System Components

videoconferencing setup


Videoconferencing Codec Unit

The Codec is the “BRAIN and HEART” of the Videoconferencing System. It is also known as the Coder-Decoder. This component takes the video and audio from the camera and microphone or audio sub-system and COmpresses it down, transmits it over an IP network (Or legacy ISDN digital phone circuit) and expands (or DECompresses) the incoming video and audio signal so that it can be viewed on a display device.


The camera types range from a small USB camera that sits on top of a computer monitor in an inexpensive desktop system to a High Definition camera that has remote control pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) features in a small group or conference room-sized system. In addition to the primary conferencing camera optional secondary, document, and specialized camera are available. HD cameras are preferred and offer both the largest images and highest resolutions.
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Microphone – (or Conference Phone Sub-System)

Many of the desktop conferencing units come with small USB or analog microphones that attach to a Personal Computer. Most group and room videoconferencing systems come with an analog microphone pod designed to work best with a small group of people. On intermediate systems a gated array of digital microphones in the form of a conference phone is used and will work with integrated software to enhance the audio capabilities of the system. In larger venues separate audio echo-cancellation systems with numerous microphones can be connected to the system to help with larger group interaction.
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Video Display – (HD Plasma or LCD Display, LCD/DLP Projector XGA PC Type Display)

These display devices are options that can be used to show the images received from the videoconferencing codec. Videoconferencing systems can use multiple displaying options. Desktop systems show the video in a small window on the computer monitor. Intermediate and large venue visual communication systems can have multiple display devices and present multiple endpoint locations and data simultaneously. High Definition display devices between 720p and 1080i are the preferred options and offer the best resolution with up to 20% more picture area than standard definition display devices.
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Network Connection

This is the connection that carries data between video systems communicating with one another. The size of the connection and the ability to access it in a consistent manner, determines both video performance and quality of service. Most High Definition videoconferencing systems require 1M of symmetric bandwidth. Typically any quality broadband IP network connection can be used for successful videoconferencing. Legacy ISDN networks are still in use in some rural areas but limit the ability to transfer HD video effectively.

When making your connectivity selection, we urge you to get the highest available symmetric bandwidth available in your area. Often times cable modems and DSL circuits are sufficient for small business and/or home office environments. At minimum we suggest a T1 circuit with 1.5M of bandwidth for a business location. In the bandwidth game…bigger is always better.
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Stands & Equipment Carts

Your room aesthetics are usually improved by having all your equipment neatly organized in one spot. Typically, you would place your flat panel display, codec and camera on top of a cart and below you have a cabinet to hold other equipment, like a PC, DVR, Surge Suppressor, Switcher…etc. There are numerous options available to house your visual communication system and its’ ancillary devices. PicturePhone offers a complete solution from our FreeFlight camera mounting shelves and platforms to our FlatMagic carts and integrated wall systems.
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Conference Room Lighting

High Definition visual communications require the use of diffuse directional lighting of a specific intensity and color temperature. Typical fluorescent office lighting is inefficient in a conferencing environments. It is poorly located, of inadequate intensity and is the wrong color temperature. Specialized videoconferencing lighting is suggested and will make your HD systems perform at their best. The newest HD cameras also require more light to function properly.
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NT-1 (for use with ISDN systems)

These little electronic devices are called terminal adapters and convert ISDN into a format your conferencing system can use. You need one for each ISDN line that you bring into your system. The NT-1 for example, terminates 1 ISDN line while the NT-3 will terminate 3 lines.
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Chicken Feet (for use with ISDN systems)

No conference environment is truly complete without acoustic echo cancellers hung form the ceiling. These structures resemble large chicken feet and are typically placed at 6 to 8 foot increments along your suspended ceiling grid in a hexagonal pattern. The Red-Rooster brand of harmonically balanced chicken foot sound suppressors provide up to 30db attenuation in typical office environments and add both depth and clarity to the resonant frequency response of your audio sub-system.
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