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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Conferencing

Not Biscuits, But TV Phone

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The word "Biscotti" does not simply refer to Italian biscuits any more-- it is also the name of a miniature VoIP TV phone that's only a bit bigger than the actual baked goods sharing the name.

BiscottiThe Biscotti consists of a small camera-carrying box designed to sit on top of TV sets, to which it plugs in using HDMI. Connecting to the internet via wifi, it allows users to make video-calls through either Biscotti service or Google Talk from their living rooms.

Control comes via included 6-button remote, while a HDMI-in port allows one to connect the Biscotti to both TV and cable/satellite STB and make calls while watching other TV channels.

Users can also set the Biscotti to automatically answer calls from select contacts and even turn the TV on when receiving calls through a simple menu system.

It works with wifi upload speeds starting from 256Kbps, and delivers HD video at speeds of 1Mbps and over. Now all we need is some coffee to go with such crunchy treats...

Go Biscotti TV Phone

AVermedia Launches into Video Conferencing

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AvermediaAVermedia launches a video conferencing range, the AVerComm H series. The 2 models offer 720P images at 30fps and are aimed at business and education.

The AVerComm H100 has a 5 megapixel PTZ camera, two-way content sharing and projector-applicable Table Hub design.

The AVerComm H300 allows 4-way Multipoint conferencing, snapshot and meeting recording added to the H100's features. AVerMedia says it is designed for headquarter and boardroom use.

Go to AVermedia Video Conferencing Range

Is UMI the Home Conferencing That Cisco Really Wants?

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Cisco launches ūmi (prounounced You-Me), a home videoconferencing system. A premium single-function product ($600 in USA for camera STB and remote), it faces competition from smaller, cheaper (as much as 4X) multi-function video conferencing rivals.

Cisco UMI, home videoconferencing

The 1080p HD video conferencing camera connects to an internet-enabled console that allows video chat (with remote control) via the living room TV. A monthly subscription ($25 in USA) is required. Umi accepts video calls from Google video chat, as well as records videos to use as messages or share online.

Of course, Skype remains the toughest competition: 40% of calls placed over Skype are video calls. But compare ūmi as a single-function device to Logitech’s camera as part of Google TV, Skype as integrated with internet-enabled TVs, and Microsoft and Sony cameras as part of their game consoles (with motion-sensing capabilities). Nor is ūmi interoperable with Cisco’s corporate telepresence systems (so no executive toy here).

On the surface, it looks like ūmi will not be the mass market product Cisco so desperately wanted but that's not stopping Best Buy from putting it on American store shelves as we speak.

Go Cisco Brings Out ūmi