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Things heat up even more between Apple and Cisco

According to reports, Cisco is busy working on a device that will compete directly with the Apple TV, previously known as the iTV. The device, currently without a name, was demonstrated behind closed curtains at a suite in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Cisco did not demo or talk about the device on the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show during the week.

The device is able to serve and sync to content much in the same manner as Apple TV. Pictures, movies, music and other information were shown to be either streaming to the Cisco device or already stored on the device. Cisco representatives did mention that its set-top box will be able to pull content from Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones. No details were actually revealed about the device's technical specifications such as on board local storage capabilities. It was evident though that the device would be released as a Linksys branded product when it ships.

Apple and Cisco are at odds with each other this week already on the trademark name "iPhone," which is owned by Cisco. However, Apple used the name the for its new product launch anyway. Both companies have now entered a legal dispute which could be long and drawn out. However, according to a reputable trademark attorney, a judge may end up ruling that the term "iPhone" is too generic and may be used by any company.

Karen Sohl, director of worldwide communications for Cisco's Linksys division, hinted that when the device ships later this year, it will be able to play more than just movies off a computer or a laptop wirelessly. It may be able to play DVDs as well. It would not be too surprising if Cisco adds Blu-ray or HD-DVD playback capabilities.

One area where the Apple TV is lacking is in resolution support, which is currently limited to 720p. It will be interesting to see if Cisco's upcoming set-top box can bring forward 1080p resolutions. When released, the device will be part of Cisco's Connected Home initiative.

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cisco rules networking ...
By cgrecu77 on 1/12/2007 12:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
... so it's a no brainer ... if they combine cisco quality with linksys pricing this would be one killer device. I'm surprised how so many people are looking for some kind of device to connect their computer with their home theatre without the use of long cables or without having to keep the computer next to the tv and there are so few choices (in any) on the market. Any device you can buy has some shortcomings, either can't play divx, or has limited resolution and so on.

I am 100% sure that if any company comes up with a do-it-all product that can stream any digital content at any resolution and with enough input/output options - it wil sell like crazy.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By jtyson on 1/12/2007 12:47:34 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. Call me a hater, but when I read the words "720p resolution" for the Apple TV, I stopped reading (seriously Steve Jobs. I mean, c'mon. Seriously). If Cisco can release a device with 1080p, the rest will just fall in, because, as the previous post states, Cisco simply rules networking, plain and simple. I know I would buy it. I'm rooting for Cisco on this one.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By rklaver on 1/12/2007 1:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
I thought I heard somewhere that 802.11 networds didn't have the bandwidth for 1080p or even 1080i, or does draft "N" solve that problem?

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By rklaver on 1/12/2007 1:04:13 PM , Rating: 2

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By typo101 on 1/14/2007 9:08:07 AM , Rating: 1
I think 802.11n has enough bandwidth, but were getting ahead of ourselves there... are they EVER going to agree on a spec? I for one am not interested in buying any draft products

But whats wrong with good old fashioned ethernet? I don't feel like doing any math. Would a 100Mbit connection do it, or is it almost time to get to 1Gbit... which would mean replacing all that cat5e with cat6

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By OrSin on 1/12/2007 1:03:12 PM , Rating: 3
Since when did 720p suck. Most shows are 720p and few 1080i. You can ahve 1080p tv all you want but the single matters not the TV. 99% of the TV that do 1080p suck becuase thye are 42 inch and under. IF you dont have a 50-70 inch set its impossible to tell the diffenence if you 10 ft or future back. And who the hell is sitting right on top of thier big screens. And for the record i own 3 big screens a 42, 61, 65. The 42 barely even counts as big screen.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By rklaver on 1/12/2007 1:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, my 42" DLP is 720p and It looks great. 720p is still much better than SD. Besides unless you get your HD over the air, your 1080 signal is heavily compressed anyways.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By itlnstln on 1/12/2007 1:40:05 PM , Rating: 3
You're absolutely right concerning resolution vs. screen size vs. viewing distance; however, as more and more mfg'ers move to 1080p anyway (despite any necessity to do so), there could be scaling artifacts receiving a 720p signal. This could be detremental at any screen size/viewing distance. Of course, the quality of scaler used in the TV would reduce/exacerbate any picture quality issues. All-in-all, it's better not to scale if you don't have to.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By jtyson on 1/12/2007 3:03:46 PM , Rating: 3
Nobody is saying 720p sucks. I'm certainly not implying that 720p is an outdated or inferior quality. My disappointment lies in the fact that 720p is quickly becoming very "current", while 1080p represents the future of viewing that, as you stated, is not even fully realized yet. Basically, I expected 1080p from Apple, and I didn't get it. So long as there are devices that can ouput 1080p, and TVs that can display 1080p, that number should remain the target of any company looking to deliver a device that claims to be "the future". You don't agree?

