Re: Home Videoconferencing (NOT Cusm)

Roger Lee Boston (rboston@tenet.edu)
Sat, 28 Jan 1995 16:34:43 -0500


You asked about POTS options.

I just this last week acquired the package you mentioned .. Sharevision
PC 3000 and am thrilled with its performance. Pricey at 1,599 but I can
be glad to have the windows version as the Mac will cost you 4,500 for
the same perfomance. In fact I liked what I saw so much I got TWO of
them to evaluate their applicability to distance education.

You will figure out that the prices may quickly drop this year when you
see what I got for my money (comes all in a box with neat artwork on the
outside and that familiar 'Creative Labs' look and feel) - why might the
prices drop? Look what came in the box:

(1) 28.8 fax/modem ........................... many people will already
have one.
(2) Tiny CCD Color Camera .................... many people will already
own a video camera
(3) Videoblaster card ........................ may not be needed if/when
Connectix (or someone else) puts out a camera that can bypass the
need for such a card
(4) Communications/compression board
(5) Earpiece headset/mic
(6) Video for Windows software ............... many people will already
have this
(7) Their Sharevision software

Over priced?
Maybe yes, but the performance is outstanding:

(1) All done on standard dialup POTS .. a home phone .. with no need for
the hassles and costs that go with ISDN, Fractional or full T1, or
internet paraphenalia
==> And I must say that many things now being done via T1 and ISDN
might very well profit to evaluate this product as a low cost
alternative.
==> If you think of this product as a great audio/graphics package
with live 2 way color tv thrown in, you'll have a pretty good
picture.
==> Right now the product is one-to-one .. but Creative labs is
said to be working on multi-connect and ISDN versions as well.

(2) Stunningly clear Audio .. virtually "FM" quality!
(3) 8-12 frames/second Color video in the communications windows WHILE
the sound is coming across
(4) Live applications of Windows software running onscreen at both ends
(5) "Whiteboard" live at both ends when you want it
(6) Outstanding Freeze screen and slow scan transfers - faster than I
would have believed and at high resolutions
...
_______________________
More, but that's enough. I teach PC and Windows software on campus here,
and also a data communications/ networking course, with 1 section ON
campus and TWO sections ONLINE via modem through our distance ed program.
For me this product is a dream come true -- we are going to spend the
Spring evaluating various delivery "formats" and give this product a
thorough shakedown. And of course I am most eager to hear the student's
candid reactions.

One format will have one Sharevision unit in our teleconference viewing
room, with the audio fed to the PA system and the video put up on the big
screen. This can work for dist ed reviews, for my lecture/demonstrations
of products like EXCEL, Word For Windows, GRAFNET network design
software, you name it. I can see/hear my students and trigger any event
to appear on our shared screens .. and they can hear me clearly and get
most of the visual cues they need along the way. I will be somewhere
else on the other unit .. I have a nice cabin in the Texas Hill Country
just 6 hours west of here and that sounds nice for starters!

And if that flies, what National Park might be too far away for
me to make my 'class'? There's always INMARSAT right?

Well, we'll see.

Roger Boston
Houston Community College System/College Without Walls