Just because meetings are boring doesn't mean they have to be low-res as well. Cisco's new TelePresence Meeting technology brings utter pixel overkill to the videoconferencing game with the new TelePresence 3000, which sports three 1080p flat panels on each end for use by up to 12 suits at a time. There's also a "low-end" TelePresence 1000 version, which just uses a single 1080p set on each end. The TelePresence 3000 setup includes special tables, microphone-speakers, cameras and lighting, but it'll cost you a cool $299k when it's released this December. Apparently that's a real bargain compared to HP's "Halo" setup, which is closing in on half a mil and requires $18k a month for service (Sony has 'em both beat with their $42k IPELA system), but it's still abundantly clear that TelePresence won't be making it into all but the ritziest board rooms. Luckily, that TP 1000 goes for a mere $79k, and neither system requires a monthly service fee -- though the 10 gigabit per second minimum bandwidth required is probably going to cost you $3-5k monthly per connected room. Still, all of this TelePresence action from Cisco is a sign of things to come, since the networking behemoth is slowly moving into the media and consumer spaces. They've got their sights set on consumer set-top boxes, so grandma can get her TelePresence on, and expect the videoconferencing industry to generate $1 billion in annual revenue before 2011. We're a bit skeptical, but with prices like these, at least they won't need to ship many widgets to hit that target.

[Thanks, J]

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