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Chapter 4. hoosing Your Internet Phone E... > Beyond Standard Voice to Video

4.3. Beyond Standard Voice to Video

Don't get too excited, because the type of videophones you see on TV, with full motion support and incredible detail, aren't ready yet. However, if you miss someone and want to see their face, even if that face jerks around and the lips don't exactly sync with the sound, broadband video phones are ready.

Services advertise 30 fps (frames per second) to give the same smooth motion as television, but that's under only the absolute best circumstances. Many broadband phone services and computer accessory product makers have video options and products available. Vonage recently signed a partnership deal with Viseon (www.viseon.com). Logitech (www.logitech.com) has their VideoCall system ready to go. Polycom (www.polycom.com) has business systems that are affordable for small businesses and even individuals.

But the one I want to show you is the one that looks most like what I expect a video phone to look like: a phone with a screen and camera, shown in Figure 4-10. See what you think.

Figure 4-10. Cool phone, good price


You could argue a speaker phone would give a more natural look, and the unit does include an external microphone for just that purpose. You can also attach a larger display if you wish.

As I write this, the Packet8 videophone will only talk to other Packet8 videophones. Interoperability, or the ability for a video phone product from one vendor to work correctly with a similar product from a competing vendor, requires expensive equipment following high-end video-conferencing standards. These remain so expensive that many companies have avoided or abandoned their video-conferencing centers.

Don't let that stop you if you want to be a video phone pioneer. Check out Packet8 and the other companies flooding the market with web cameras and software to sync your headset voice to the image from the little camera sitting on your monitor. Look at this as an adventure.

Today, even bad video phone connections are impressive. So have fun and stick your tongue out at people telephonically.

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