Cisco IP/TV Best Practices
A white paper by Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems faces a continual challenge of cost-effectively keeping its employees current on complex
new products and technologies. From 1995 - 2000, Cisco acquired more than 60 companies, grew revenues
to $22 billion per year, and expanded the workforce to about 37,500 employees. Dozens of different
business units released new products or new versions every six to nine months, and keeping pace with these
changes was difficult.
During these years of explosive growth, Cisco struggled with how to keep employees around the world
aligned with company objectives and informed of new products, fluctuating market conditions, and
industry updates. More specifically, to keep ahead of the competition and realize revenue from potential
sales more quickly, the company had to help some 7,000 salespeople and upwards of 50,000 channel
partners assimilate vast amounts of data to competitively position Cisco’s products and services in the
marketplace. Then as the economy slowed and budgets tightened in 2001, communicating effectively and
often with employees, distributors, and customers—while keeping expenses down—became a bigger
Limitations of instructor-led training
Instructor-led traininglimited by classroom size and locationsimply could not scale to meet the training
demands of the business quickly enough, and the cost associated with travel, accommodations, instructor
fees, and time spent away from work and customers was steep. Assuming the cost per salesperson, per
course, averaged $2,000, Cisco was spending millions of dollars on training that couldn’t possibly be
delivered in a timely manner in every region of the world. If regional classes were full or offered at times
that didn’t mesh well with their hectic schedules, many salespeople and partners probably received the
training late or not at all. Again, as the economy softened and travel restrictions grew, training expenses
were more closely scrutinized than usual, postponed or cut.
Pervasive acceptance of e-communications and e-learning
Cisco had already successfully implemented Web-based applications to transact 85 percent of its orders,
handle 82 percent of its customer inquiries online, and complete a virtual month-end financial close in one
day. Naturally, with a highly reliable and available network infrastructure already in place, the quest to
impart knowledge, provide hands-on training, and exchange information to meet business needs took the
proven, online path. Thus “e-communications” and “e-learning” became the next major applications
deployed within Cisco. As with all online applications used internally at Cisco, the company experimented,
refined and perfected various methods of delivering e-communications and e-learning content.
Three methods of delivering multimedia e-learning content
To ensure consistent quality and success, Cisco has developed best practices for three different methods of
delivering multimedia e-learning content: Cisco IP/TV broadcasts, virtual classrooms, and Video on
Demand (VoD) modules. Each method offers unique advantages and fills a specific need. Cisco has found
that IP/TV is best suited for broadcasting (via IP multicast) high-quality, live or prerecorded information to
a large audience of more than 200 people for efficient use of network bandwidth resources. The virtual
classroom solution works best for audiences of less than 200 people, requiring frequent live interaction,
demos, audience polling, or question/answer sessions. VoDs offer a low-cost means of providing individual
users information “on demand,” any time from any networked location, without the live interaction
provided by Cisco IP/TV or the virtual classroom. VoDs are frequently used in conjunction with both Cisco
IP/TV and the virtual classroom in a blended solution that supports participants who miss a live broadcast.
Best practices for Cisco IP/TV broadcasts are the focus of this white paper, which defines the Cisco IP/TV
solution, its components, and its typical uses. This paper also describes how Cisco IP/TV has evolved over
the years, explains how it can be integrated with Enterprise Cisco Delivery Networks (ECDN) today, and
offers some practical advise on how to get started with Cisco IP/TV. This paper also provides concrete
examples of the results realized by other companies and organizations that have successfully used Cisco
IP/TV in a variety of industries.
Defining the Cisco IP/TV Solution
The Cisco IP/TV Solution delivers high-quality video content—live, scheduled rebroadcast, and on-
demand—directly to desktop PCs, classrooms and meeting rooms. This easy to use, turnkey solution
enables organizations to create and deliver TV-quality live programming—including management
broadcasts, training programs, university classes, regular business meetings, and satellite programs —
directly to employees, partners and students.
