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How Black Arrow, Cisco and Innovid Are Partnering to Advance Advertising at CES 2014

BConrady: Conrad Clemson, VP of business development, Cisco Service Provider Video

Let’s start this blog with this simple observation: TV didn’t kill radio, but it did disrupt how advertising flows. Same for the impact of online media, on print.

And by our reckoning, it’s about to happen again — the diverted flow of advertising resources and revenues away from traditional, big broadcast TV, to online and over-the-top video.

Will TV advertising dominate over other forms of video consumption, for a really, really, really long time? Unquestionably. But increasingly, brands want a mixed media spend, because it gets them greater reach and greater engagement — and that’s what advertising is all about.

Our work to help service providers expand advertising beyond the primary TV screen, to the other screens we’re all watching, is a big part of what we’re demonstrating at this week’s CES, in Vegas. And we’re not going it alone — we’ve strengthened our work with Black Arrow, on ad decisioning, and with Innovid, on multi-screen.

Here’s what you’ll see: Read More »

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Cloud DVR: Reaching back in time for the shows you’ve missed

Some of us still remember, in the pre-DVR days, when missing an episode of your favorite show meant it was lost forever -- unless you chanced upon it in reruns. Even when technology allowed us to book content for recording, whether by VCR or DVR, you had to plan beforehand what you intended to record. The next generation of TV recording technology allowed us to “pause” live viewing and resume at our leisure, thanks to a review buffer that knew to record in the background whatever we happened to be watching. But what if you could spontaneously decide to go back in time – minutes, hours or even days – and view whatever content you missed?

Cloud DVR, one of the latest offerings from Cisco Videoscape Solutions, brings the latest time-shift technology home. An extension of Videoscape Video Everywhere, Cloud DVR leverages cloud technology to store content on a scale impossible for traditional DVRs to replicate. How much content can be stored? Enough for a viewer to browse the programming grid and view any program broadcast over the previous three days.

Enabling this technology is a Content Distribution Network which continually stores broadcast content with high availability and performance. And it’s not just for traditional TV viewing. Because Cloud DVR runs on the multi-device Video Everywhere platform, recently broadcast content can be made retroactively available on any device.

Several new Cloud DVR features take advantage of this technology. Restart TV allows you to view any event from the beginning, no matter when you tuned to it. Catchup TV, a souped-up version of Restart TV, makes available the previous three days of broadcasts. A complementary product, Reverse EPG allows you to search back in time for content previously broadcast. And you can now Pause Live TV even if you don’t have a DVR, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected viewing interruptions. . Because the content is derived from the same cloud-based source, you can pause viewing on one device and resume viewing from the exact same point on a different device.

Cloud-based storage offers several additional advantages:

  • Storing more content -- storage capacity is no longer limited to the disk size of your DVR.
  • Storing multiple shows broadcast simultaneously – no need to worry if your DVR is tied up with multiple recordings
  • Scheduling, managing and accessing stored content from multiple devices
  • No need for a hardware upgrade

Sound good? This solution is on its way. The biggest hurdle to implementation, however, may not be perfecting the technology, but rather the legal implications. One particularly thorny issue, particularly in US markets, is the legality of retrieving content that has already been broadcast. Under current US law, individual customers must request their own copies of a recording. As a result, VOD content can be viewed, but copy-protection arrangements severely curtail the amount of broadcast content that a viewer can legally retrieve and view. Resolution of the legal issues surrounding the viewing of recently broadcast content is shaping up as a major factor in how soon and to what extent we’ll see Cloud DVR introduced to our homes.

Link: An analyst discusses the future of Cloud DVR (posted on YouTube by Cisco):

For more information about the Cisco Cloud DVR, click here.

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Cleaner, Greener Set-top Boxes Under a Landmark Voluntary Agreement

chowjBy Joe Chow, VP & GM, Cisco Connected Devices BU

The Set-top box sits at the heart of our home entertainment centers, providing hours of enjoyment for the best of what’s on television. Over the past few years, it has become clear that we can do better when it comes to reducing set-top-box energy consumption.

