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Videoscape Extends Network Intelligence into the Home to Reduce Multi-screen Costs

The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo held in Atlanta (Nov 15-17, 2011), provided further industry confirmation that multi-screen delivery has become table stakes for operators. Yet, an undercurrent of all the promise that multi-screen video can bring is the cost of delivering applications and services to additional screens. There are network costs for additional bandwidth provisioning, data center costs for transcoding content into various bit rates and formats, and customer support costs related to the launch of new services, among others. How can operators confidently launch multi-screen services under these circumstances? Cisco’s Videoscape addresses this operator concern with an architecture designed to mitigate the cost of multi-screen video delivery and to achieve tangible results.

Let’s take the use case of linear TV streaming to companion devices in the home. There is growing concern that consumers will treat their companion devices as they do their regular TVs, and continuously stream linear content to their connected devices, raising the cost to provision sufficient bandwidth to support subscribers. There are multiple ways to tackle this consumer behavior challenge. Better content discovery and recommendation can ensure that consumers only stream content they actively want to watch, and data caps can provide the disincentive to over-consumption.

Cisco’s Videoscape architecture addresses this challenge by extending cloud transcoding and network intelligence into the home. Videoscape multi-screen home gateways can alleviate some of the bandwidth concerns for streaming to Internet-connected Read More »

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Cable Technologists: Thanks For a Great SCTE Cable-Tec Expo!

To the 10,000 or so of you who joined us in Atlanta this week for the annual Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers Expo – thanks for participating in what was one of the more high-energy, momentous Expos we’ve seen in decades. Wow! What a great one this year.

Starting with the ending, really: On the last afternoon of the show, Steve Callahan, Senior Network Engineer for Time Warner Carolinas, earned the grand prize at the first annual “IP Challenge.” (It wasn’t explicitly because he had fans with handheld signs in the audience [see photo to the left] – Steve really did perform the series of router configurations with alacrity and grace – but it didn’t hurt.
Our overall Cable-Tec Expo 2011 observations: While in years past, engineering to-do lists and intentions were overshadowed by doom-and-gloom predictions of cord-cutters, over-the-top video interlopers, and similar perceived calamity, this year’s Expo attendees were in full-tilt “let’s build it” mode.  The over-arching sentiment was that it’s time to auger in and get fully immersed in this overall transition to IP video. To that we say: Bring it!

In our booth, the two main areas of interest were the nuts-and-bolts details of how to get to “TV Anywhere,” as well as the key architectural elements that will enable the all-IP transition. Watch an unofficial “coffee clutch” video interview between our Mark Palazzo, VP/GM, Cable Access Business Unit, and industry technology columnist Leslie Ellis, about SCTE Expo trends. Read More »

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SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Attendees: Welcome to Atlanta!

By Mark Palazzo, VP and GM of Cisco’s Cable Access Business Unit

Just a few more days until the start of this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, to be held in Atlanta from Nov. 14-17. We’re excited to see y’all in our fair city! A lot will go on next week, so we thought we’d put out some signposts about where you can find us, what we’re doing, and what we want to show you while you’re there.

Where you can find us and what we want to show you: We’re piling in to booth #1762, where we’ll be showing everything we’re working on to reinvent the television experience. That means:

  • The Videoscape Experience: “Videoscape” incorporates cloud, network and client devices to drive new video experiences over traditional and Internet-based networks.  That means freeing viewers from the traditional bounds of time, place and platform, towards the realities of anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Specifically, we’ll demonstrate the integration of linear, on-demand and over-the-top content, with our Media Suite – a full lifecycle content management system, for both managed and unmanaged (consumer-purchased) devices. As in set-tops, soft clients, Internet TVs, tablets, smart phones, you name it.

Also on hand: Ways to distribute media inside and outside the home, using our Media Gateway family of products, as well as our “Conductor” – a standards-based, real-time network and device management tool designed specifically for service providers. Read More »

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A Treat for U-verse Customers: Cisco and AT&T Launch Wireless TV Today

By David Alsobrook , Director of Business Development, Connected Home Solutions, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group

It’s a big day here at Cisco (and it’s not just because it’s Halloween and there are bowls of candy everywhere…!)

Today, we go to market with AT&T with an industry first: IPTV set-tops equipped with video-optimized Wi-Fi. AT&T calls it the “AT&T U-verse TV Wireless Receiver” — a first-ever way to arrange your TV to go with your life, furniture, and living environment.

Guests for the weekend? Move the TV to the guest room. Wish you could have three TVs to follow this weekend’s games? Go for it.   With this no new wires solution, the “plumbing” is no longer an issue.

We Cisco people call it our ISB7005 wireless set-top box and our VEN401 wireless access point.  One is a set-top that can be located anywhere in the house; the other is a video-optimized wireless access point. Read More »

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On Transitions, CDN Interconnects, and Why You Should Not Miss Scott Puopolo’s Keynote at CDN World Summit

This is my last blog. Well, last blog as a guy focused on the video service provider segment. A few weeks ago, I accepted a role within Cisco to lead our Service Provider Mobility marketing efforts for our rapidly growing mobility business.

Almost immediately upon telling people of my move, the ribbing began: “Challenge junkie!” “You just can’t get enough, can you?” And so on.

I suppose it’s true. I spent the last four years helping to craft a vision and product portfolio for IP video. First, we called it “3rd wave of Video”, knowing we were onto something big.

When we finally got our arms and our engineering resources around it, we gave birth to something magical that we call “Videoscape.” It’s an umbrella term for everything that’s required to successfully transition to IP video – from Media Data Centers, to CDNs, to gateways, and everything in between.

Last week, in fact, we strengthened that portfolio even more with our acquisition of BNI Video – a group of entrenched cable veterans who will significantly augment our ability to provide CDN analytics, as well as session and process management for end points seeking IP video.

So, it’s an exciting time to be transitioning, and I remain fully and enthusiastically committed to those budding realities.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about my colleague Scott Puopolo, who will present at the CDN World Summit in London. In his keynote, Scott will give a detailed look at a first-ever pilot of an open CDN federation trial that British Telecom, KDDI, Orange, SFR and Telecom Italia participated; we anticipate more service providers to join the effort within the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile, and along the same lines, our own François Le Faucheur took the initiative to volunteer his time and efforts as co-chair of a new IETF working group, the CDN Interconnect (CDNI), to flesh out the critical technology components and direction for federated CDNs. (Well done, Francois!). You can find a recent post by Francois on his IETF standards work here.

Federated CDNs optimized for video are important because of the explosion in IP devices capable of displaying video, and the corresponding tsunami of video traffic flowing into those devices. Service provider CDNs fulfill a unique role in enabling a high QoE for rich media services on a global footprint , but they’ll not go far enough if they’re not interconnected.

This is all about creating a market, and it’s happening. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the critical enabler in all of this -- our Cisco CDS, as part of the Videoscape portfolio, which is comprised of both a business and technology architecture for IP video to flourish. In other words, it’s not just a product play.

This is why you won’t want to miss that keynote. It’s an exciting (understatement) and important milestone in the migration to all-IP, in general, and IP video, in specific. For me, it’s a validation of the work we’ve done for so long to advance the B2B2C promise of Videoscape. Happy trails!

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