As a member of the Cisco Content Networking product family, a unified architecture for content
management, routing, and switching, Cisco IP/TV leverages Cisco networking infrastructure and uses
standard protocols running on existing IP networks to deliver the highest quality streaming video with
application and management features at a low cost. It also takes advantage of industry-adopted technologies
such as Microsoft’s Windows Media Technologies (WMT).
Primary Components of Cisco IP/TV
The Cisco IP/TV Solution consists of a broadcast server, a control server, and an optional archive server,
which come preconfigured with IP/TV Server Software and IP/TV Client Software for desktop PCs.
Cisco 3400 Series Broadcast Server
The Cisco 3400 Series Broadcast Server encodes and transmits programs according to the directions
received from the Control Server. It comes in two versions, the 3424 for low bandwidth formats such as
Microsoft WMT and the 3425 for Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG-1) and MPEG-2. Broadcast
servers are primarily used for multicasting live or prerecorded programs from devices such as video
cameras, VCRs, DVDs, satellite and cable feeds ore prerecorded Windows Media, AVI, MP3, and MPEG
Cisco IP/TV 3412 Control Server
The Cisco IP/TV 3412 Control Server is the policy manager. It communicates scheduling information,
desired video formats, and bandwidth considerations to the Cisco IP/TV Broadcast Server, and generates a
Program Listing that acts as a “TV Guide” for viewers to select a desired video program. The Cisco IP/TV
Control Server also handles network and device configuration and management. Finally, it enables
administrators to monitor the usage and quality of streams delivered throughout the multicast network via
the StreamWatch monitoring tool.
Cisco IP/TV 3432 Archive Server
An optional Cisco IP/TV 3432 Archive Server can be added on the edge of the network for scheduled
multicast rebroadcasts or unicast on-demand viewing from a remote site. As a best practice, Cisco advises
the use of more general-purpose Cisco Content Engines for the on-demand component of an e-learning
solution, since Cisco content engines can also hold any Web media, including rich media files such as
Adobe Acrobat, large images from your website, software, VoD streaming media, etc. Internally, Cisco
currently uses the Cisco IP/TV Archive Server strictly for scheduled rebroadcasts, similar to a “rerun” of a
previously delivered live event, as this is a unique feature of the Cisco IP/TV Archive Server.
The Cisco IP/TV Archive Servers will be software upgradeable to a new combined solution in the future,
when the unique functionality of Cisco IP/TV and Enterprise Cisco Delivery Networks (ECDN) will be
merged into a unified platform. This will mean one intelligent edge device capable of delivering very high
quality live and on-demand content to the end user, enabling them to take advantage of more services on
their networks with less equipment. For more information about how ECDC can support an e-learning
solution, visit the Cisco Connection Online at: http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/10/wwtraining/elearning/
For more details regarding Cisco’s internal ECDN deployment, review a white paper at:
Cisco IP/TV 3417 Starter Server
To obtain the most of the rich Cisco IP/TV features in one convenient, bundled package, companies can
also opt to deploy the Cisco IP/TV 3417 Starter Server. This cost-effective option is ideal for pilot
deployments and includes a Cisco IP/TV Control Server, Broadcast Server, Archive Server and the
Optibase MPEG-1, MPEG-2 HD1 capture card.
