Midrange telepresence systems marry high quality with affordability
The Polycom QDX 6000 and the LifeSize Express 200 deliver a high-quality face-to-face experience at a price any company will find appealingFollow @infoworld
In the most basic scenario, you plug in the supplied wide-view camera and two wideband microphones, attach an Internet cable and power, and add your own wide-screen monitor (I used a Samsung 32-inch 6 Series high-definition LCD television connected using component video cables). With these five connections, the system was operational in less than five minutes.
Further, the main system, which can be placed on a table top or mounted in a rack cabinet, provides outputs for standard 4:3-format televisions and VGA computer monitors or projectors. Inputs from computers, other video cameras, VCRs, DVD players, and audio mixers are all accepted.
The system automatically gets an IP address and leads you through the minimum configuration steps to place a call, which is done from the remote control. More extensive system configuration, such as monitor setup and advanced network settings, is performed from a Web interface.
From start to finish, I was conferencing in less than 10 minutes. In everyday use, you should be able to call others and enter a secure conference in a few seconds.
I was impressed with several other aspects of the QDX 6000. To begin, the studio-quality camera's performance is amazing, with sharpness and low-light color quality found in video cameras that could cost $3,000 alone. The 12X optical zoom let me zero in on people or items on the desktop; zooming, panning, and tilting (using the remote) was extremely smooth and fast.
The compact remote control is equally easy to use because of clearly labeled buttons and on-screen prompts that are readable from across a room. For example, with one press you can store (or recall) up to 100 preset camera positions, select a video source, or view far and near sites side-by-side.
Alternately, a free Polycom application (People+Content IP) lets you display the screen of a Windows computer to meeting participants without plugging the video output of the PC into the Polycom QDS 6000 system. To use this feature, all I did was load the software, enter the name of the conferencing system and password, then press the Graphics icon on the remote.