Adding Video/Audio Conferencing to a HT System - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-17-2001, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a client who is interested in putting together a HT system with a projector, screen and full 7ch surround. One focus on the HT system is that he would like to be able to use the audio and video (most important) as a conferencing room. He currently has to fly to Minnesota for board meetings, since simple tele-conferencing will not work.

Any ideas on setting this up? Some possible roadblocks are:

1. Lighting. We would need a dark(er) room to run a projector, yet we need lots of light for the camera(s) in the video conferencing portion. - This could be addressed possibly by doing a rear projection system or using a 1500+ ANSI lumen projector, with lights and cameras behind the projector - blacking out the front of the room.

2. Video compression/ distribution. What would have to be setup as far as computers or video conferencing equipment? A simple webcam will not work as this needs to be pretty detailed.

3. Control - would you recommend a PHAST type control system, to give the owner the ability to sit in one place and move cameras and such?

4. Audio distortion. - Audio isn't the most important - a speaker phone will do, but could this be done any better?

Any ideas would be great. I would like to put together a system that meets all the wants and needs of the client. I haven't done much with video conferencing, but I am eager to learn.

Dan

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post #2 of 5 Old 01-18-2001, 07:05 AM
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Dan:

The answers to how to do this (& whether it is practical) are dependent on:
1) What kind of videoconferencing equipment does the company in Minnesota have? If they have a system in place, this will drive what your client will want on his end.
2) What kind of telecom access does the house have? High performance video conferencing needs a lot of bandwidth. The quality of the bandwidth also is important, i.e. going through the internet can result in glitches vs. a direct ISDN connection, which will be clean.
3) Budget.
4) Tolerence for set up, tweaking, and troublshooting the system on both sides.

The leaders in videoconferencing are Polycom and Picturetel. You should check out their web sites & maybe talk to some tech support people at these companies.

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post #3 of 5 Old 01-18-2001, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply. I'll try and answer some of your questions.

1. The company in Minnesota doesn't have anything yet. I think this is good because we do not have to integrate old with new. Whatever we do on the Arizona side will be "duplicated" per-se on the Minnesota side.
2. I have to check into this. I _think_ they have access to DSL, but I am not sure of what speeds. What do you recommend for 800x600 at say 15-20 frames per second?
3. Budget at this point is pretty open. Being that this is a commercial application, I would assume the client understands that this could become substantial. As he said it, Flying to Minnesota twice a week adds up also.
4. This could be tough. Setup isn't an issue - we can do that. I doubt he wants to pay us to fix the system in Minnesota if there are problems.

Thanks again, I will check out these websites.

Dan





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post #4 of 5 Old 01-19-2001, 08:23 AM
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1. A similar system we're involved with uses a rear projection setup. If you've got the room this is probably best, plus you can throw all the gear back there too.

2. Both Sony and I believe Delco have black boxes that can run a video feed in and output Ethernet. They'll even create a webpage.

3. Since we'd be running Ethernet at this point I'd use a Panja NXI-ME and control the camera via RS-232.

4. Gentner AP800, I know the least about this section, but this piece dials the number for you, has RS232 control, has a mic input and line level out.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-19-2001, 09:00 AM
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Dan:

I continue to believe that a prepackaged solution from Polycom or Picturetel is your best bet. These solutions include audio (Polycom is by far the leader in full-duplex audio conferencing equipment), so you don't need to consider that separately. The high-end models also feature camera panning, which you mentioned.

It takes a lot of quality/reliable bandwidth to do video conferencing. Some of the models feature internet connectivity, but from what I understand, this has a lot of problems. Think about the quality of streaming video that you get on the internet (in my case, even with DSL, not that great). Streaming video is much easier to do vs. video conferencing because if uses buffers. Conferencing is real-time, so it can't be buffered. Having ISDN lines put in at your client's location and at the office in Minnesota will address this, as the bandwidth (even though only 128K) will be dedicated.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

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