Cisco to expand networking role in video content world

Cisco CEO to announce technology for convergence of 'pay TV, online and on-demand content'

Google and Apple, among others, are creating technologies to bring online and on-demand video content to TVs and other devices for mass consumption, so it should come as no surprise that Cisco Systems, the king of networking, is entering the game.

On Wednesday, Cisco CEO John Chambers is set to unveil new technology at the Consumer Electronics Show that promises to bring "all of your content ... all of your devices ... all together now, " according to Cisco promotional materials.

The details aren't clear, but a Cisco spokeswoman said, "At the event, we will make an announcement regarding Cisco's role in helping service providers and content providers meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the convergence of pay TV, online and on-demand content."

A two-minute video on YouTube hints further that even legacy, non-digital televisions, as well as more modern ones, "will have access to a nearly infinite library of content anytime you want it ... And it's all thanks to Cisco."

Another Cisco spokeswoman said separately that Verizon and Cisco were set to announce at CES an Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2) but didn't offer more details. Conceivably, Verizon or other carriers could use the Cisco router for moving video content to a variety of devices, analysts speculated, though they had not been briefed in advance.

Cisco has long been beefing up its business around networking of video content, noting the explosion of growth in video content produced by professionals and amateurs. In the consumer realm, it purchased the maker of the Flip digital camera and last year announced Umi for home videoconferencing.

Cisco also sells videoconferencing products for businesses, offering high-definition telepresence products that include video switching and TV monitors, as well as software to manage the connections.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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