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Surround Sound Bars & DIY Video Conference Systems: Vidyo or Vaddio?

Sharp-LCD42D62U-HDTVIt’s come to my attention that in recent times “Surround Sound Bars” have exploded in popularity. That’s “sound bar” as in a form of home-theatre-sound-in-a-box, not a smoky dive where musicians perform strange music. Sound bars are now so popular that they are impacting sales of more traditional HTIB solutions. I’ve come to see some parallels between surround sound bars and DIY video conference room systems, an idea that first came up earlier this year.

As I have mentioned previously, we don’t have a traditional surround-sound system in support of our HDTV. Our 42” Sharp Aquos HDTV was the largest that they offered with built-in speakers…which is all that we felt we required at the time.

In truth, it was the display size and resolution that mattered most when we made the purchase decision. In the middle of the last decade most 40”-ish HDTVs still only resolved 720p. Since my Mrs tended to watch more CBS than the other networks it made sense to get a HDTV capable of resolving 1080i.

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Webcams 2: LifeSize Desktop & The Logitech C9000

The first post in this series on webcams was historical. This one is as well, but it highlights the performance offered by the very first HD-capable webcam that was recommended for use in UC/video conference solutions.

logitech-webcam-pro-c9000There was a time when I was pursuing the ability to deploy HDVoice for my home office. If this were possible then it would improve not only my working life, but also that of my US co-workers.

This little quest harkens back to the summer of 2008. The idea was inspired by some time spent using the then newly released new Polycom SoundPoint IP550 & IP650 desk phones. Small Net Builder had asked me to review those phones and I found that using them was positively addictive.

While I might have the lovely Polycom hardware there was no way that I could convince my employer to replace our existing IP phones en masse. At the time they had around a dozen older SoundPoint models in service.

However, some  of our staff also used soft phones on Windows laptops. I saw this as a way to sneak HDVoice into the operation for minimal cost. The trick was to find a good, G.722-capable soft phone for a reasonable price.

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Doorbots Are On The Move

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The DoorBots are coming! I was pleasantly surprised to see Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor of Edison Jr, in a video posed to their Facebook page. Jamie is announcing the fact that DoorBot is actually shipping, which…

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CNET On 4K & OLED TVs

CNET’s “The Next Big Thing” is a brand new show. They recently did an interesting segment on the coming wave of 4K/Ultra-HDTV and OLED display technologies. Even though I don’t entirely agree with some of their conclusions it’s not a bad primer on the subjects. It’s well worth the few minutes that it takes to give it a look.

 

I’ve long held that OLED in particular holds great potential. The picture quality offered by OLED can be outstanding. So much so that Sony has offered a line of professional OLED displays, even winning a Technical EMMY in 2012.

Priced at a whopping $26K, the BVME250A is the 25” model at the top of Sony’s present Trimaster EL lineup. In 2011 it won the Hollywood Post Alliance Engineering Excellence Award.

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How To: Creating Great Quality Screencasts

Making screencasts Lenovo X1 Carbon HP DesktopSeveral times over the past few weeks I’ve had to create screencasts or asked to advise how they are best created. There are a variety of approaches to this task, but I’ve found that my preferred technique is perhaps uncommon, and worth sharing.

Over the years there have been many times when screencasts were the most appropriate method for conducting user training or addressing specific support issues. At different times I’ve used various software tools in these pursuits. Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio was the most common solution in years past, although Adobe Captivate was also notable.

More recently I’ve sought a lower-cost solutions and settled upon the freeware CamStudio as a passable solution. CamStudio is apparently the open source progenitor of Camtasia Studio.

There are also a myriad of free, online services that do their magic by way of a browser downloadable applet. I have little experience of these as I prefer another approach entirely.

As in other matters, I’ve long held the belief that a more hardware-centric approach can hold a distinct advantage. This has become increasingly true as common PC screen resolutions have come into alignment with frame sizes common in HD video production. A screencast that looks as good a broadcast TV is likely going to be more than adequate.

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