Cisco Systems' recent acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta will turn up the temperature in an increasingly heated battle for dominance of the next generation of digital homes, industry experts predicted today.
According to Gartner, Cisco's move to buy the supplier of set-top boxes and systems for distributing TV and video over networks will have profound affects on the firm's future digital-home technology strategies. It is also expected to help create a direct competitor for Motorola in multi-room networked entertainment systems.
Research vice president at Gartner, Van L. Baker, pointed out that providers of television and video services in the United States will soon be focusing on the delivery of high-definition television services via multiroom personal video recorder (PVR) platforms. He believes that Motorola currently has the "leading vision" for such next-generation services, but is likely to come under increasing pressure from Cisco.
Motorola's platform contains a next-generation PVR connected via a fast IP network on coaxial cable. This setup is designed to deliver three simultaneous high-definition TV streams to connected televisions. The platform allows consumers to enjoy their personal digital content (photos, music and videos) on their televisions and sound systems, explained Baker.
He predicts that Cisco will refocus the multiroom content delivery technology of Scientific-Atlanta to an IP-centric view: "It will alter the platform to one delivering content via an IP network. This will incorporate consumer content on PCs and other devices. This change will position Cisco's Scientific-Atlanta unit as a direct competitor against Motorola," said Baker.
"Both Motorola and the Scientific-Atlanta unit will offer multiroom PVR platforms that will emerge as hubs for services delivered by television service providers such as Comcast. Their offerings will rapidly evolve into home media hubs."
According to Gartner, next-generation digital homes will be underpinned by domestic networks that must be able to accommodate both copyrighted and consumer content.
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