New video platform speeds cable TV improvements

A startup backed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cisco has launched softare aimed at helping cable and satellite companies add search and social networking features to their services.

It could enable them to respond more quickly to the threat of web TV by adding new applications, and by bringing their services to more platforms.

BNI Video has developed a cloud-based video control plane that lets operators incorporate a range of of content from multiple sources, helping cable companies transition to all-IP networks without the complicated upgrade process generally required.

“BNI’s technology has the potential to change the game for video service providers,” said Louis Toth, senior managing director at Comcast Interactive Capital. “This platform gives providers additional capabilities and greater flexibility to enrich the consumer experience.”

As well as connecting content to subscribers, it enables transcoding and digital rights management and hooks up with billing systems. The company says it can ncorporate virtually any application – it cites search, recommendation and social interactivity – into service offerings. It also allows services to be brought to other platofrms such as mobile phones.

“BNI’s technology is simple, flexible and scalable, and we look forward to working with BNI to develop more advanced video services for our customers,” said Mike LaJoie, chief technology officer of Time Warner Cable.

Founded last year, BNI has raised more than $16 million from Comcast, Time warner and Cisco, and has also raised venture capital from Charles River Ventures and Castile Ventures. It was founded by Conrad Clemson, a former engineering executive at Motorola, and Raman Sud, ex-VP of engineering at Unidesk.