Borne of the acquisition of NDS one year ago, Cisco announced its newest Videoscape Unity service at CES Monday, expanding on its 24-month old Videoscape offerings.
The world's leading networker is pushing out Unity to its cable-providing partners because, as the software's name suggests, it's looking to build an integrated and shared experience between users, their devices and the people users are connected with.
"Unity is first and foremost a transformational user experience for all content," Martin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group, said during the company's CES press conference.
To that end, the Cisco team has built an open software platform that delivers a multi-screen video experience, cloud DVR and social media experience wrapped into one.
DVR to the cloud
Unity makes social media part of the viewing process while delivering a multi-screen cloud digital video recorder so users can pick up where they left off on shows, catch up on episodes they missed and playback DVR-capture content on any device wherever they are.
"We recognize how television will change in the future," said Jesper Andersen, senior vice president and general manager of the service provider video technology group.
Whether you're watching a show on a phone, tablet or TV, Unity will let you pick up watching it on any one of the other devices.
Recommendations are also more intuitive and predictive, the Cisco crew said, going beyond simply suggesting what users might want to watch and basically offering up options that are tuned into their preferences.
Unity doesn't just work with paid TV content - free content like a video taped by a user on their tablet will also show up on a home screen thanks to the software.
De Beer explained users don't even need to set their DVRs to record a show - Unity knows all and will record your must-watch TV from any device
Cisco's also viewing television as a place of social interaction, one it hopes to develop as such into a fully integrated, immersive viewing and interpersonl experience.
Looking ahead, the company demoed a feature where the Unity interface could be projected onto a large wall-sized screen. Pulling up a basketball game as an example, Cisco showed a 360-experience - complete with what show was playing, what's on next, player stats and social media blasts from friends and followers.
Cisco customers - a.k.a cable providers like Fox, Cox Communications and Major League Baseball, representatives of which hopped onstage for a panel discussion following the presentation - are the entities who need to bring Videoscape Unity to offer to their customers.
With all its future possibilities, we hope cable providers embrace Unity.