component of Videoscape Unity is IP Video over Cable, which is designed to give consumers expanded choice of content and IP video services across a wider range of service provider managed devices.

Videoscape Unity was created by integrating Cisco Videoscape with the assets and business model of NDS, Cisco says. Cisco acquired NDS last year.

The new platform comprises a set of cloud, network and client based components, connected by open interfaces. The cloud and network components are the engines behind personalized video services, and enable multiple screens to be synchronized to create a single unified experience for the subscriber content looks and feels the same no matter what device they use, Cisco says.

Client components use an interface called Cisco Snowflake and NDS Media Highway multiplatform clients. The client software allows network operators to design user experiences, add them to clients for connected devices and set-top boxes, and deploy them across multiple screens and throughout large service footprints.

As a whole, Videoscape Unity is intended to allow operators to quickly add new content and services to subscriber endpoints with little time, effort and expense.

Cisco is also offering, for the first time, Videoscape "as a service," allowing operators to have Cisco build, monitor, operate and host their video infrastructures.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.

Tags unified communicationsLANs & RoutersCES-2013NetworkingvideoconferencingCES 2013Cisco NDS

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