Commentary: Cisco, TI "Go Video"
For its video error repair, it's uncertain if Cisco will resort to packet flooding the way that videoconferencing companies did in the early days of H.323 to guarantee temporal delivery of packets for very time-sensitive data. Nor is there any indication that Cisco might be stealing a page from satellite IP's playbook by putting forward error correction algorithms in place. Regardless of how Cisco implements it, the fact that they're tackling the problem shows both that an industry giant knows one of the Achilles heel's of the IPTV market and that the same industry giant is validating IP entertainment delivery in a way that draws significant attention.
Cisco has made great strides into video since its acquisition of Scientific Atlanta, a company that's moving from its roots in satellite set top boxes to become a leader in the IP set top box marketplace. And the move to make Scientific Atlanta the showcase end user product in Cisco's lineup will create some interesting dynamics with another technology giant who has chosen to move into the video space: Texas Instruments.
Much has been written about TI's DaVinci technology and its move from a supplier of DSPs that development partners had to slog through learning to a provider of analysis tools and-in more recent days-bundled deals with codecs and even integrated/embedded Linux deals that assist developers in cranking out video-related products.
Later this week (at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 7; you can register here), Texas Instruments will be hosting a web seminar with a variety of participants, providing perspective on what it sees as the Next Big Thing: transcoding. (Full disclosure: I'll be moderating the panel discussion as well as field questions from across the industry). TI's willingness to host this discussion seems to be a step in the right direction.
Which brings us back around to Cisco. Scientific Atlanta is one of TI's customers; now that it's a Cisco shop, though, and now that TI begins to beat the drum for transcoding content into any format the consumer wants at any point on the network (and even encouraging industry discussion on how to do this transcoding), it will be interesting to see how the two titans see the market forming up around what Cisco is dubbing Video 2.0 in a nod to the social networking Web 2.0 technologies that have made significant inroads over the last 12-18 months.
One thing's for certain: with the big boys back on track, understanding and touting the message that video startups have been championing for the past decade, video is here to stay. We're past the hype and back into meaningful dialogue about how to consistently address problems that have plagued the entire "Video 2.0" value and supply chain over the past few years. And all of you in smaller video startups should realize that it has been your tenacity and innovative approaches to solving these problems on a smaller scale that has attracted attention once again from the major companies in the industry.