The New World of Low Cost HD Video Conferencing: Clarity on a Budget

For many years video conferencing meant an expensive appliance from Tandberg , PolyCom, or some other company. The solution was comprised of a large video monitor, one or more cameras and the video conference system itself, which handles the ISDN or IP (over the Internet) connectivity.
These systems have worked great, especially for larger companies. You go into the “video conference room” and speak to your colleagues, job candidate or others and then you’re done.
However, over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a new crop of HD (high definition) “web cams” which are viable replacements for expensive video conference solutions. Video conferencing over the web cameras that we’ve been used to is not clear. In low light, the image does not look good and the experience is not like it is with Jack Bauer on Fox’s 24.
My first taste of high definition video conferencing was using a Tandberg’s Precision HD USB Camera.
You can immediately tell this camera is not your average, $10 web cam. This camera has a bit of weight to it. It’s .5Lb like the size of a travel bottle of Listerine. Not too heavy for your notebook screen but not like the flimsy piece of plastic your current web cam is.

What’s even more special about Tandberg’s $400 camera is that it contains built in technology to make the “HD magic” all within the camera, no external box needed. The video and audio are quite clear.
Earlier this year I was doing a series of webinars for Intuit. With my regular camera, on my notebook, the image was quite dark and needed to be aided by external light. However with the Tandberg camera the image was much, much brighter and you could clearly see every piece of chin stubble and bump on my face. Lovely.
Many of you, whether you travel a lot or are in an office and need to see clients or colleagues, have been using web cams to communicate face to face. I would highly suggest that your next camera is an HD camera.
Dual use? Instead of only using it for video conferences, you could also use it for recording standard video at high def!
Having your own HD equipment means that you won’t have to “borrow” the conference room as you have it in your desk (or in your bag).
Using a personal collaboration system like Skype, you can’t “dial” an IP video conference system.
You’ll have to sign up for a system, such as Tandberg’s Movi which can dial into an H.323 system – the name of the traditional (corporate) video conference system larger companies use.
This means you can be at your computer and still communicate with companies using their traditional video conference systems.