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By FITCamaro on 1/12/2007 3:38:46 PM , Rating: 3
The Wii seems to be doing quite well despite this fact...

Most people can't see the difference between 720p and 1080p. Personally I'd rather leave the bandwidth on the lines available for more download speed through my internet connection than an unnoticeable difference in quality on my TV.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By Andypro on 1/12/2007 3:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
With modern video compression schemes, 1080p is not going to "look" 360 scan-lines better than 720p. That's just not the way it works. Increasing the bitrate on a 720p video stream will be more visually noticeable than simply broadcasting the same stream in 1080p with a similar bitrate. 720p is going to be around for a long, long time.

In fact, it has been demonstrated that on average, 720p has a higher effective resolution than 1080i, the main reason being that interlacing a picture devastates the quality (interlacing is a terrible idea from the analog era whose time to die is long past due).

So yea. If you have a device capable of receiving 720p then it will be extremely good quality for many years to come. And when bandwidth becomes more plentiful, broadcasters can up the bitrate so your picture looks even better.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By GoatMonkey on 1/12/2007 3:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
Of course interlaced sucks. The original poster was talking about 1080p.

Bandwidth and bitrate is just going to have to increase in the future to transmit 1080p through cable lines. 720p may be very good, and possibly even the best at the moment for watching HDTV over cable, but moving forward it will eventually be pushed back to being some old thing to be backward compatible with.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By masher2 on 1/12/2007 4:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "In fact, it has been demonstrated that on average, 720p has a higher effective resolution than 1080i, the main reason being that interlacing a picture devastates the quality ..."

While I agree with the rest of your post, I have to point out this part isn't quite true. 720p looks better on highly dynamic material (action movies, sports, etc) whereas 1080i tends to do better on low-dynamic material (documentaries, travelogues, facial closeups, etc).

That's true for broadcast material. For other video, the situation is even more complex, as an interlaced source, properly encoded then decoded, can be deinterlaced with zero loss of image quality. In these cases 1080i = 1080p.

To further cloud the issue, you have to consider the native resolution of the display device. 1080 material has a slight advantage on native-1080 devices, as does 720p on 720-line displays. So if you have a 720-line set, its theoretically possible for a 720p signal to appear better than 1080...interlaced OR progressive.

RE: cisco rules networking ...
By OrSin on 1/12/2007 1:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
This is not completely true. AVS release a product that did it all but DRM media and it was wireless and it didnt sell at all. Now that its out of production I ended up getting it for only $50 and it works great. This was made over 2 years ago. SOme time teh market is just not ready for you stuff or people just don't know you exist. The newest toy i like is the philips dvd player with a usb port. So far it plays any moives i have on my portable drive. Its very nice and thats means i dont need to burn dvds. I got one for my parent too and now i can just 50 movies over thier at time. Thats save me from having to visit them ever week:)

Go Cisco Go
By d00bz on 1/12/2007 12:12:23 PM , Rating: 1
I would buy cisco products over Apple any day. Pretty much everything Apple makes is garbage anyway. Laptop catching on fire, ipod with a battery life of only one year...Only one thing to say.. GO CISCO GO

RE: Go Cisco Go
By rklaver on 1/12/2007 1:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
But with Cisco you'll probably need some kind of certification to operate it. :-)

RE: Go Cisco Go
By Runiteshark on 1/12/2007 6:41:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you don't have to know jack - if you get a service contract you can call them at any time you please and help you with everything.

Also I'm working on my CCNP.

RE: Go Cisco Go
By feelingshorter on 1/12/2007 8:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, your talking industrial stuff here when your talking Cisco. This product will release under Linksys brand, so its consumer products, not professional. But if they release an open firmware product like their Linksys routers, then I'd buy it in a heart beat. Those of us using WRT54G/S routers know what I mean.

RE: Go Cisco Go
By Bluestealth on 1/12/2007 10:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
Their Industrial solution would probably be released under their Scientific Atlanta brand. By that purchase they became the leader in IPTV, what chance does apple really have?

RE: Go Cisco Go
By Hare on 1/14/2007 4:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Open firmware ? Just because you CAN upload a third party firmware to the device doesn't make it open.