Integrating Cisco IP/TV and ECDN functionality
As a low-cost, low-maintenance interim solution for integrating Cisco IP/TV and ECDN functionality, the
Cisco IP/TV Broadcast Server can record a live stream to a file for importing into the Cisco Content
Distribution Manager (CDM). The Cisco IP/TV Broadcast Server’s standard hardware configuration
includes two capture cards (Optibase and Winnov) that are controlled via the IP/TV Content Manager
software. The administrator can use the Recordings feature of the IP/TV Content Manager application to
have an IP/TV Broadcast Server capture the live event. The Cisco CDM enables the administrator to
automatically and intelligently deliver that content to any number of sites. At the receiving end, a Cisco
Content Engine streams the content on-demand to desktop users. For more technical details, refer to the
white paper Short-Term Integration of Content Distribution Manager and IP/TV Broadcast Server,
Typical Cisco IP/TV Video Streaming Applications
Corporate or Executive Communications
The Cisco IP/TV Solution streamlines business communications delivery, empowering an entire workforce
with a common knowledge base and consistent information, from human resources updates to strategic
company information, at their fingertips. For example, all of Cisco’s quarterly company meetings,
highlighting CEO John Chambers’ company vision, strategy and analysis of the quarter’s business results,
are broadcast live over Cisco IP/TV, rebroadcast in different time zones via the Cisco IP/TV Archive
Server, and stored as VoDs on Cisco Content Engines for anyone who missed the broadcasts. These
broadcasts allow Cisco executives to deliver consistent, clear messages to all Cisco employees. Well-
trained, well-informed employees dramatically improve a company’s productivity, bottom line, and
Most large organizations have a sales team located across a country or the world. The whole team needs
timely product and technology information, but the training center is usually in a central or regional
location with limited classroom availability. The Cisco IP/TV Solution brings the training center to the
employee to save travel days, time away from the office and customers, and all associated expenses. This
solution also enhances the company’s competitive agility by enabling it to realize revenue from potential
sales opportunities more quickly with more timely information to employees and a shortened feedback loop
between product managers and customers.
At Cisco, an average of 35 - 40 broadcasts per month or 1.25 IP/TV broadcasts are delivered daily to
worldwide audiences, including regularly scheduled quarterly product and technology updates or as-needed
product introductions. These meetings increase the interactivity between the sales force, product managers,
marketing managers and executives, engineering and development. In some locations, the IP/TV stream is
projected from the PC to a screen monitor, and employees gather together to view the broadcast in a
conference room to enable group interaction on a local level.
Business TV to the Desktop
Most organizations include knowledge workers who need instant access to international business or
financial developments. The Cisco IP/TV Solution makes it easy and economical to deliver up-to-the-
minute market trends, financial news, and other strategic business news to knowledge workers right at their
Academic facilities that wish to reach students outside campus walls may use the Cisco IP/TV Solution to
implement a distance-learning curriculum. Universities and other institutions of higher education can bring
rich programming to classrooms and desktops or offer telecourses to network-based students on a fee or
credit basis with Cisco IP/TV systems. The solution also provides the opportunity to extend the reach of
learning to other schools without the need for expensive, video-only networks.
The Cisco IP/TV Solution could also be used for security purposes by connecting a video camera to a Cisco
IP/TV Broadcast Server and then networking the video to a central digital repository rather than storing
bulky videotapes. At Cisco, employees use Cisco IP/TV in a different, yet creative, surveillance
application—they can check in on their children playing in Cisco’s onsite day care center. Granting parents
of several hundred children peace of mind, knowing that their children are safe and happy, supports Cisco’s
high-touch corporate culture.
Servicing the Hearing Impaired
The content created by the IP/TV Broadcast Server can also pass captioning on to users who are hearing
impaired. Using products from Computer Prompting and Captioning Co. (CPC), a leader in the captioning
field for the past 15 years, the Cisco IP/TV solution can incorporate Open Captioning to superimpose the
text directly onto the video stream, similar to the subtitles in a film. To insert captions, an organization
would need a CPC-700 CaptionMaker ®, a USB VideoBus II, a Time Code Reader, a Closed Caption
Encoder and a VCR in addition to the IP/TV Broadcast Server and IP/TV client. For live, real-time
captioning, an organization would also need a steno machine, steno software, and someone capable of
typing on a steno machine. This solution addresses the need to meet government access requirements for
the physically challenged in public sector environments. More information is available on CPC at
Key Advantages of the Cisco IP/TV Solution
To gain a better understanding of why Cisco has chosen the IP/TV Solution for all of its live broadcasting
needs, it is helpful to highlight some of the primary benefits of this effective, yet affordable, way of
delivering timely, rich multimedia information to key audiences.
Cost effectiveness of IP multicast
Cisco IP/T provides support for the IP multicast protocol, a bandwidth-conserving technology that reduces
traffic by simultaneously delivering a single stream of information to many recipients. One-to-many
communication can generate huge bandwidth demands if an individual stream is sent to each participant. IP
multicast solves this bandwidth problem, enabling cost-effective scheduled events, whether live or
rebroadcast. IP multicast is enormously efficient, making it economically viable to reach large audiences.
