Cisco introduced its "Videoscape Unity" TV Platform featuring 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.
Videoscape Unity, which is designed for service providers and media companies, is an open software platform that was created by combining the assets of NDS (which Cisco acquired last year ) with its own Videoscape portfolio. The new platform comprises a set of cloud, network and client based components, connected by open interfaces. Some pre-integrated components include:
- Multiscreen Cloud DVR: Offers cloud-driven video recording with capture and storage in the cloud instead of the end device. Consumers can restart shows, catch up on past programs, and play back DVR-captured content from anywhere, on any screen.
- Video Everywhere: Broadens the TV Everywhere proposition with unified search, discovery, and viewing functions to allow consumers to watch premium live and on-demand content on any (service provider managed or unmanaged) connected device regardless of location.
- Connected Video to Any Device in the Home: Cisco's Connected Video Gateway serves as a single entertainment hub, with back-end management of IP and QAM video, for distributing video content and metadata to any IP-connected device in the home, while providing a unified user experience.
- IP Video over Cable: Gives consumers expanded choice of content and IP video services, with faster delivery of on-demand and interactive offerings, across a wider range of service provider managed devices - with the flexibility to add unmanaged devices.
Cisco said a key advantage of Videoscape Unity is that the cloud can now be used "to power personalized video services and enable multiple screens to be synchronized to create a single unified experience for the subscriber, so things look and feel the same no matter what device they use."
Significantly, Cisco is offering Videoscape "as a service," allowing operators to have Cisco build, monitor, operate and even host their video infrastructures.
- In March 2012, Cisco agreed to acquire NDS Group in a deal valued at approximately $5 billion. NDS, which was owned by News Corp.(49%) and Permira private equity (51%), developed video software and content security for media companies, cable & satellite TV operators and IPTV service providers. Key products included its MediaHighway Set-top Box middleware software, its "XTV" Digital Video Recorder software, its "Snowflake" electronic program guide (EPG), and its "VideoGuard CA" and "VideoGuard Connect" digital rights management system. NDS customers include some of the largest cable, satellite and broadband pay-TV operators, including Astro, Bharti, BSkyB, Canal Plus, China Central Television ("CCTV"), Cox, DIRECTV, Kabel Deutschland, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, TataSky, UPC and Vodafone. The company notes that a significant portion of its business is recurring, with long-term contracts, typically with an average duration of approximately five years. NDS, which is based in the U.K., has approximately 5,000 employees with facilities in Israel, France, India and China.
- In January 2011, Cisco's John Chambers outlined a new "Videoscape" portfolio of five major product families aimed at "transforming the TV experience." From the outset, the goal was to work with Service Providers to allow any device over any network to access any content to which they are entitled. Cisco Videoscape would enable service providers to monetize activities outside their own network or traditional device footprints. A key facet of Videoscape is about delivering a consistent interface across multiple devices, while providing a universal guide and search capabilities across all content sources. This requires building capabilities into the service provider's video back-office using APIs extending across content management systems and virtualized storage. The capabilities would be social network-aware and open to advertising opportunities.