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Tandberg announces Profile, a high-quality videoconference system

It’s not telepresence, but it’s not priced like telepresence, either

By , Network World
January 28, 2009 12:07 AM ET

Network World - Tandberg is introducing a high-definition videoconferencing system that falls short of the total-immersion telepresence experience provided by some of its other products, but it also costs significantly less.

Profile, a videoconferencing system that includes a new codec, a camera, video displays, microphones, speakers and a remote control, is designed for deployment in team meeting rooms. The components mount in an aluminum housing that has a back cover so no wiring is exposed. (Compare Unified Communications products.)

The company describes the Profile system as providing high-definition conferencing as opposed to telepresence. The differences include the maximum screen size, the number of inputs the gear can support, the video resolution and the number of sites that can be linked during a session.

Profile also doesn’t include matching furniture and backdrops that promote the illusion that participants at distant sites are just across the table.

Profile with one screen costs $38,900 whereas Tandberg’s low-end telepresence system costs $69,900.

The system will compete against gear made by Polycom and Lifesize, says Roopam Jain, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan. Midsize businesses looking to use videoconferencing will be drawn to the Tandberg Profile, particularly businesses involved in education and telemedicine, she says.

The new Profile system is built around a new video codec called C60, a slimmed down version of the C90 telepresence codec introduced last year.

The C60 base model included in the Profile system supports four high-definition inputs total; three simultaneously. The base model also supports up to four sites, each with its own transcoder at up to 720p, not the full HD 1080p. A separate premium resolution package boosts that to 1080p.

Tandberg also sells the C60 codec separately for $21,900.

Profile supports either single 42-inch or 52-inch video screens or two 52-inch screens. Tandberg telepresence systems support 65-inch displays. The dual-screen Profile system displays participants on one screen and other input, such as presentations, on the other.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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