By: Justin Gonzalez
At The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) yesterday Cisco unveiled what it thinks is the future of television. Cisco Videoscape “will reinvent the TV experience” by enabling users to take their regular programming on the go. It appears to be a pretty big trend at CES right now, as some mobile apps are coming out of the woodworks with a relatively similar offering. So what makes Videoscape so special?
First it delivers content from a vast range of sources: broadcast channels, on-demand, DVR and the Web. As more TV’s become connected (think Google TV, Apple TV, etc…) this won’t be much to differentiate Videoscape from the pack, but what I’m about to tell you will. Cisco’s Videoscape will enable users to take their streaming on the go; seamlessly switching devices mid-show with no interruptions. Considering it has DVR capabilities you can pause live TV or record it to watch later, but the small feat that you can watch your show from the privacy of your bathroom on your tablet device or smart phone without having to worry about being back before the commercials end is pretty cool. Maybe that example was a little dramatic, but for someone who relies on public transportation it’s exciting that I can finish my Jersey Shore marathon while bussing to work. Of course you have to consider service problems and the impact that will have on live video streaming from your phone, but let’s pretend we live in a perfect mobile world where AT&T has no service problems in San Francisco and be excited about the possibilities.
So you get to watch a ton of TV that can seamlessly transfer to several different devices. Cool. What else? Videoscape will offer more social and interactive features that integrate popular social networking websites (I’m not sure how effective a TV remote can serve as a keyboard for status updates, but who am I to judge?) and Cisco ūmi Telepresence video conferencing technology to allow you to show, share and engage with others through the TV. Obviously, you’ll need to subscribe to ūmi Telepresence in order for this feature to work, so keep in mind that’s another $24.99/month to Cisco, but maybe they’ll offer a bundle to sweeten the deal. Regardless, I imagine that the service will take on Clicker-like features to recommend shows based on your interests and ratings of other shows on your Facebook page.
It’s a giant leap forward for the way we watch television, and a pretty exciting glimpse into the future of the medium. In the end there is no launch date or set pricing quite yet, but I’m looking forward to its launch. I think people will be slow to adopting the product and it could go the way of 3D TV, but Cisco has been pushing their ūmi device pretty hard lately so we’ll see how well the two overlap. Overall I think it’s a great product designed with the user and service provider in mind, but don’t know if I will be one of its early adopters. But hey, if the kind folks at Cisco need a test subject you know where to find me!