Cisco Systems Inc. is looking to bolster its TV Everywhere ambitions with Friday's announced deal to acquire Inlet Technologies Inc. for $95 million in cash.
Cisco said Inlet's adaptive bit rate capabilities will beef up Videoscape, a cloud-based platform designed to help service providers pair their traditional video services with Web-fed video and applications and to help cable operators and telcos build up their TV Everywhere strategies.
Based in Raleigh, N.C., privately held Inlet counts the BBC, Wealth TV and NBCUniversal LLC as customers. The company, founded in 2003, has
raised at least $22 million, and it announced last month that it's doubling its R&D force after recording 2010 revenues that were twice the level of 2009.
Cisco expects to complete the deal in the first half of the year and to transfer Inlet employees to its Service Provider Video Technology Group, which is helmed by newcomer Senior VP Enrique Rodriguez. (See Former Microsoft Exec Joins Cisco's Video Group .)
Why this matters
Current thinking has it that if SPs want to do TV Everywhere and offer some semblance of quality over links they have no control over, they'll need adaptive bit rate technology. That would imply Cisco needs something like Inlet to make Videoscape succeed, especially as the company seeks out its first U.S. trial of the architecture.
Adaptive bit rate technology changes the quality of a stream on the fly as bandwidth conditions fluctuate. Without it, buffering and choppy video are more likely to happen.
Other major players are buying into the concept -- EchoStar Corp. LLC recently acquired Move Networks Inc., for example.
For more about Videoscape -- including Cisco's earlier TV Everywhere deal to acquire ExtendMedia -- and how adaptive bit rate technologies work, please check out:
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable