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Sony Rolls Out 720p HD Videoconferencing System for Education

Sony has announced the PCS-XG55, a new HD videoconferencing system designed for a wide range of applications, including education. The new high-definition system delivers up to 720p resolution and 60 frames per second.

The PCS-XG55 comes with the PCS-XG55S HD codec unit, the PCSA-CXG80 HD camera unit, PCS-A1 microphone, and PCS-RF1 RF remote commander. The company said it is backward-compatible with current models in Sony's videoconferencing line.

The unit uses BrightFace camera technology, which is designed to deliver high image quality and smooth video motion. The system also uses a newly developed real-time adaptive contrast optimization technology that uses brightness information in each pixel and optimizes the contrast in an image's bright and dark parts separately. The company said this is a key factor in creating clear pictures and optimal color tone for a range of room environments, including low-light and back-lit situations.

The system is also designed to offer effective collaboration tools with H.239 dual stream capability. Both video and presentation data can be transferred at 30 FPS, and users can send H.264 720/30p and H.264 XGA/30 FPS streams simultaneously. Both live camera view and animated PowerPoint data, for example, can be displayed in HD on two different screens or projectors at a remote site.

A video annotation function allows users to refer to specific parts in an image by writing on a tablet, for example. (The tablet capability requires an optional third-party pen tablet input device.) Other features include one-touch dialing from the RF remote commander, dual- and single-monitor modes, and an intuitive GUI with a translucent cascading menu architecture. In addition, Intelligent QoS control reduces video artifacts caused by packet loss, regardless of transmission distance, by applying three methods adaptively in accordance with network conditions: adaptive FEC (forward error correction); real-time ARQ (automatic repeat reQuest); and ARC (adaptive rate control).

The PCS-XG55 system will be available in April at a suggested list price of $5,899. Distribution in the United States will be handled by Spire Global.

About the Author

Denise Harrison is a freelance writer and editor specializing in technology, specifically in audiovisual and presentation. She also works as a consultant for Second Life projects and is involved with nonprofits and education within the 3D realm. She can be reached here.

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