One 700 Kbps stream, for example, can be sent to each site serving hundreds of viewers. Multicast enables
scheduled broadcasts to simultaneously reach virtually unlimited audiences, commonly scaling to tens of
thousands of participants. The limitation is the reach of the IP multicast network, not cost or bandwidth.
By contrast, traditional unicast streaming requires massive centralized bandwidth, both expensive and
impractical. The bandwidth cost savings from IP multicast can be tremendous compared to the actual cost
of equipment. More information on the benefits of IP multicast can be found at:
Deploying a Cisco IP/TV Broadcast Server and Cisco IP/TV Control Server for less than $30,000, to serve
an entire enterprise for any kind of event, translates into a rapid return on investment. Compare this to the
cost of outsourcing the even/training or flying thousands of people into a training session, and a Cisco
IP/TV Solution could pay for itself after just a meeting or two.
Likewise, sending a single multicast stream over a WAN can provide bandwidth savings much greater than
the cost of a Cisco solution. With the cost of a T1 line averaging $10,000 per year, sending one stream per
user is clearly not cost-effective. Even a low-quality 100 kbps stream would fill an entire T1 line for every
15 viewers! By contrast, a single MPEG-1 stream capable of delivering full-screen, TV-quality video is
typically around 1 Mbps. Multicasting an MPEG-1 stream to thousands could be done with less than a full
T1 line. This means TV-quality video can become an everyday communications vehicle, not a luxury for
Ease of use
The Cisco IP/TV Solution includes the easy-to-use application and management tools needed to smoothly
schedule and run a live broadcast. It is easy to schedule an event and make it available from a centralized
program listing, similar to a “TV Guide” for available content. Through a graphical user interface,
administrators can schedule when they want the event to take place, and IP/TV will facilitate encoding the
analog stream, creating the multicast group, scheduling the program guide, and delivering it to viewers.
IPTV also makes it easy to synchronize and simultaneously broadcast video with presentation media, such
as slides or application screens. The Cisco IP/TV WebPresenter enables PowerPoint slides to be delivered
as a stream that is automatically synchronized with the associated video stream. Likewise, the IP/TV
ScreenCaster feature allows any application to be synchronized by delivering screen changes as JPEG files
over a synchronized stream. No application coding is required for the broadcaster to enable it; it’s an out-
of-the-box capability of IPTV.
The Cisco IP/TV Question Manager is another important tool that allows any viewer who is watching the
program to submit a text -based question online. The session moderator presents the questions to the
speaker for immediate response or archives them for follow-up.
Optimized for high-quality transmission
In addition to leveraging IP Multicast, Cisco IP/TV is optimized for very high-quality transmission with its
advanced Quality of Service (QoS) and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) support. Specified by the
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an industry standard, RTP is an efficient mechanism for
delivering latency-sensitive traffic—real-time data, such as audio, video or simulation data, over multicast
or unicast network services—which speeds start-up and minimizes delays and “buffering” of streams
inherent in HTTP streaming. It was designed specifically to handle the needs of multi-user, multimedia
broadcasts. Because Cisco routers and switches recognize RTP traffic, and other Cisco IOS technologies
are built on RTP, there are many other inherent benefits, including the ability to:
• Capture live streams in a Cisco IP/TV Archive Server at the edge, to enable rebroadcasting
• Split audio and video streams and prioritize audio in case of network congestion, since people tend
to be more sensitive to interruptions in audio than video
• Reserve available bandwidth in advance via QoS capabilities
• Interoperate with other products that deliver streams over RTP, such as by IP telephony, and IP
To further facilitate a high-quality user experience, Cisco IP/TV includes the unique StreamWatch tool that
helps to centrally monitor and effectively manage a live event. It uses standard RTP Control Protocol
(RTCP) to collect usage data during an IP/TV broadcast, monitor the overall Quality of Service (QoS),
measure the packet loss and latency that every desktop is receiving, and convey information about each
desktop in an ongoing session. This helps ensure that most desktops are receiving high-quality transmission
and also allows an administrator to make adjustments to the users who aren’t receiving optimal quality—
tackling problems during the event. Finally, by reviewing service quality data after the event, network
administrators can pinpoint sources of network congestion and address them directly.
