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Is High Definition Video Conferencing Right for Your Business?

How to determine if you should make the leap forward to HD

By Nina Parker

If you are looking into purchasing a video conferencing solution for your business, chances are you are considering whether to invest in high definition (HD). Just as HD is changing the television viewing experience by depicting shows with vastly improved clarity and detail, HD video conferencing is transforming the way businesses experience collaborative communication.

True high definition video conferencing delivers such fine detail that the end result is amazingly life-like quality. Images are clearer and crisper, colors are more vibrant, and motion is smoother. As a result, high definition improves the user experience so that meetings become more productive.

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However, there are aspects of HD that may be a challenge to implement, depending on your type of organization. One major concern for some businesses may be that high definition requires a large amount of bandwidth to transport calls across the network. Fortunately, even if your company does not currently have enough network bandwidth to deliver HD, you still have options available to you.

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to take the leap from the amount of bandwidth rates that you are currently using to HD rates to enjoy the quality benefits of HD. In fact, the technology that is on the market today provides greatly improved audio, video and content sharing quality without the necessity of waiting for your network department to upgrade its bandwidth.

HD Defined

Recent innovations in video conferencing technology have resulted in great improvements in resolution, which is the number of pixels and lines that make up an image. High definition video conferencing delivers such great detail because of an increase in resolution.

HD resolution is better quality because it contains more horizontal lines per screen (720), and each line contains more pixels. This allows a greater amount of information to be captured. Traditional business quality video conferencing calls are CIF (common interface format) resolution. Standard definition (SD) is 4 times the quality of CIF, and high definition is 9 times CIF.

If you are in the market to use video conferencing for traditional business meetings and want to experience higher quality calls, then HD may not be required to meet your needs. A typical video call requires data rates of 384k. Standard definition is delivered at 768k, and true high definition requires bandwidth of at least 1.0 Mbps. However, by using the new technology you can enjoy high quality calls, but at standard definition data rates (4CIF).

When you purchase HD hardware components you still get improved call quality, even if you choose not to invest in the bandwidth required for HD. The camera, processing power (codec), and monitor are much more powerful, so that the overall effect is enhanced quality even without the additional bandwidth.

Recommendation

In some cases, high definition is a business necessity. This includes fields such as telemedicine, when it is important for doctors in multiple locations to see fine details so as to learn new surgical procedures. High definition may also be essential for apparel manufacturers who must be able to decipher the fine stitching on a garment in a factory overseas. HD quality can also be critical for the government as well as distance learning applications.

However, if HD is not critical for your type of business, and you think it would be hard to justify the cost, you can still enjoy the quality benefits of HD video conferencing at lower bandwidths by purchasing the latest video conferencing hardware from companies like Polycom and TANDBERG.

For example, the Polycom HDX 9000 series offers end-to-end high definition voice, video and content sharing in point-to-point and multipoint conferences. HDX products are built on high-definition TV standards, and you will experience video conferencing at a higher quality level of audio and video, even at 4CIF resolution.

You may also want to choose the high quality TANDBERG PrecisionHD camera that is available with all TANDBERG Edge Series systems. TANDBERG's PrecisionHD camera allows users to experience high definition video quality at any bandwidth. This HD camera is designed specifically for a superior video conferencing experience.

Not only do these products provide high quality video conferencing at various data rates, but when bandwidth does becomes more readily available you will not necessarily need additional parts, or to upgrade your system should you choose to increase your network bandwidth to high definition.

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For additional information regarding HD video conferencing or any of IVCi's products and services, please call 1-800-224-7083 ext. 109, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.

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