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Why I love Video on Demand

I may work at Cisco, but I don’t consider myself much of a technophile. Of all the gadgets I own, I only use about 10% of the features. I don’t like instruction manuals and don’t have the time to research all that my phone, MP3 player, etc are capable of. I’m mostly disappointed with the consumer technology I buy, but recently, I’ve been having a really good experience with Video on Demand from my cable TV company. As an employee of Cisco, I understand what Video on Demand (aka VoD (acronym alert!) is. I just never really spent much time using the service until recently. What changed? Well, I had always rented movies the way that most people rent movies. First it was a visit to the video store and then when I got lazy began to rent over the internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. I eventually determined that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages and cancelled both services. Then I discovered Video on Demand. I’m an Astound customer in the San Francisco area. While I have a DVR, I often miss some of my favorite shows. While looking for a movie one night, I stumbled upon old episodes of Entourage, Weeds, Californication and Extras. I had seen about half the episodes but there were at least 20-25 I had not seen. The best part is that they were free since I subscribed to the premium services. In the last few weeks I’ve seen all of the episodes and continued to dig deeper into the VoD library. A lot of the content is B-grade, but a good portion is fairly entertaining. The best part is that it’s instantly available, it’s free, and I can order it from the comfort of my couch. Consider me a convert. I know check the library frequently to see what has been newly added. And that brings me to a few areas that need to be improved. Nothing’s perfect and the Video on Demand service from my cable company has a few issues. The act of finding interesting content is difficult. Somebody needs to step up and figure out a way to better present options to consumers. The delay between the DVD release and VoD is still too long. One of my favorite movies of the last 2-3 years came out in December…The Bourne Ultimatum. Rarely do I have to have a video when it comes out, but this was an exception. I ended up heading to Best Buy to purchase it, but I would have preferred to just order it over the network.Even with the negatives it amazes me that only 27% of broadband users use an on-demand service. VoD libraries are increasing with some service providers offering up to 7,000 titles. The quality is the same as watching broadcast TV, price seems reasonable and there is no waiting. Gotta go. The 3rd season of Entourage just became available and I’m trying to catch-up.Sign-up for Cisco’s new web series Digital Cribs.View Michael Kisch's profile on LinkedInTo learn more about visual networking go to: Wikipedia

Cisco at CES: Key Themes from the Show

Day four of CES and I’m still standing-barely. I feel like I haven’t slept in days and my knees are permanently locked in place from standing in our booth all day. As expected CES was hectic, but not as crazy as it has been in past years. I saw a few funny things…this guy certainly looked like he was having fun. A couple observations from the show:1. Display technology continues to advance. Panasonic featured a 150″ plasma that has 2-3x the resolution of today’s mainstream HD TV sets. In addition to getting bigger they are also getting slimmer. Panasonic, Sony and Samsung all showed off new displays that were less than 1″ thick. What most excites me about the new displays is that they are constantly getting better at displaying high quality video to consumers. I suspect that current flat panel sales will continue to do well and soon the majority of homes will have this technology. Check out the worlds largest plasma TV…2. Devices connected to the network continue to flourish. The CE industry is beginning to understand the power of the network and how it can help them create a better consumer experience from installation to the delivery of new services to the device.3. Advancements continue on the network side as well. A few cable companies announced new initiatives designed to deliver 100mbps to the consumer. This along with the fiber optic networks being deployed by the telecommunications companies is really opening up the pipe and the potential for exciting new consumer experiences. The network continues to evolve in the home as well. We are quickly moving to the 802.11N which will deliver faster speeds and better range. Particularly exciting is the dual band technology from Linksys that enables a person to stream high-quality HD video content throughout the house while also been able to send email, access the internet, etc. Visual networking experiences are highly dependent upon these technology advancements. The ability to deliver networked digital video to a range of devices combined with the consumers ability to participate in communities of people and communicaties of content is gaining steam and we saw examples throughout the show. show ends in a few hours and the attendees will board plans and return to their homes. I’m looking forward to a few days of peace and quiet…To learn more about visual networking go to: Wikipedia

Welcome to the Cisco Consumer Experience Blog!

What better time of the year than early January 2008 to start something new –CES is upon us, MacWorld is coming up, and then there are always New Year’s resolutions.Wirt-Blog.JPGIt’s a VERY interesting time in the world of consumer electronics. There are super-changes on the horizon. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, – it’s a product, it’s a service, – it’s managed, it’s DIY, – you rent it from service providers, you buy it at retail – -put it all together and it’s a consumer experience. Cisco is well known to enterprises and technical types, but not so much to consumers. What we’ve done historically, developing”the network as a platform” is harder for consumers to grasp than a “bright shiny consumer electronics object” because a network’s not tangible and because it does so many things, rather than one specific thing. It’s like trying to sell an”invisible Swiss Army knife.” But the rise of digital video delivered over a network will not stop -so the system and partnerships that are required to deliver it in a way consumers want will evolve -and Cisco’s contribution to the consumer experience will grow along with the awareness of Cisco’s role. Be sure to follow our Cisco Consumer Web Site to see what we’ve got at CES and thereafter. We’ll all find out together as the year develops -and we hope you’ll join us on this blog to experience the adventure of inventing and discovering how the future plays out. — Ken Wirt, VP Consumer Marketing

Cisco at CES 2008

Two days and counting before CES 2008. The anticipation is building. The clock is ticking and people are diligently trying to tie up all loose ends. Today we’re finalizing our booth and setting up all of the meeting rooms. Tomorrow we will do the set-up for our high-roller hospitality suite at the top of the Venetian. CES is definitely an experience. It creates a level of anxiety, but also a sense of excitement. For those of who haven’t had a chance to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I will give you a brief tour.CES happens every January in Las Vegas. If Vegas is crazy for most of the year the dial is turned up to 11 for CES. 150K people descend upon the city booking every hotel room, restaurant reservation, and limo available. Celebrities, professional athletes, high-profile executives pop up everywhere. Just last night I saw Jalen Rose and Tori Hunter at a restaurant at the Venetian. As a Red Sox and Celtics fan I wasn’t overwhelmed, but it was a funny coincidence that the moment they showed up our service went south. Why do people deal with the hassle and continue to travel to the show? Read More »