Cisco Videoscape Platform Debuts at CES

For years, Cisco CEO John Chambers has been saying that users should be able to get any content, on any device, at any time. It’s a vision that Cisco is expanding this week with the announcement of its new Videoscape platform at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The Videoscape platform is an effort to build out a network video delivery platform using IP
that can work across multiple devices. The technology is based on assets that Cisco acquired last August, and uses Linux as its base operating system.

“We think that with Cisco together with our service provider partners, you can completely change the TV and video experience down to any device and make it much more simple,” Chamber said during a CES press conference.

Sitting behind much of Cisco’s Videoscape technology is intellectual property that Cisco gained as part of the acquisition of privately-held ExtendMedia last August. The operating system of the former ExtendMedia technology is open source Linux.

“The majority of Videoscape runs on Linux, including Videoscape Media Suite, and other pieces,” a Cisco spokesperson told “If you run Windows DRM, there are some Windows pieces in there too.”

At launch, Cisco has five products as part of Videoscape, including endpoint, cloud and networking components. At the client side, there are Videoscape media gateway and IP set-top box products which are engineered to handle multiple forms of content. Cisco is no stranger to the set-top box market, after buying into the market in 2005 with the $6.9 billion acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta.

Cisco is also building Videoscape software clients that will extend the same video capabilities to smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices. Cisco did not provide specific details during their press conference about which mobile platforms Videoscape will be available on.

From the service provider perspective, Cisco is offering the Videoscape Media Suite which is technology that enables service providers to manage and publish content. Finally, there is the Cisco Conductor for Videoscape, which is a service orchestration technology that helps handle subscriber management.

Chambers also sees the Videoscape platform as being further enabled by Cisco’s traditional routing, switching and security technologies.

“As you think about this, you might think the network is in the background making this happen with dumb pipes, but this is where service providers and Cisco are working together,” Chambers said. “It’s everything from the access points with the ASR 5000 and 9000’s and the capability to have a high-end router that can do a billion videos.”

The video optimized ASR 9000 router was first announced at the end of 2008 with the promise of over 6.4 Terabits per second of service capacity.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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