Cisco Enhances IP/TV Streaming Video Solution By Integrating Microsoft Windows Media

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 25, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. today announced that the new Cisco IP/TV streaming media solution including its new line of Cisco IP/TV 3400 broadcast servers and the new Cisco IP/TV 3.0 software is now built on the Microsoft® Windows Media TM Technologies platform. The pairing of technologies will provide corporations with the most comprehensive and flexible solution for using streaming media to deploy media-intensive business applications, such as e-learning and corporate communications, for a wider range of PC users on IP networks.

Using these new applications will help organizations increase productivity and reduce costs while reaping the combined benefits of the following:

  • Cisco’s superior media content management tools and quality of service

  • The industry-leading audio and video quality of Windows Media, which includes reliability, scalability and seamless integration with existing Windows NT® Server operating system, Office and BackOffice® family environments.

“This is a major milestone in the work started with Microsoft last year and underscores our belief that streaming media is finally ready for the corporate environment,” said Jack Bradley, general manager of the Cisco Video Internet Services Unit. “Together, Cisco and Microsoft are responding to customer demands and delivering standards-based technologies, enabling essential multivendor solutions that are critical for success in the Internet economy.”

“Our collaboration with Cisco delivers a robust solution for enterprise customers while building upon both the quality and integration our mutual customers have come to expect,” said Anthony Bay, general manager of the Streaming Media Division at Microsoft. “This integration underscores the customer demand for and adoption of Windows Media as a leading platform for media-rich business applications.”

Combined Technologies Offer Customers a Range of Benefits

For corporate end users, today’s announcement delivers a common user interface and seamless access to the content in the Windows Media format. Customers no longer need to switch players based on format or find the right servers to ensure the best quality of delivery. The Cisco IP/TV Viewer now provides a unified program listing of Windows Media, MPEG and IP multicast formats. At the same time, IP/TV viewers are directed to the most appropriate server to optimize network efficiency.

The Cisco IP/TV 3411 control server manages, simplifies and scales video deployments on multiservice networks by controlling bandwidth usage, distributing content to remote servers, scheduling wide-reaching IP multicast broadcasts and monitoring server activity. It even selects the best video server in proximity to the viewer for greater network control in larger deployments. In addition, by supporting MPEG-2 video, the new Cisco IP/TV broadcast servers can transmit video directly from DVD players.

The Microsoft Windows Media platform, meanwhile, provides additional high-quality audio and video delivery methods with comprehensive content creation tools – all integrated into a flexible and easy-to-manage server infrastructure.

By integrating with Windows Media, Cisco IP/TV now supports Microsoft’s advanced compression techniques, Windows Media Audio and MPEG-4 video. This integration provides much higher quality with lower bandwidth requirements. Using the Windows Media format, Cisco IP/TV delivers synchronized Web pages with an audio or video track for multimedia presentations.

The new, high-performance Cisco IP/TV 3400 series systems conveniently package Cisco IP/TV software, including Windows Media software, with hardware for faster customer deployments.

In addition, Cisco IP/TV adds a scalable, reliable and manageable solution set to Cisco Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (AVVID), which is a flexible, standards-based architecture for integrating voice and video traffic on a data infrastructure. By deploying a complete solution with Cisco AVVID, customers can implement Internet-based business models while achieving a lower total cost of ownership for the overall network.

Customers Benefit From IP/TV and Windows Media Collaboration

The University of Toledo recently was looking for a cost-effective way to broadcast the inauguration of its new president, Dr. Vik Kapoor, to constituents around the world. Using the Internet with a cost-effective, Windows Media-based solution became the obvious choice. The university selected Cisco IP/TV 3.0 software with integrated Windows Media to provide the scalability it needed to deliver the high-quality broadcast to a variety of computing platforms.

“Cisco’s IP/TV was the only product providing the flexibility to optimize the delivery of video for both our internal and external audiences,” said Joe Drees, senior network administrator for the university. “IP/TV offered the highest-quality video possible for each user, something we considered crucial to reaching our maximum online audience.”

The New Cisco IP/TV Product Line

Cisco’s IP/TV 3400 Series Servers and Cisco IP/TV 3.0 software provide a complete, turnkey solution for customers who are turning to streaming media to deliver rich, compelling business applications over networks.

The Cisco IP/TV product line now includes the following:

  • The Cisco IP/TV 3411 control server is the heart of the new Cisco IP/TV solution, offering industry-leading functionality to intelligently manage bandwidth, servers and content. The Cisco IP/TV control server uses proximity groups, network capacity and load information to match the most appropriate video server to a viewer’s request. Pushing content to local video servers, the Cisco IP/TV control server minimizes network consumption for video-on-demand.

  • The Cisco IP/TV 3422 and 3423 broadcast servers capture and multicast live and prerecorded programs on a scheduled basis. The new Cisco IP/TV 3422 Server uses MPEG-4 as its primary audio/video format and supports H.261. The Cisco IP/TV 3423 Server uses MPEG-2 as its primary format and supports MPEG-4, H.261 and MPEG-1.

  • The Cisco IP/TV 3431 archive server , with expanded storage capacity of 120 hours, is the premium choice for supporting video on demand. The system adheres to all formats and codecs supported by Cisco IP/TV.

  • The Cisco IP/TV 3415 Video Starter System is an all-in-one package combining multicasting, video on demand and video management services in an affordable system for smaller department deployments. The system supports several formats, including MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MPEG-1 and H.261.

  • Cisco IP/TV Viewer is client-side software that communicates with the Cisco IP/TV control server to retrieve information about all available programs in all supported formats, such as Windows Media Format, AVI, MPEG and IP multicast. It then displays those listings, allowing viewers to select the program of their choice. The Cisco IP/TV Viewer runs as an application, a helper application and a Web page plug-in.

Pricing and Availability

All servers, which come with preconfigured Cisco IP/TV software – including Windows Media Technologies, video cards, network interface cards and device drivers – are now available. The Cisco IP/TV 3411 control server costs $15,000 (U.S.) The Cisco IP/TV 3422 and 3423 broadcast servers are available for $15,000 (U.S.) and $27,000 (U.S.), respectively. The Cisco IP/TV 3431 archive server costs $24,000 (U.S.); the Cisco IP/TV 3415 Video Starter System is available for $25,000 (U.S.). The Cisco IP/TV Viewer is free with this release. Cisco IP/TV is backed by the industry-leading SMARTnet TM maintenance service and support program. More information about Cisco IP/TV and a free demo CD-ROM can be found at .

About Windows Media Technologies

Windows Media Technologies is the leading digital media platform, providing consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and Windows Media Audio SDK. More information is available at .

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq “CSCO”) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on a any device.

Microsoft, Windows Media, Windows NT and BackOffice are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

SMARTnet is a trademark and Cisco, Cisco Systems, the Cisco Systems logo and Cisco IP/TV are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems Inc. in the United States and certain other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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