High Definition Video Conference Options

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: April 29, 2011

Ever mindful of the bottom line, companies have looked at every area of their budgets in order to decrease costs. An alternative to travel budgets is to conduct meetings through video conferencing. However, quality has been an issue. For the most part, video conferencing has been like watching your old standard definition TV. Thankfully, those days are no more. High Definition video conferencing now exists, and companies can move to this technology to take advantage of the benefits this technology offers.

Standard Definition versus High Definition

For those of you with High Definition televisions and Blu-ray players, you know that the difference between watching something in standard definition and HD is night and day. When watching a television in HD, the individual whiskers on a man’s face become visible, something standard definition doesn’t even come close to showing. Watching movies in HD is like watching them again for the first time. You see things that you didn’t see before. HD video conferencing offers the same kind of experience. You’ll see things that you never saw before in a video conference.

Looking Through a Window

The best meetings are those that are conducted face to face, where the participants can see each other's faces and see the expressions every person at the meeting has. In the world of standard definition, people sitting closest to the camera have been the ones most visible, but every expression hasn’t always translated over the video feed. Those sitting farther away in many cases were simply flesh colored blurs. You knew who you were talking to, you could hear their voices…but it wasn’t the same as if all of you had been sitting around the same table.
All of this changes in the world of HD video conferencing. The experience of looking at the monitor is akin to looking through a window. Everyone in the meeting is clearly displayed. You can see all of their faces and make out all of their expressions. It’s the closest you’ll come to sharing the same room.

More than Faces

The experience brings to light more than just faces, though. Remember sitting in a video conference with standard definition and trying to read something that someone on the other side had just written on a white board? Reading what is on the white board is difficult, if not impossible. Perhaps you’ve just experienced something like this in the last few days. This inconvenience is remedied by HD as what is written on the white board becomes clear and readable to those watching on a monitor.
At this point, you can use your imagination as to what other things can be shared. Perhaps you’ve had to pass around a diagram during a meeting but never held it up to the camera because you knew those on the other side wouldn’t be able to make it out. That issue doesn’t exist in the HD world.

What It All Means

So, what does all of this mean to a business that currently has a standard definition setup and is considering going to HD? Video conferences will become more productive. The more it feels like a gathering in a single room, the more effective the meeting will be. You’ll no longer be held back in the HD world like you were in the SD one.
 

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