Details of the Cisco Broadcast Video Deployment
Before an organization gets started with Cisco IP/TV, it may be useful to gain a perspective of Cisco’s six-
year evolution using live broadcasts to meet business demands.
Cisco began with a conventional, TV-quality outsourced broadcasting solution to provide quarterly sales
training and updates in 1995. All the components of production were rented, including the studio, the
downlink locations, the production crew and the equipment. The maximum size of the audience was limited
to 700 people, and only the United States and the European sales arenas could access the information. For
those who could attend, it wasn’t particularly convenient, because most employees had to go to other sites
to watch the broadcast. And if they missed it, there was no opportunity to view it again. It was costly, too:
$232,000 per broadcast or $331 per attendee.
First use of IP/TV
Cisco first leveraged the IP/TV technology when it was part of Precept Software, Inc. Although access was
still limited to just the U.S. and Europe, Cisco noticed dramatic cost savings when it began supplementing
its traditional TV satellite broadcasting solution with IP/TV broadcasting over the wide area network. The
cost per broadcast dropped to $184,000 or $263 per attendee. The dramatic cost savings per broadcast,
coupled with Cisco’s corporate strategy of acquiring new technologies in promising markets to speed time
to market, led to Cisco’s acquis ition of Precept and the addition of IP/TV to the Cisco product portfolio in
Complete Cisco IP/TV Solution
By 2000, the Cisco network allowed a complete transition to IP multicast broadcasting. Cisco discontinued
the use of an outside service and studio due to the expense, and replaced it with an internally built studio.
The entire organization has embraced Cisco IP/TV for education, information, communication and training
across global Cisco. Access has expanded to the Americas and portions of the Asia Pacific region.
Potentially all Cisco employees can attend quarterly company meetings and any other IP/TV broadcast via
On average, audience size today ranges between 200 - 250 people, and the primary usage of Cisco IP/TV is
for launching new products, covering sales engineering technical training meetings 40 weeks per year, and
broadcasting a variety of executive updates. About 90 percent of the broadcasts are also converted to VoDs
and pushed out to the edge of the network to exp and viewing and to be reused for other learning and
communication needs. The number of broadcasts per year is steadily increasing, but as Table 1 illustrates,
the numbers fluctuate quarterly due to the business cycle and extraordinary events. For example, the
numbers spiked in Q301 as communication efforts rose during Cisco’s first reduction in force and in Q102,
a number of events were cancelled due to the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Q201 Q301 Q401 Q102
Number of Broadcast Videos 86 131 97 82
Created at Cisco
With a state-of-the-art broadcast studio now onsite, rental costs have been eliminated, and the cost per
broadcast can vary from $1,000 - $25,000, depending upon how much production work is required, how
many cameras will be needed during the broadcast, and whether or not the broadcast will require any
videotaping prior to the event.
Satellite Network Service
To accommodate an average of 35 to 40 broadcasts per month, Cisco augments its WAN with an IP
satellite network service in Europe, North America, and South America. Installed in about six months, the
Provide redundant and backup connections such as multiple WAN links, and investigate WAN connectivity
alternatives such as low-cost satellite transmission services dedicated to IP/TV broadcast streams as the
primary, inter-site transmission medium.
Prior to the event, define broadcast quality level expectations and plan authoring and production to meet
those levels. Promote the primary, high-quality link as the best viewing experience, but also provide a
secondary, lower-quality link that will ensure at least a high-quality audio feed if the primary connection is
unavailable prior to or during the broadcast. It is useful to deliver low bit rate streams for live broadcasts,
because they are traveling across wide area network links. You then have the option of encoding the
broadcast a second time at a higher bit rate for on-demand viewing delivered over a Cisco Delivery
Network to Cisco Content Engines at the edge of a network.
Content authoring guidelines
Develop authoring standards for PowerPoint slides that take into consideration broadcast viewing
requirements such as text font size and graphics. Font size should be at least 20 points (or larger), and the
number and colors of fonts should be kept to a minimum. When creating graphics for a presentation, avoid
detailed diagrams and organization charts, and use consistent, simple colors.
