'Telepresence on TV is next for videoconferencing'

High-definition videoconferencing, or telepresence, through conventional TV will be available soon in Europe, say experts - while Samsung has become the latest TV manufacturer to partner with Internet voice and video software specialist Skype.

Telepresence systems are now used in corporate boardrooms where the high cost of implementation and managed videoconferencing services is justified by significant cost savings in executive travel.

The same high video and audio quality will soon be available through any Internet-connected high-definition TV, supported by free videoconferencing software from Skype, and other providers.

“As the codecs get better, so does the quality, from resolutions of 480 pixels to 1080,” says Cisco’s head of business video sales for Europe Guy Reavley. “We are not a million miles away from having consumer telepresence on HDTV with high resolution cameras connected to telecommunications networks.”

Samsung’s 7000/8000 LED HDTVs will not be available in Europe until the second half of this year. It supports HD resolutions of 720p rather than 1080, and will face competition from LG and Panasonic, which have also announced plans to embed Skype’s videoconferencing software into their televisions.

Users will still have to invest in a suitable HD webcam and microphone, and be certain their internet connection offers enough bandwidth to support high definition one to one video calls, which will be free under the Skype service. More IT section news

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