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Polycom Intros Low-Bandwidth HD Video

Driving videoconferencing deeper into the business market, Polycom (PLCM) said it has achieved high-definition live-transmission video lean enough to over relatively low-bandwidth networks – as little as 512 kbps, with DVD-quality video down to 128 kbps.

Based on the H.264 High Profile standard for video compression, the system “will reduce the bandwidth requirements for high-definition (HD) telepresence and standard definition (SD) video conferencing by as much as 50 percent,” the company said. First published by the ITU’s Video Coding Experts Group in 2003, H.264 is a codec standard that uses coding efficiency innovations to tightly compress video traffic into as little bandwidth as possible.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Polycom also introduced two new telepresence products: the HDX 6000 View, a full-featured high-definition room system priced below $5,000, and the Polycom HDX 9000 1080, which provides 1080p video resolution.

The new systems, plus the video compression technology, are part of Polycom’s strategy to attract new, down-market customers for videoconferencing and telepresence. Since Cisco Inc. (CSCO) said it would acquire rival TANDBERG last October, creating a dominant player in the enterprise videoconferencing market, Polycom has focused on finding ways to make the technology accessible to a wider range of customers by driving down prices and network requirements. Wider adoption, the company believes, will create a network effect that will provide customers more value and drive videoconferencing – which has until recently been limited to large companies and early adopters – into Main Street businesses.

Last month Polycom and Cisco rival Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) announced an alliance focused on lowering the cost of high-quality telepresence and videoconferencing services. Later this year the two will unveil an intelligent service provider solution that enables managed video services at specified quality levels over a converged network. The industry’s first “conferencing-aware” network solution, the companies said, will help drive the costs of delivering managed telepresence and videoconferencing, allowing service providers to maximize the capabilities of their existing network.


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