Video teleconferencing is nothing new to mainstream technology. The ability to share a video feed along with audio has helped corporations and businesses alike close the gap between great distances. Anyone that has experienced a conference call knows that being able to associate a name with a face allows the “conference” to be a lot more productive. Unfortunately for just about everyone, video teleconferencing is a very expensive luxury that usually has only been available to companies willing to pay the five figure investment required. Now D-Link, the company that seems to consistently wow us with their ability for innovative products and affordable prices, has given the public, and not just private sector, the ability to enjoy teleconferencing for our homes or small businesses at a price we can actually afford.
The i2eye DVC-1000 VideoPhone is a broadband appliance that delivers IP based videoconferencing that connects into your broadband connection (Cable, DSL, etc) and into a television set with RCA inputs. The i2eye VideoPhone allows you to talk to anyone in the entire world via videoconferencing at a very smooth 30 frames per second. The audio and video quality are amazing considering the price tag – each i2eye unit retails for $299, a bargain compared to the five-figured solutions currently on the market.
Installation of the i2eye was extremely easy. Those of you using firewalls or routers with built in firewall protection will need to configure the firewall to allow the i2eye for access, which won’t be a problem for those of you with extensive IP configuration experience. For you neophytes out there, it isn’t simple, but you won’t be banging your head against the wall, and again, if you aren’t using a firewall you won’t have any problems setting the puppy up. All aspects of the i2eye are configured using the included remote control unit, and does not require a PC to setup. Standard RCA type audio/video cables connect the i2eye unit into your television and a standard Ethernet cable plugs the unit into your router or straight into your broadband device.
The technology behind the i2eye unit is the latest in ITU standards for video conferencing. Using the H.323 protocol for video streaming over the internet allows the i2eye to connect to other devices (not necessarily another i2eye, so you’re not “forced” to buy another unit) that use this standard protocol for video conferencing. This includes the very popular Microsoft NetMeeting for web-based video conferencing. The memory inside the i2eye also allows you to store 10 “numbers” (IP addresses) as a type of phone book.
The DVC-1000 i2eye is a complete solution onto itself. All you really need is two of these things and you and anybody else in the world can see and talk to each other. The practical use of this product is quite obvious – families wishing to remain in contact but aren’t satisfied with poor PC-web-based videoconferencing, business wanting to consistently hold video teleconferences without blowing a huge budget, or anyone wanting to get involved with video conferencing would do well with this product.
We were lucky enough to try out the product with D-Link themselves, and held a videoconference with their people in Irvine (our offices are in San Diego, about 80 miles away). The videoconference was very impressive and the quality of the video and audio was consistent with the six-figure teleconferencing equipment I used when I was employed with CompUSA corporate a few years ago. The audio is “one-way” (i.e. half-duplex) but if you attach any phone into the i2eye unit, it supports the full-duplex mode. The warranty associated with the i2eye is a 1 year warranty with free 24/7 technical support (and their tech support has won awards from us for their helpfulness in the past).
Overall, the i2eye DVC-1000 product is amongst the most innovative and useful products we’ve seen in years. If you or your organization, or family, or best friend who lives in Winnipeg wants to video-conference, this unit is the first place you should look for a solution. Considering the price tag against the competition, the quality of the video, the easy set-up and installation, there’s no questioning the value associated with this product. This is a hands down superior product, winner of an editor’s choice award.