Cisco To Strengthen Videoscape TV Play With Inlet Acquisition

Cisco Friday announced an agreement to acquire Inlet Technologies, a privately held digital video firm, for $95 million in an effort to boost the networking giant's Videoscape TV platform.

Inlet specializes in adaptive bit rate (ABR) digital media processing and video encoding. The company was founded in 2003 and is currently headquartered in Raleigh, N.C.

Under the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $95 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for Inlet. The acquisition is expected to be complete in the first half of 2011. Inlet employees will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group.

The acquisition is the latest move to help Cisco expand beyond its traditional networking hardware business and into emerging areas such video conferencing and smart TVs. Cisco's Videoscape TV platform, for example, is designed to combine digital TV, online video content and Web communications for Smart TVs. Cisco plans to use Inlet's ABR software tools to enhance the streaming video experience on the platform.

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"Service and content providers have a tremendous opportunity to deliver exciting video experiences as media consumption increases across mobile, desktop, and smart devices," said Enrique Rodriguez, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group, in a statement. "Cisco's Videoscape platform will play a key role in reinventing the TV experience, and the acquisition of Inlet will enable our customers to leverage the network as a platform to deliver innovative video experiences to consumers on any device."