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Verismo Gets Cable's Vote

Jeff Baumgartner
2/9/2009
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6:40 PM -- Here's more evidence that cable operators are starting to embrace Web video: A software platform from Verismo Networks Inc. that enables consumers to view Web-sourced video and display it on the big screen (without having to connect to a separate, broadband-connected PC) just came away with honors as the innovation considered the "most likely to succeed for cable."

Cable engineers and other execs made that determination Monday at an Innovation Showcase held in concert with the CableLabs Technology Forum, happening this week at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.

Verismo, which beat out nine other candidates, demonstrated VuNow, a small software client that, as envisioned, could be incorporated into digital cable boxes and enable them to grab content from the likes of YouTube Inc. and Hulu LLC and render it on TV screens.

Although Verismo also markets a small, standalone device that can do this, the privately held Mountain View, Calif.-based startup is pursuing a strategy under which cable operators would license its client-server platform and offer customers a complementary video service. Verismo's platform cooks in its own user interface and content metadata, as well as content protection.

Verismo's box is already "in high volume production," but the company is interested in developing partnerships with the cable industry and its set-top suppliers, said company EVP of sales and marketing Dhaval Aimera during a conference call with reporters and analysts.

Verismo has "a very compelling software platform" that ties together long-tail Web content with cable's traditional video environment, said Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) chief technology officer Tony Werner, noting that the vendor "got the nod because of the uniqueness and eloquence of the solution."

Charter Communications Inc. CTO Marwan Fawaz said integrating the vendor's technology into set-tops was "feasible," particularly as MSOs look to seamlessly tie in other forms of content.

Monday's Innovation Showcase marked the fifth in the last three years. Silicon Image Inc. won top honors at the last one when it showed off a "micro-client" chip architecture under development that enables MSOs to distribute and render video apps (including interactive program guides) to multiple TVs hanging off a home network. (See Improving Its Cable 'Image' .) Before that, Ruckus Wireless Inc. got the vote for its wireless video platform. (See Ruckus Rules.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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