We compared the quality of realtime fetal ultrasound images transmitted using ISDN and IP networks. Four experienced obstetric ultrasound specialists viewed standard recordings in a randomized trial and rated the appearance of 30 fetal anatomical landmarks, each on a seven-point scale. A total of 12 evaluations were performed for various combinations of bandwidths (1 28, 384 or 768 kbit/s) and networks (ISDN or IP). The intraobserver coefficient of variation was 2.9%, 5.0%, 12.7% and 14.7% for the four observers. The mean overall ratings by each of the four observers were 4.6, 4.8, 5.0 and 5.3, respectively (a rating of 4 indicated satisfactory visualization and 7 indicated as good as the original recording). Analysis of variance showed that there were no significant interobserver variations nor significant differences in the mean scores for the different types of videoconferencing machines used. The most significant variable affecting the mean score was the bandwidth used. For ISDN, the mean score was 3.7 at 128 kbit/s, which was significantly worse than the mean score of 4.9 at 384 kbit/s, which was in turn significantly worse than the mean score of 5.9 at 768 kbit/s. The mean score for transmission using IP was about 0.5 points lower than that using ISDN across all the different bandwidths, but the differences were not significant. It appears that IP transmission in a private (non-shared) network is an acceptable alternative to ISDN for fetal tele-ultrasound and one deserving further study.