> Can anyone suggest what I should be looking for as the various vendors
> demonstrate their wares?
For starters, absolute adherence to established standards and adaptability
to future standards re: streaming video.
>From the Cisco website (it IS part of their sales pitch):
"The Importance of Standards: Interoperability, Affordability
A key advantage of IP/TV is its use of industry-standard technologies for
its networking protocols, platform APIs, file formats and codecs. This
allows for interoperability with the Internet's Multicast Backbone (MBONE),
ease of web integration and use of standard off-the-shelf authoring tools.
IP/TV uses standard IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) protocols
including the Real Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and the Real Time Control
Protocol (RTCP) to ensure consistent and time-dependent data delivery, and
the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) for VCR-like programming controls.
With IP Multicast and RTP support come viewing access to the growing number
of programs now available on the MBone. IP/TV is also compatible with Unix's
VIC/VAX tools and Apple's QuickTime clients, and supports standard digital
file formats (AVI or MPG), which use standard editing tools. IP/TV can run
on virtually any network type, including 10/100BaseT Ethernet, Gigabit
Ethernet, cable and ADSL modems, ATM and other networks with LAN emulation.
Because IP/TV is codec independent, it works automatically with any Video
for Windows- or ActiveMovie- compatible codec, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2,
MPEG-4, Intel's Indeo, VXtreme, and H.261; a range of bit rates from 28 Kbps
to 6 Mbps is supported. Compatible with Microsoft's ACM, IP/TV also supports
a range of audio codecs. This flexibility gives enterprises the ability to
balance video quality with applications requirements and bandwidth
availability. IP/TV supports all codecs with perfect audio/video
-end of quote-
For more info on the Cisco product, try www.cisco.com/iptv
I am NOT endorsing Cisco's product over any other. But, IPTV looks pretty