What is the difference between Standard Def and High Def videoconferencing?

If you have cable or direct satellite service in your home and you upgraded your service to include high definition you can clearly see the difference.   If you watch the Golf Channel you can see in detail the grass blades on the putting greens.  You can see how our newscasters aged right before your eyes as you can now see every wrinkle their faces.

Videoconferencing is no different – You will see details clearly at the other end.  Three things determine high definition video conferencing. First the camera needs to be a high definition camera.  Most of your web cams are high definition cameras used on the desktop and notebook computers.   In the board room or conference room, stand alone video conferencing CODECs, (video conferencing systems), has a high definition camera.  The second requirement is bandwidth. You can do quality standard definition video conferencing at 384kbps.   High definition video conferencing requires a minimum of 768kbps.  If you include collaboration, i.e. showing computer input, your bandwidth requirement doubles in any event.  Keep in mind that you need high definition cameras, CODECS and enough bandwidth at both end points to have a high definition video conferencing call.   The third requirement is the flat panel display.   These days it is difficult to find a flat panel display that doesn’t accommodate high definition.

Bandwidth is continually getting more efficient and cost more competitive. Over time high definition video conferencing will certainly be expected.   This being said, audio is the most critical part of the video conference whether you are using standard definition, SD or high definition, HD video conferencing.  One of the most compelling studies done on video conferencing includes a test that degraded the video quality and increased the audio quality and conversely in another call, decreased the video quality and increased the audio quality.  Participants perceived that the videoconferencing quality was much better on the call with the increased audio quality and decreased video quality.  The conclusion here is that standard video conferencing with quality audio is still very much viable and useful and uses much less bandwidth.

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