Btw. I have DD-WRT running on my Buffalo router :)

RE: Go Cisco Go
By mudgoo on 1/13/2007 3:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
yup, I love cisco's music player and laptop. They last long and won't catch on fire. Wait...they haven't make any of these yet. Better stick with what you do best...

RE: Go Cisco Go
By fxnick on 1/15/2007 10:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
It was alot more laptops than apple's that were catching ablaze, that ipod battery shit is BS!, my ipod is 2 years old with the original battery and run fine

Itv? I dont think so...get more original Cisco
By Hotdogah on 1/12/2007 1:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
I believe to be more successful is to not get a whole line of trademarked “I” products like their phones, but perhaps think outside the box and use a previously unthought-of of name like “Apple TV”. I really think it could be revolutionary for Cisco.

RE: Itv? I dont think so...get more original Cisco
By Xavian on 1/12/2007 3:41:58 PM , Rating: 3
Cisco is the biggest networking company in the world, if there's any company who can do it, its them.

It seems to me, that Apple has now created yet another enemy in yet another industry (quite a large one at that).

Will Apple succeed or will they go under? thats the question.

By Xavian on 1/12/2007 3:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
i mean to say Will apple succeed in all these industries they are getting into, or will they go under?

XBOX 360 can do it now, all the way to 1080p
By bigpow on 1/12/2007 1:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
XBOX 360 can do it now, all the way to 1080p

By phir3 on 1/12/2007 3:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
True. Its called IPTV and will be ready at the end of the year.Personally, I can't wait! Its gonna be awesome having access to Live while watching TV. No more set-top box! With the HDDVD component and the Vision cam, the 360 makes for an awesome home entertainment system!

I don't get it...
By Mousie on 1/13/2007 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
Once you trademark a name some 10 years in advance and pay all the fees associated with that, then release a product that uses that very name, that's pretty much it. I mean, by then you should be pretty much safe, right? It's your name, your trademarked name! Right?! Well that's what Cirsco Systems though, but actually, no. Apple have a special deal with the united states supreme court and the EU commission. No wait, sorry I'm just trying to understand how Steve Jobs' brain works. Someone help me, please?

RE: I don't get it...
By masher2 on 1/14/2007 7:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
> "Someone help me, please? "

This has all been explained in painstaking detail on the iPhone trademark thread. I am far from being a supporter of Apple, but they have a very strong case here.

Unless Cisco is holding some cards as of yet unseen, I feel they're going to lose the trademark.

CISCO in consumer space?
By ChipDude on 1/14/2007 7:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
LINKSYS was a smart buy for CISCO. Turnkey with established business and retail prescence.

Thinking they can take on Apple in the retail / consumer space is a bit laughable.

Unlike TIVO or some upstart that is coming with a clean business plan, CISCO will for sure come at it with their network prospective and think they can overwhelm it. This is like INTEL in the communication/consumer space. They'll be rudely suprrised. Unlike Microsoft CISCO doesn't have billions in the bank and a CEO that with a reputation and record of plugging away till they get a winner.

No surprise why CISCO is suing Apple. They may win the lawsuite and come away with a few hundred million. But I'll tell you all that iTV is a broken business model.

That will be for another post.. Unlike the iPOD music revoluation that broke newground, iTV is simply a gadget that people don't want, need for its complexity. It fills no big need...

RE: CISCO in consumer space?
By ironchef on 1/15/2007 6:45:55 PM , Rating: 2
My only question is what media content it can play, it seems Apple does not display the dvix standard which it very popular for TV series downloads etc, so if cisco can better the number of formats it can display then it will be a product in more demand

By Steele on 1/12/2007 2:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder what they're going to call it... Maybe the "Apple iTV" would be a good name...


By electriple9 on 1/12/2007 7:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
...add divx,xvid,x264 support, and ill buy.

By Secret Asian Man on 1/13/2007 3:24:01 AM , Rating: 2
The Apple TV is designed to output contents iTunes store that you stored on your computer. There are NO video files except for some short podcasts that are delivered in any HD resolution. So, the Apple TV's ability to output to 720p is pointless and makes the argument that its inability to output to 1080p even more pointless.

But let's say you have your own video content on your computer you wish to stream. Even then,. the odds of those content being greater than 1080p is slim. Ripped DVDs aren't in HD unless you're stupid. You currently can't rip HD-DVDs or BDs. Consume HD camcorders that record to 1080p are rare, if they exist at all at the moment.

Bottomline, the need for a media streamer like the Apple TV or Cisco's to output to 1080p is useless and a waste of money.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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