Video Conferencing: A Growth MarketBy Reuters | Print
Cisco has rolled out an HD video conferencing system to the home market, priced at $599 for a console and camera, that works with the user's existing HD TV.
Cisco already sells a high-end videoconference system for businesses. These systems, often built to simulate boardroom-like settings, can cost around $300,000 per unit. They feature high-quality video and sound, with limited delays, making users almost feel like they are meeting in person.
Despite initial skepticism over whether many businesses would pay so much, particularly in a weak global economy, TelePresence has become one of Cisco's fastest-selling products as companies seek ways to save on travel costs. Its recent acquisition of Norway's Tandberg also made it the world's leader in videoconferencing systems.
The company had made no secret of its ambition to replicate that success in the consumer market, and Chief Executive John Chambers repeatedly vowed to come out with a cheaper version.
While Cisco has not yet established itself as a consumer brand, it wouldn't be its first foray into the living room. It has acquired home router maker Linksys, cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta, and more recently, the company that makes the Flip video camera.
Cisco has also been advertising itself heavily in the past year, through product placements in shows like 30 Rock and advertisements using actress Ellen Page.