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CES: Cisco Licenses ActiveVideo's CloudTV Platform For Videoscape

Cisco Systems is offering ActiveVideo Networks' CloudTV network-based interactive TV software as part of its new lineup of offerings in the Videoscape suite, to let service providers deliver new features and apps to legacy set-top boxes.

New components of Cisco's Videoscape portfolio include Voyager Vantage, software that connects set-tops to the cloud for deploying user interfaces and interactive program guides as well as extend VOD services and integrate new Internet-centric applications. In tandem with that is Voyager Virtual, a cloud-rendered user interface that delivers IP video to legacy MPEG-2 set-top boxes and helps enable new apps.

Cisco chose to license the ActiveVideo software instead of developing that capability itself because Cisco is focused on delivering next-generation user experiences to new IP-based devices, said Chuck Stucki, vice president and general manager of IP video systems in Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group.

"We didn't want to spend on delivering to where the installed base has been," Stucki said. "We've been focusing on the next two generations of user experiences."

ActiveVideo president and CEO Jeff Miller said in a statement, "ActiveVideo's CloudTV solution cuts through the device chaos created by diverse set-top box models, and helps Videoscape become widely and quickly deployed. We are delighted to have the world's largest networking infrastructure provider expanding ActiveVideo's value proposition globally and helping our customers deliver uniform viewing experience to their subscribers."

Stucki, an 11-year Cisco veteran, moved into the role last fall, when the company also named Jesper Andersen as senior vice president and general manager of SPVTG. Most recently, Stucki was general manager of Cisco's Telepresence Systems unit.

Stucki oversees Videoscape's software elements, Cisco's content delivery network (CDN) products, adaptive-bit-rate encoding and other video encoding products, VOD systems and IP video soft-clients.

At CES, ActiveVideo is showing off its new CloudTV H5 platform, which supports applications written in HTML5 format, along with a proof-of-concept demo that uses the iPhone 4S's Siri voice-recognition feature to let users search TV content using voice commands.

Separately, ActiveVideo has won a patent-infringement lawsuit against Verizon Communications, with a federal district court ordering the telco to pay the vendor a total of about $250 million. Verizon has appealed the damages award and the underlying finding of infringement.

Verizon has said it is working with Cisco, which is its key VOD systems supplier, to develop a non-infringing workaround. It's not clear what bearing Cisco's licensing of ActiveVideo's software has on the outcome of the lawsuit.