Compact PC video device uses high-bandwidth connections

Compact PC video device uses high-bandwidth connections

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

The $599 ViaVideo device from Polycom Inc. takes advantage of high-bandwidth connections to supply videoconferencing through a PC's Universal Serial Bus port.

The San Jose, Calif., company makes ViaVideo small enough to fit into a pocket. The bundle includes a camera, a microphone and a multimedia processor. It plugs into a USB port and provides full-screen video with full-duplex audio over fast connections ranging from 64 Kbps to 384 Kbps.

Polycom's small videoconferencing unit plugs into a USB port and uses a high-bandwidth connection for video and audio.

How it works

The 3-inch-wide device incorporates the TriMedia processor from Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands, plus Microsoft NetMeeting software for document sharing, whiteboard and file transfers. The TriMedia chip offloads most of the processing from the PC's CPU through the USB connection. The device follows the international H.323 standard for IP multimedia applications.

At the low end of its bandwidth range, ViaVideo shows video at 15 frames per second. At the high end, the rate is 30 frames per second. It can connect with H.323 group videoconferencing systems at 64 Kbps, although a minimum of 128 Kbps is better. The graphical management software runs on the PC under Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows 2000.

Future releases will support streaming video for real-time and archive video access, Polycom officials said. More information appears at

Contact Polycom at 800-765-9266.

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