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Cisco punts buzzword bingo 'OS'

Tivo meets Nascar

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Cisco says it is cooking up something called an "entertainment operating system" from second-hand bits of social networks, TV set-top box software, and a big blast of hot air.

Operating system seems a rather grand description for the wheeze, which Cisco's top "media solutions" wonk Dan Scheinman began trailing at the firm's analyst boondoggle in San Jose this week.

According to IDG, Cisco's hoping to punt software as a service to media companies who want to slap some social networking on their TV over broadband efforts. Scheinman said they'll pay for it by sharing ad revenue. Or something. "Sometime next year".

The social networking tech for the project comes from Cisco's February swallows of Tribe and Five Across.

Why media owners would need to pay Cisco for features that are widely available for free from myriad web 2.0 desperados isn't immediately clear. Nascar and the NHL are apparently working on implementing it already, however, so there's clearly demand for this sort of thing in the Bud-chugging white guy demographic.

As this company blog post from October fails to make clear, this is basically about its set-top box business, and adding more interactive features to IPTV.

But here's Cisco's own take on the paradigm shift: "This new reality has created the We/Me movement. People still want to have the social experience around entertainment (the "We"). They want to want to hang around the virtual water cooler watching videos with friends, discussing their favorites, and increasingly adding their own creations to content through comments, mashups, derivative works, etc.

"But the proliferation of choice has also led to people demanding a more personalised entertainment experience (the "Me") to help them deal with the volume of content. The entertainment industry is struggling to deliver the We/Me experience, and still get paid for the valuable content they create."

Mmmkay? So, think a hosted Tivo that knows your viewing preferences, crossed with Facebook in your living room. And plenty of advertising. Always with the advertising. ®

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