Cisco introduced umi telepresence, its first HD video conferencing product designed for consumer televisions. Cisco umi includes an HD camera and a broadband-connected console that users hook up to their television. Once the unit is connected, they can then make video calls to other umi users or Google video chat users, record video postcards for Facebook and YouTube, or manage contact lists and profiles via remote control. When users receive a video call or message when they're away from their TV, they can receive text message alerts that a video message awaits them. Video messages can be checked on remote PCs as well as on console.
Market Research firm Strategy Analytics today said the live video chat requires broadband with a minimum upload speed of 1.5Mbps, which only about one-third of US households currently have.
Verizon has been testing the service over its FiOS network, and expects to launch it to consumers when the devices ship later this year.
Cisco says it'll cost $599 for the unit, and carry a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited umi calls, video messaging and video storage. Umi is available for pre-order today directly from Cisco.