In terms of content, limit each slide to a couple of major points and up to six bullets, otherwise, you’ll lose
the audience. Use proven, effective presentation techniques with this basic outline in mind:
1.) Tell the audience what you’re going to tell them (set the context)
2.) Tell the audience (give the information)
3.) Tell the audience what you told them (review)
Meeting preparation and planning
Know what the goals and objectives of the meeting are for both the presenters and the participants.
Make sure to plan the event announcements, viewing instructions, and registration well in advance of the
broadcast date. Reminders should be distributed several times after the initial announcement, and all
announcements should include clear instructions on how to access the broadcast event.
Plan the event so that it keeps moving without long pauses during the broadcast. To break up presentations,
include periodic, moderated Q&A sessions and provide an offline Q&A moderator who will manage
audience call-ins and speaker questions. Script and rehearse presentations, including the Q&A moderation
and the use of mixed media (video and slides). During the rehearsal, make your presenters conscious of
unnecessary mannerisms such as walking around or stretching, and restrict physical presentation methods
to occasional hand gestures. Audiences fixate on odd body movements that are distracting (and
unnecessarily memorable). Know when to use full screen for each media and plan transitions. Finally,
review presentation content accuracy prior to the live event to ensure a quality presentation.
Create and maintain presentation facilities—including adequate technical support and presentation room
logistics—for groups of viewers who prefer to meet in a conference room and view broadcasts together. It
helps to assign a group question moderator to gather questions and forward them to the presentation
moderator, and also assign a room support person (and a backup) to ensure proper viewing equipment setup
is available and maintained. Before broadcasting the live presentation, provide a test stream at least three
hours prior to the event so that any unforeseen connection problems can be identified and fixed prior to the
General Filming Considerations
For major events, hire professional video production crews to achieve the best video and audio quality. For
more casual, day-to-day broadcasts that don’t require professional crews, it’s best to use a high-quality
camera such as DVCpro, DVcam, BetaCamSP, Digital Hi8 or Hi8 to videotape the presenters. On a one-
hour or longer broadcast per presenter, concentrate on close-up shots of the presenter in front of a medium-
gray background. Then use one static camera set on a wide shot of the slide projector screen to record the
slide changes. Each presenter needs a wireless or dedicated microphone, and if the IP/TV broadcast will be
re-purposed as a Video on Demand module, inform the production crew prior to the event so that particular
VoD requirements will be planned for and provided during the live broadcast.
The necessary lighting for a production is determined by the size of the area, studio or set. Over lighting an
area can be just as bad as not having enough light. When possible, the standard lighting setup used in a
studio is preferable and works the best. The standard studio lighting setup includes the following
instruments: key lights, fill lights, back lights and background lights.
1.) The key light is the main light that defines and most affects the appearance of the talent or subject
2.) The purpose of the fill light is to partially remove shadows by filling in the shadows created by
the key lights and other light sources.
3.) The function of the back light is to separate the subject from the background by creating a subtle
rim of light around the subject.
4.) Background lights are used to illuminate the background area and add depth and separation
between scene elements. (Keep in mind that a back light is designed to light up the back of
subjects and a background light is designed to light up the front of backgrounds.)
Due to the technical advances in video, film and lens equipment, lighting or the lack thereof does not
present the problems it once did. With the right camera, a key light and a fill light will suffice. In larger
areas, portable four-point lighting is usually sufficient for the average IP/TV production for Cisco. Four-
Point lighting consists of one key light and three small fill lights to reduce shadows. Depending on the size
of the area, between two and four lights will be more than enough for the average production.
Video cameras have limitations dealing with color and brightness. Here are a few hints for appropriate
attire during a videotaping session. In general, men and women both should avoid extremely dark colors
such as black, navy blue, dark brown, or bright red. They should also avoid a stark white shirt/blouse unless
wearing a jacket. Off-whites and pastel colors are preferred. Grays, greens, medium and light blues, and
medium browns and tans are the best colors for video.
