Monday, 03 November 2008
LifeSize Launches Conference 200 with 1080P Resolution and 720p 60 Frames Per Second with HPL Thoughts and Analysis
The new 200 series camera and codec, which also is also available in their LifeSize Team and LifeSize Room videoconferencing systems, raises the bar with respect to resolution with the ability to process video at either 1080p HD at 30 frames-per-second (fps) or 720p 60 fps HD technology overcoming the 720p 30fps limit of the last generation of LifeSize telepresence and video conferencing offerings.
LifeSize Graphic on their "Glass-to-Glass" Advantage
Additionally, 720p 30fps HD in the last generation consumed about 1 Mbps in bandwidth whereas the new 200 series codec has reduced bandwidth requirements by 25%, down to a DSL-capable speed of only 768Kbps per screen. The newer 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps HD modes consume 1.7 Mbps and 1.1 Mbps per screen respectively. The company claims the latency between camera, codec, and transmission has been halved over the previous generation of LifeSize solutions while running quieter and cooler than the original. A new video compression algorithm was largely responsible for this drop in bandwidth usage and latency, although other performance tunings helped like custom, faster processors and custom encoding hardware according to a conversation the Lab had with LifeSize today.
Multipoint & Video Network Infrastructure
The Conference 200 system can connect with up to three sites in "telepresence multipoint" where up to two life size participants are visible on each of the three screens. Each 200 series codec also includes a 6-way continuous presence MCU capability which allows for up to 4 visible sites on each screen (bandwidth permitting) in traditional videoconferencing "Hollywood Squares" multipoint format. The MCU fully transcodes all input signals, so the call will be modulated to accept the highest video quality available from each site.
Overview of LifeSize Video Network Infrastructure Offerings
All systems remain compatible with LifeSize's video network infrastructure offerings including ISDN gateway, streaming and recording, and firewall traversal.
The Conference 200 system supports up to three display HD monitors and another HD demonstration screen for presentations. In presentation mode, the old Conference camera would drop to 5 frames a second, not good enough for video. Now the conference mode of the Conference 200 can do 720p30, allowing collaborative data and full motion video.
New Camera... Same Standards Based Compatibility
Conference 200 also rolls out the newer LifeSize Camera 200, featuring a 2X digital zoom in addition to the original camera's 4X optical zoom. Interestingly though, these new cameras also use a standards-based universal HDMI cabling. Universal cabling enables the cameras to interface with other HD videoconferencing codecs. The new 200 series codec is fully standards-based, compatible with the newest H.264 standard.
LifeSize Room 200, Conference 200 and Team 200 are now available for order now with volume availability early November 2008.
HPL Thoughts and Analysis
LifeSize has launched a 1080p endpoint that sips bandwidth while cutting the end-to-end latency in half over the last generation of their offering which starts shipping next month. Teliris/Sony and Cisco have been shipping 1080p systems for a while but at much greater price points. (The TANDBERG T-1/C90 were announced in June and are supposed to ship this month) LifeSize has been making consistent progress in the videoconferencing market with 150% revenue growth annually, over 4000 customers, and 15,000 videoconferencing end points shipped globally. The company continues to innovate with consistent progress in improving the price/performance ratio for HD videoconferencing codec and camera technology with good interoperability and decent functionality in management, firewall traversal, and recording/streaming.
The New Conference 200
What We Liked
The Interoperability - Native interoperability with standards based H.264 codecs. How come Cisco can't do this yet?
More Options Wrapped Up with a Bow - The LifeSize Conference is definitely "some assembly required". We'd like to see a package (or even a menu of options) that wraps up the Conference with 4 monitors, table and chairs designed for the environment, lighting, etc. We like interactive whiteboards and visualizers as well and would love to see those in the line-up as well.
This article can be found on http://www.telepresenceoptions.com/