US firm releases low-cost desktop videoconferencing software

Hoping to make desktop video conferencing software a product for the masses, Cinecom this week has released CineVideo/Direct with a price tag starting at less than US$40.

CineVideo/Direct runs on Windows 3.1, Windows NT, and Windows 95, and offers video, audio and text communications over analog phone lines, the Internet, Integrated Services Digital Network connections, and local-area networks, say officials with the Woodbridge, Virginia-based company.

Cinecom has developed its own software compression algorithm to be capable of sending and receiving large amounts of data without degrading the video quality, officials say. With a 28.8Kbit/s connection, the software offers video streams at six frames per second on average, they say.

The image that a CineVideo/Direct user receives from the other end of the connection is scalable to full screen, officials say. A chat window is also part of the connection, so that users can send text messages back and forth.

The software program is priced at US$39.95. Cinecom is also selling a package that includes the software, a black and white camera, and a microphone for US$149.95. A colour camera, video and audio board and microphone will cost US$699.95.

Cinecom is at http://www.cinecom.com/.

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