At the National Show in Chicago this past June, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts made no secret of his interest in exploiting the Internet Protocol standard for use in Comcast’s cable networks. As a follow-up, Comcast’s venture arm, Comcast Interactive Capital, has become a strategic investor in SkyStream Networks, a seven-year-old Silicon Valley company whose latest routing platform product, Mediaplex, is being targeted to cable operators as a cost effective way to move data in an IP environment. SkyStream, which announced in May that it raised $25 million from several venture firms, has raised an additional $4 million from AOL Time Warner Ventures, Comcast Interactive Capital, Shaw Communications and Amerindo Investment Advisors. The cash will be used for product development and to bolster SkyStream’s market presence. The investment “is a tremendous validation for us as a company in that our target markets are really service providers,” says James Olson, SkyStream’s president and CEO. “The unifying theme among all of them is the move to an IP infrastructure.” Comcast and AOL Time Warner, which participated in a previous investment round, “want to help guide our product development,” Olson adds. “We are going to do what they want for the long haul.” SkyStream is in discussions with AOL Time Warner’s Interactive Video unit, which is developing MystroTV, a server-based DVR. As far as Comcast is concerned, the opportunities there are over “the longer term,” Olson says.

The Daily


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