High-quality, high-definition videoconferencing is coming to the living room, but consumers should expect to pay top dollar for it.
Tomorrow not one but two major technology companies will be announcing new videoconferencing products for the home. Cisco Systems, which already has a well-established telepresence line of products for large companies, and Logitech, which makes Webcams and other PC peripherals, each in separate press conferences plan to announce products that will bring telepresence videoconferencing to consumers in the home.
For years, technology companies have been describing a day when grandmas halfway around the globe could dial in to a video call to watch their grandchildren take their first steps. Loved ones separated by oceans could share in all kinds of special moments via high-quality videoconferencing that makes them feel as if they are in the same room.
Finally, the promise will soon be reality. As high-speed Internet access and high-definition TVs become more ubiquitous, and the cost of high-definition cameras and high-end processors comes down, the time is finally right for high-quality videoconferencing technology to come to the home.
But even with price drops on these components and the ubiquity of broadband, getting this high-quality video experience won't come cheap. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cisco is expected to charge $600 for new hardware and a $30-a-month service fee for its home telepresence service. Other news outlets cite a lower-end Cisco solution that costs $200. If Cisco teams up with service providers, such as Comcast or Verizon Communications, it may offer the device for a subsidized price and make up the difference on monthly service fees. … Read more