Cisco acquires Inlet for Adaptive Bitrate delivery to N screens

Cisco announced today that it would acquire encoder / transcoder specialist Inlet technologies. In its press release it highlighted Inlet’s Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) technologies,required for delivering content to connected internet TVs, set-top boxes, internet adapter boxes, PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

Cisco’s acquisitions highlight the fact that delivering video to every device – once the focus of internet and “new media” companies such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu and the like, is now more important to the traditional cable MSOs and telcos delivering IPTV services. By bringing Inlet’s technology together with Cisco’s own relatively complete line of offerings to service providers, they are in a better position to rapidly help operators bring on line the next generation of live TV, catch-up TV and VOD through new TV Everywhere or N-screen platforms.
Cisco will pay around $95 million for a company that had about $20 million in VC investment, providing a good return to its shareholders that include Capitol Broadcasting, Core Capital, Technology Venture Partners and the Technology Development Fund.
As we described in our Worldwide Pay TV Encoder and Transcoder Markets report:

Inlet is a venture-funded company founded in 2003 in Raleigh, North Carolina that has raised over $20 million. It currently has about 60 employees with strong video and IP networking expertise. Inlet is one of the leaders in live and real-time encoding and transcoding to N-screens with its Spinnaker product line. It started delivering content to the web (PC), but has quickly added capabilities to deliver content to mobile devices and tablets. Inlet also has a higher performance Fathom line for either live or file based workflows that offers higher levels of performance and customization. Inlet also has a VoD platform, named Armada.
Inlet was one of the first companies to demonstrate adaptive bitrate solutions with Adobe, Apple and Microsoft. They typically take in high bitrate, high resolution master images and deliver multiple resolution and multiple bitrate outputs in many wrappers. Inlet has IPTV deployments with cable TV operators, partnerships with content delivery networks and supports Xbox Live’s ingest. In addition, Inlet has many sporting engagements including powering the NFL’s Sunday night web application, which allows the user to select camera angles, watch replays of key plays, and view other interactive content along with video.