Cisco Launches Videoscape Home Entertainment System At CES

Cisco Systems, as part of its modest goal of "completely redefining the television experience," Wednesday unveiled Videoscape, a home entertainment platform for service providers, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Cisco's Videoscape is a combination of hardware and software that tackles the challenges associated with organizing the growing mass of digital television and user-created content. It consists of a home media gateway, set-top box and client software, along with cloud-based video content management and intelligence embedded in the network.

In a press conference Wednesday, Cisco CEO John Chambers (pictured above, right) said 75 percent to 80 percent of Videoscape is software, making it primarily an architectural play that extends from the core network all the way down to devices.

Chambers' latest mantra is that video will be just as lucrative as VoIP, and he said software architecture is the best approach to organizing different types of video and dealing with technological issues such as authenticating users, tagging and making video content searchable.

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"Now you can see the play that we're going to make. We think it’s very indicative of where the market wants to go," Chambers said in the press conference.

Videospace's software UI organizes video content into separate columns for broadcast channels, premium pay TV and Web video, and includes integration with social media to allow folks to talk about what they're watching.

Cisco has built Videoscape to work on any device, from the home big-screen television to notebooks and smartphones. Integration with Umi Telepresence, Cisco's recently unveiled high-definition home collaboration offering, is also part of the package.

Cisco's first Videoscape partner is the Australian service provider Telstra. Chambers didn't mention anything about U.S. partners, nor did he offer details on Videospace pricing and availability, but he did say service providers will be crucial to the product's success.

It appears that Cisco's intent is to give service providers a way to differentiate their video offerings and counteract the threat of "cable-cutting."

"Videoscape differentiates service provider video offerings from the competition and extends service opportunities for revenue generation," Cisco said in a Wednesday press release.