Sunday, April 15, 2012

Warpia offers improved video conferencing

4/15/2012

We’ve used Skype to get a tour of our son’s apartment in California and to greet a new baby in London, England.

But once we got comfortable with video gabfests, we soon wanted an easier and better connection. Our family members have to bunch up to get into the picture captured by the camera on my laptop computer. Sound and picture quality is a constant hassle. And, it would be nice to display video on our big TV without having to fuss with video cables.

When I tried Warpia’s ConnectHD, I got a video conferencing experience that was much improved on all counts.

For one thing, it’s wireless. ConnectHD will transmit a video call, slide show, PowerPoint presentation or any other content from your computer directly to a digital TV up to 30 feet away. The picture and sound travel from a tiny USB dongle that plugs into your computer to a combination receiver and camera that can park above your TV screen.

An HDMI cable connects the receiver to the TV and it stays put. You don’t have to string cables every time you want to have a video call on the TV. And the wireless connection supports the high-definition 1080p format, so the picture is always clean and clear.

The lens in the ConnectHD camera has a wide-angle view. That means everyone on your end of the conversation can get in the picture without bumping heads.

I set up the ConnectHD system in our kitchen using our 26-inch LCD TV and a Windows netbook computer. I installed Warpia’s software and had everything working in about 15 minutes.

The camera’s view took in the kitchen’s center island and most of the rest of the room and it’s built-in microphone picked up everyone’s voices. Nobody had to crowd around the TV or shout to be heard. Incoming audio also sounded much better coming from the TV than when we did Skype calls on the computer with its tiny (and tinny) speakers.

The ConnectHD system, including the USB transmitter and combination camera and receiver, costs about $200. It’s available at the Warpia’s website and through Amazon or other online sources.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.

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