Polycom intros Low-Band HD for Telepresence

There's teleconferencing, and then there's teleconferencing in HD, as proponents of the relatively new form of non-travel corporate communications will tell you. While HD multi-screen teleconferencing has become a staple on some TV shows such as the two "NCIS" series and "Lie to Me," one thing that show producers don't have to concern themselves with in the real world is adequate bandwidth.

Now Polycom said it can produce HD live-transmission video for teleconferencing suitable for carriage via relatively low-bandwidth networks. As low, it says, for HD imaging (close to 720p) within as little as 512 kbps, as well as plain old standard DVD-like quality as low as 128 kbps.

Polycom, based in Pleasanton, Calif., said its system is based on H.264 video compression and will reduce bandwidth requirements for HD telepresence (and SD) video conferencing by up to 50 percent.

Polycom cited rival Cisco's recent plans to buy competitor Tandberg and become an even bigger teleconference player (several TV series routinely use Cisco products in exchange for promotional consideration) as one of the reasons for introducing the service. The company is rolling out what it says are units that are "economically priced" for a wider array of teleconference users: the HDX 6000 View, an HD room system; and the HDX 9000 1080 with 1080p video.

Polycom and Juniper Networks recently announced an alliance focused on providing lower-cost telepresence and videoconferencing services to what it calls more "Main Street" businesses.