Well, that’s something of a trick question. Cisco owns Scientific Atlanta, so they’re really already in the DVR market. But are they getting into the consumer market? Possibly. Over the past few years, Cisco has made a number of acquisitions – Scientific Atlanta, KiSS Technology, and Linksys – bringing them into the consumer market. SA, of course, is one of the two major cable STB vendors for US cable MSOs, along with Motorola. KiSS has a presence mainly in Europe, and they make networkable DVD players. Linksys is best known for their networking gear, but they also make media extenders, etc. Business Week has an article on Cisco’s consumer play.
The rumor is that Cisco is preparing a consumer product that will combine the TV & DVR capabilities from SA, with networking and media extender technology from Linksys, and UI and DVD systems from KiSS. If it is true, their biggest challenge won’t be the hardware – that’s really the easy part. It will be developing the software to make the experience easy and enjoyable for consumers. Just throwing features into a box isn’t hard, but developing a well polished UI and a stable platform is no mean feat.