Cisco unveiled the rumored video conferencing system for the living room. The Cisco umi connects to an existing HDTV and a broadband internet connection to create a video communications experience that is so clear, natural and lifelike, that users will see and hear their loved ones, right down to the twinkle in their eyes and the tone of their voices, as if they were in the same room.
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Cisco umi, which includes an HD camera, a console and a remote, takes advantage of Cisco's heritage in business telepresence, to deliver an immersive video experience that fits into every home, automatically adjusting to lighting conditions and various room sizes to provide superior video and audio performance. Once Cisco umi is connected to an HDTV and a wired or wireless broadband connection, a remote control provides access to an on-screen user interface, through which users can make umi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customize their profile and settings.
Users can also record their own umi videos, which they can share on Facebook, on YouTube, or via email. Users can even keep in touch with people who don't have ūmi by placing and receiving video calls from any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.
Cisco umi is scheduled to be available for preorder on Oct. 6 from umi.cisco.com and Oct. 18 from bestbuy.com. It is scheduled to be available to consumers on November 14 in Best Buy/Magnolia Home Theater stores, bestbuy.com and umi.cisco.com for the suggested retail price of $599 with a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited umi calls, video messaging and video storage.
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Cisco video conferencing system are definitely top notch, but why is there a monthly fee? For a consumer product the $599 price is already pushing it, but to pay each month for using it is not going to fly. I suggest to get the HD Video camera for the Logitech Revue Google TV box instead. The video conferencing quality might not be as great as the Cisco umi delivers but there are no monthly fees.