That’s why Cisco has engaged in a robust dialogue with energy advocates, television providers, other equipment manufacturers and, ultimately the Department of Energy (DoE), to see if common ground could be reached on the energy efficiency of set-top boxes. Today, we are pleased to announce that a voluntary agreement has been forged.

This agreement preserves the highest quality consumer television experience, while making significant reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gases. This is a landmark agreement, which saves consumers money, protects the environment, and provides regulatory certainty for manufacturers and providers alike. That’s what I call a win-win-win.

Here’s what the agreement will do:

This agreement will save consumers at least $1 billion annually in energy costs, it will save 500 megawatts of energy every year (enough energy to power 4 million light bulbs all year round) and will prevent five million tons of CO2 emissions per year.

It commits PayTV providers to deploying energy efficient set-top boxes to at least 90% of all subscribers nationwide. Additionally, Cisco and other manufacturers are committed to design, build and provide set-top boxes and multifunctional gateways that meet stringent energy efficiency requirements, while maintaining the ability to provide the anytime, anywhere, any device video experience consumers have come to expect.

Cisco is proud of this agreement, and we look forward to providing our customers with cleaner and greener set-top boxes, so we can all return to our regularly scheduled programing.

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Videoscape Helps Customers in India, Mexico, Brazil and Germany Deliver New Connected Video Experiences

In Sao Paulo, GVT TV needed a way to protect its satellite-delivered video content.

In New Delhi, direct broadcast satellite provider Tata Sky needed a way to outfit its customers to stream video to IP-connected screens.

In Mexico, Megacable — the first in the country to launch broadband Internet over cable, needed to build the back-end video acquisition and distribution for an IP-based on-demand service to tablets and connected devices.

And in Germany, Deutsche Telekom needed a better view into its CDN (content delivery network), and a way to bridge into its “Entertain To Go” package of TV Everywhere content.

In all four cases, core components of Cisco’s Videoscape portfolio rose to the challenge: GTV TV selected our Videoscape VideoGuard® Smart Cards. GVT’s service footprint spans 146 cities in Brazil, and expanding.

Tata Sky deployed our Videoscape Video Everywhere technology — a Read More »

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Cisco@SCTE Expo 2013: Seven Papers and a Breakfast

It wouldn’t be an SCTE Cable-Tec Expo without a stellar lineup of technical papers and workshops – even better because each one happens twice, to alleviate trade show schedules.

This year’s program features seven papers and presentations by my engineering colleagues, and a breakfast. Food first: Please join us at 6:30A on Tuesday for a Light Reading breakfast session titled “Monetizing Wi-Fi,” featuring Jared Headley, Senior Director of SP Mobility for Cisco. Here’s a link for more info.

In papers and presentations, here’s what Cisco’s technologists are contributing to the 2013 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo:

  • A deep-dive on DOCSIS 3.1 and “downstream convergence layers,” researched and written by John Chapman, SCTE Cable ‘Hall of Famer’, Cisco Fellow and CTO of its Cable Access Business Unit. It’s part of the Pre-conference DOCSIS 3.1 Symposium, which runs all day (10A-4:15P) on Monday, October 21. (In room 309, if you’re going.) John’s a DOCSIS pioneer, and always worth seeing, especially if you harbor any curiosity about how MAC-layer data will get onto the PHY layer – and lots of other 3.1 detail.
  • The amount of video distributed over IP is growing fast. John Horrobin focuses on this phenomenon in a session, titled “Implementing End-to-End IP Video Solutions,” drawing from lessons learned in field deployments to compare multicast to unicast and switched techniques. His paper and presentation, titled “Pioneering IP Video in Cable Networks,” also explores current events in the combining network, and how it will evolve in step with CCAP deployments.  Gateways with 16 and 24 tuners, that can deliver signals to connected devices over Ethernet, MoCA and Wi-Fi, are also detailed.  John’s on at 1:15-2:30 on Monday, 10/21, and again on Thursday from 2:30-3:45.
  • The decades-old old engineering challenge – how much to store, vs. how much to stream – is Read More »

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