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Cisco Expands Consumer Ambitions With DVD Player, Security Camera

Still think Cisco Systems is just a router and switch company that sells to business customers? Think again, because Cisco wants to play a bigger role in your living room. The company's Linksys arm this week is announcing a series of new products like security cameras and networked DVD players at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The company's KiSS DP-600 networked DVD player is a far cry from the enterprise networking hardware that Cisco is famous for. The box will wirelessly connect to the Internet and deliver 3,000 Web radio stations, online weather forecasts, stock updates, and online games into the living room, all in high definition. Initially launching in Europe, a Linksys spokeswoman says the 399 Euro (about $475) player could soon be available in the United States. The system was made possible through the acquisition of Denmark's KiSS Technology A/S last summer.

But Cisco wants more than just a place near the television. It wants to be on your stereo, too. The $99 Wireless-G Music Bridge will let people wirelessly stream music from their computers to their stereo systems. The box places an icon on computer desktops to start streaming in one click and works with any online music service and, for that matter, any other sound that a computer can play.

The company plans to introduce the Compact Wireless-G Internet Video Camera, which Linksys is billing as a security device to monitor the home or small business. The camera, which starts at $99, comes fitted with motion sensors. Since it's connected to the user's computer, it can automatically send E-mail alerts when the sensor goes off. A video attachment will show users exactly who is snooping around the camera.

Finally, Cisco is riding the dual waves of networked storage and VoIP. A new wireless router with USB capability will let users easily share documents or family photos by plugging in a USB key or USB-connected external storage device. And a series of small-business VoIP announcements include a line of five new phones as well as a gateway that redirects calls over the traditional phone network if Internet service is down. A Linksys spokeswoman says the VoIP announcements may help spur a future launch of retail VoIP products.