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.