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The Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam & H.264 Compression

Not long ago In-Store Solutions launched the Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam for Skype. I’ve had a number of webcams before, even one capable of real “HD.” I bought the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 last summer when I was trying the LifeSize Desktop video conference client. HD in this application means 1280 x 720 pixels.

So initially I thought that the Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam for Skype was less than exciting. Upon further investigation I find it very interesting for one specific reason; hardware acceleration of H.264 encoding.

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Video Conferencing & Volcanic Ash

The volcanic eruption in Iceland, and its associated ash cloud, has certainly been a major topic of discussion this past week. My brother and his wife were caught in France on vacation. Their two week skiing vacation has become three weeks, quite unexpectedly.

Further, while we were focused on the NAB convention in Las Vegas three of my UK-based associates ended up extending their stay in the US by over a week, unable to get flights home. I suspect that I’m not the only one wishing that we had pushed forward with our plans to install room type video conference systems in Cambridge and Burbank. Those systems would certainly have been very handy this week.

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Netflix Streams On TivoHD, in HD

tivohd_wremote_rf_300rgb440Early in 2008 when Netflix officially dropped support for HD-DVD I thought that I’d have to terminate our Netflix account. We were getting HD-DVDs routinely, but had no plans to migrate to Blu-Ray. Still don’t really. However, my wife had been enjoying downloads from Amazon’s Unboxed service, even if they were all SD and marginal image quality. It was a suitable substitute for Comcast Pay-Per-View which you simply can’t use on a TivoHD because of cable card issues.

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Comcast Trouble Resolved With Help From Their Tweeple

I was incensed as a result of the past weeks trouble with the cable card swap that Comcast imposed. After considerable time spent on the phone in the afternoon I detailed the situation in a blog post early last evening. At the point when I wrote that post we had no clear path to solution, just the promise that someone would call us back.

Shortly after the blog post went live a twitter message was automatically sent to highlight that post. This caught the attention of @comcastcares, which is Frank Eliason, Director Of Digital Care at Comcast.

Frank & his staff are based in Philadelphia PA. The fact that Comcast has been using Twitter to stay on top of customer service has been known for some time. I had some cursory interaction with them during the long service outage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

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HD-DVD Lives On!

On our last trip to Fry's I was shocked and amazed to see a considerable inventory of HD-DVD media still on the shelves. Not only was there a great selection but the prices were good. Apparently this phenomenon is not…

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VoIP Users Conference Friday, Nov 7: Wideband Telephony

What’s Happening This Friday?

The VoIP Users Conference weekly call on Friday, November 7, 2008 is all about wideband telephony. That is, using VoIP to deliver call quality vastly superior to the normal public telephone network (PSTN.) Our guest will be David Frankel, CEO of ZipDX, a commercial conferencing service that is specializing in wideband conference calling for businesses.

As usual anyone may join the call which gets underway at 12 noon EST on the Talkshoe conference service. That conference service can be reached by dial-in over the PSTN or by SIP URI. Details on how to connect to Talkshoe by various means can be found here.

For this one call only we will also be using the ZipDX wideband conference bridge. ZipDX and Talkshoe will be connected so that everyone will be on the call. Anyone connected to the ZipDX bridge using a suitable phone will be able to experience the call in G.722-based wideband quality.

Everyone else will experience the normal G.711 based narrowband conference quality that we all know and (despise) love.

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