Polo shirts work as long as they’re not black or white, but avoid wearing a T-shirt. Sweaters are also fine as
long as they don’t have complicated patterns. Men should stay away from small stripes, herringbone, and
plaid patterns in their shirts and ties and avoid shiny pins, buttons, metal tie bars or tie tacs. Women should
also avoid tiny complicated patterns. Jackets and blouses are preferred over dresses, and subtle stones are
better than shiny metal jewelry. In terms of make-up, a professional make-up artist may apply a light coat
of make -up on men. Women should bring their own hair spray and arrive with a light powder already
applied to help cut any shine. A professional make -up artist may be provided just to enhance what they do
Online presentation options
Cisco IP/TV provides the following ways to deliver online slide presentations to viewers: Web Presenter,
ScreenCaster, and SlideCast.
Web Presenter lets you create and direct the following types of web-based presentations:
• Live web presentation with a live-capture video and audio program
• Live web presentation with a playback-from-file program
• Playback-from-file program* with embedded URLs.
Using Web Presenter presents many advantages. You can achieve better quality and increased clarity for
text and images, publish HTML pages from local files, and incorporate other published web sites into your
presentation. Only one server is required to serve the entire presentation, and you can quickly convert files
created using common business tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word into web pages.
Web Presenter streams can be shared with other audio or video programs, but they are not recordable.
Clients must have Microsoft Internet Explorer installed to view the presentation, which must be authored in
standard web formats.
* (In the Playback-from-file program, the file must be an Advanced Streaming Format (.asf) file, and the web
presentation consists of HTML pages advanced in a designated sequence and time as determined by the URLs
embedded in the .asf file of the program.)
ScreenCaster enables you to:
• Add dynamically captured screen shots to a Web Presenter broadcast from various applications
running in real time
• Include screen shots of any size, up to the full desktop
• Broadcast a web-based version of a PowerPoint presentation without preprocessing
• Broadcast a PowerPoint presentation in “native” format, including animation and transition effects
ScreenCaster does not require any web authoring and it supports cross-platform viewers. It can capture any
screen image from any application up to the full desktop area and saves it as a jpeg file. Support for native
PowerPoint presentations allows viewers to use a local PowerPoint viewer or application to see animation
and transition effects. ScreenCaster is CPU-intensive, however, and it generally requires two servers if it is
used with another video source.
The SlideCast feature allows you to capture screen information for transmission over a network. It enables
the Cisco IP/TV Server to serve the following:
• Live or prerecorded video and audio together with a separate SlideCast presentation (requires two
• SlideCast together with the audio of the presenter
• Audio of the presenter with alternating SlideCast and live video
With SlideCast, the entire presentation can be recorded to a streaming RTP file and replayed later. This
format does not require any web authoring; whatever can be displayed on the desktop screen can be
transmitted using SlideCast. It’s good for low-bit-rate delivery, easy-to-use streams, since it encodes them
in an older videoconferencing H.261 format. Cross-platform viewers are supported. (An H.261-based
SlideCast presentation is viewable on Macintosh and UNIX platforms.) SlideCast streams can be shared
with other audio or video programs, too. SlideCast is CPU-intensive, generally requiring two servers if
used with another video source. Since the H.261 encoding format is an older technology, keep slides simple
to ensure text -v iewing clarity.
Cisco IP/TV Success Stories
The Dow Chemical Company
The Dow Chemical Company, a leading science and technology company that provides innovative
chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services, sought to implement an effective e-learning
solution to improve internal training as well as save on training costs. The chemical business is highly
regulated and therefore requires consistent training of approximately 50,000 employees. Dow Chemical
also wanted to use high-quality video to effectively communicate corporate messages at all of its satellite
offices to ensure increased productivity and high employee morale.
