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Cisco's New Entertainment Play: Videoscape

Wednesday, 5 Jan 2011 | 6:17 PM ET

Cisco sees a multi-billion dollar new market in making it easier for consumers to access all sorts of content through their cable or satellite TV provider.

AP

The tech giant today introduced a new business called "Cisco Videoscape," which seamlessly combines traditional TV service, streaming web video, and access to social networks like Facebook. Cisco won't market this directly to consumers, but to cable, satellite TV companies and telcos like Verizon .

How big is the potential market for technology that combines the web and TV? Cisco's senior vice president of service provider business Kelly Ahuja says it's certainly worth many billions of dollars. It seems that Videoscape competes with the likes of AppleTV and Google TV and even the Roku or Boxee box. But Ahuja says this is bigger than that—no one is really combing everything in a simple, clean interface. And none of the TV providers have mastered this challenge just yet.

The big question—is this technology what it takes to keep satellite and cable TV consumers from cutting the cord? Access to a range of different video content from your TV, plus the ability to bring all that content with you on the go, should make that monthly subscriptions more valuable. One advantage—cable and satellite TV companies won't necessarily have to ship out new set-top boxes to roll out this technology. Will they charge more for it? That remains to be seen.

Cisco's first Videoscape deal is with Australia's dominant TV service provider—Telstra. The company says it's also running tests right now with US and other international companies, though it's not naming names.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.