Polycom Introduces High Definition Video Conferencing

Polycom VSX 7000 close up photo.

Polycom recently announced and demonstrated the latest developments in its delivery of high definition (HD) video conferencing and collaboration at its annual Polycom User Group conference. Polycom's HD strategy gives customers a cost-effective migration path to leverage their existing video communications investments, while evolving to next generation technology. Enabled through a software upgrade (MGC version 7.02), Polycom is delivering leading-edge HD video conferencing support ahead of the emerging market.

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Polycom announced the availability of HD video conferencing support on its industry-leading line of MGC bridges, enabling users to connect up to 90 simultaneous HD video calls on a single MGC+100 bridge. The support is available today through a software upgrade for existing MGC customers, eliminating the need for a dedicated multipoint conferencing unit just for HD video calls. Polycom also announced details for delivering HD video conferencing for users of its existing high-performance VSX 8000 systems including information on pricing, availability, technical specifications, and expected performance.

"With the support for HD, Polycom demonstrates once again why the MGC bridges remain pre-eminent in the industry for their flexibility, scalability, and powerful performance," said Phil Keenan, senior vice president and general manager of network systems at Polycom. "No other bridge is as secure, transcodes more devices on a single call, or now supports more simultaneous HD calls than the MGC. All of which gives customers the greatest long-term value for their investment. The MGC line is the most widely used video conferencing bridge in the world. The decision to provide HD capability as a software upgrade rather than hardware upgrade means MGC customers are already prepared for this next technology advancement."

HD Support on MGC Bridges - Available Today

The Polycom MGC delivers the most flexible platform for high-bandwidth conferencing by supporting CIF, standard definition (SD and half SD), and boardroom high definition (HD 1280x720 at 30 frames per second) on the same bridge. By enabling HD support on the existing MGC platform, customers do not need to purchase a separate, dedicated bridge for HD video calls in the future. The standards-based technology will support Polycom and other standards-based HD video conferencing endpoints.

HD Support for VSX 8000 Customers - Extending Investment Value Of Polycom Systems

Polycom also announced details of an upgrade that will enable existing VSX 8000 customers to easily and cost-effectively migrate to HD video conferencing. The VSX 8000 HD upgrade will include all the necessary hardware, software, cables and instructions on upgrading their VSX 8000 to deliver HD. The technology will be standards-based, enabling the systems to work with other standards-based HD endpoints and HD video bridges, including the Polycom MGC (MGC version 7.02 or later). HD video calls will be available starting at bandwidths of 1 Mbps and higher and deliver 1280x720 resolution at 30 frames per second. The VSX 8000 HD upgrade will also include enhanced audio, video and content sharing functionality, while continuing to support existing software capabilities and hardware.

"Polycom is committed to investment protection leadership, so it was important to offer a cost-effective migration path to HD video for our customers," said Ed Ellett, senior vice president and general manager of video communications at Polycom. "The VSX 8000 is Polycom's most powerful video communications platform and delivers the best video conferencing image quality on the market today. We expect our VSX 8000 customers to be amongst the first group to transition to HD video. Polycom is always at the forefront of pioneering technologies, many of which have become industry standards. Once again with HD video we are leading the way and providing customers with the ultimate communications experience."

High definition video conferencing makes images incredibly sharp and clear to deliver a real face-to-face experience—despite the distance in between. Today, Polycom VSX systems can deliver television-like quality at rates of 30 frames-per-second and 60 fields of interlaced video, known as Polycom ProMotion video. Television-like quality is available at data rates as low as 384 Kbps, which is the current "sweet spot" for video calls and is available in most home office and business environments. HD video conferencing typically requires data rates of 1 Mbps or higher. As more organizations install HD video-capable displays, Polycom expects to broaden its HD video offering for more mainstream and vertical applications.

Pricing and Availability

MGC version 7.02 is available today for existing customers on a maintenance contract. The VSX 8000 HD upgrade will be available in the second quarter of 2006 through IVCi for MSRP of $5,999.

For additional information regarding high definition 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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