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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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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 (blog) 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.



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