The Dow Chemical Company chose the Cisco IP/TV Broadcast server to expand the reach of effective e-
learning and corporate communications to employee desktops in its satellite offices. Use of the Cisco
IP/TV Archive Server supports additional on-demand e-learning. Cisco IP/TV enables Dow to easily
manage the entire IP/TV system from a central location including broadcast scheduling information,
available video types, and bandwidth considerations, along with program information to Cisco IP/TV
viewers. It balances network video loads and optimizes network performance automatically, requiring no
additional intervention from admin istrators. Dow also expects the Cisco e-learning solution to significantly
reduce training costs by 50 percent, attributed to savings associated with travel, lodging, and methods used
to create and distribute training materials. Use of the new Cisco IP/TV platform positions Dow for future
rich content delivery as well.
Cisco needed to train a specialized worldwide sales team on its new content networking strategy, products,
and solutions. The company considered flying all 300 members of the team, the training presenters, and the
coordinators to Orlando, Florida, for training, but with a rental fee for the training venue, airfare to Orlando
for attendees and presenters, and a week of hotel accommodations, food, auto rentals, and other expenses ,
Cisco estimated the total cost at about US$750,000 or roughly US$2,500 per person.
Instead, Cisco decided to deliver a live, four-day, training broadcast via three Cisco IP/TV Broadcast
Servers and one Slidecast server for approximately US$108,000. This was more than a US$600,000 cost
savings compared to Cisco’s original estimate of US$750,000. Using Cisco IP/TV technology, Cisco was
also able to extend the training to all sales people, and another 1,300 joined the broadcast. If Cisco had
trained all 1,600 employees using traditional methods at US$2,500 per person, the company would have
spent roughly US$5 million. Using its IP/TV solution, Cisco delivered this training to 1,600 employees for
under US$55 per employee. In addition, employees rated their satisfaction of the training as very high, and
all of the content was reusable, saved as VoD modules. Using the Cisco IP/TV Question Manager,
participants asked lots of questions, which were answered live and then compiled into a searchable Q&A
database after the meeting.
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon, a leader in the use of computers and the Internet, needed a cost-effective,
interoperable distance learning solution that offered high-quality, MPEG-1 video and audio delivery
without affecting network performance. It also had to be easy to implement and use. Four years after
implementing a Cisco IP/TV solution, the University of Oregon now reaches a broad worldwide audience
with speeches, lectures, major events, and distance learning options. Students can tune into foreign
language programming, access a library of educational material, and watch taped interviews from the
library, language labs, and their own computers. Users are excited about its high quality and simplicity, and
administrators appreciate the ability to offer richer course content in a network efficient manner that can
scale to thousands of viewers.
National Institutes of Health
Medical researchers at National Institutes of Heath (NIH) locations nationwide can sit at their desks and
watch live video of lectures and seminars delivered by world-class scientists through Cisco’s IP/TV
Solution. The lectures—a series of weekly talks by the world’s top biomedical researchers, many of them
Nobel Laureates—are held in an auditorium in NIH’s Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters. The audience is
dispersed across 50 buildings in Bethesda plus some 40 additional NIH sites from Massachusetts to
Montana. Says Harold Ostrow, chief of the Network Systems Branch of NIH’s Division of Computer
Research and Technology, “Instead of having people spend half a day driving to campus and hunting for
parking—or even catching a plane—we deliver the sessions live to them at their desks. The combination of
IP/TV and our multicast-enabled Cisco routers lets us broadcast straight to researchers’ desks with
absolutely no investment in our network infrastructure.”
All of Cisco’s preferred methods of e-learning content delivery—Cisco IP/TV, Video on Demand and
virtual classrooms —offer many similar benefits. Each method:
• Reduces costs of training by eliminating travel
• Minimizes time away from primary responsibilities
• Enables participants quickly gain appropriate skills and knowledge
• Provides an instructionally effective way to transfer information
• Increases job effectiveness by ensuring all employees have access to the same information
• Offers detailed content tracking accessed for certification and testing
Cisco IP/TV is the preferred e-learning content delivery method for high-quality, live broadcasts and
rebroadcasts. It enables organizations to provide high-impact instruction, communications, seminars and
meetings directly to the desktops of employees, partners and students. Viewers can watch subject matter
experts, see synchronized PowerPoint presentations and even ask questions. Since the Cisco IP/TV solution
is based on network-efficient multicast technology, enterprises can take advantage of a quality streaming
solution that offers total control over bandwidth and network performance.