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Sony's IPELA system: pricey HD video conferencing

Matt Burns

The in-laws have been pestering you to do a little video chatting so they can see their grandkids a bit more, right? But we're sure the thought of digging out the 'ol webcam from 2001 brings up repressed memories of jerky, tiny video chatting. Well Sony may have the solution -- albeit an uber-pricey one -- but still, it's a high-def solution in the form of its new IPELA package. The large pictured box (PCS-HG90) converts the captured HD video stream to H.264 (1,280 x 720 at 60fps) and shoots off the data to the receiving box via the Internet -- sending the video of your child's smiling face to his/her grandparents' HDTV. Plus, there isn't a cheap webcam in the system: Sony has bundled a 1.12 megapixel, 3CCD camera to get the best picture quality possible. While this system could theoretically work for remote family reunions, its $42,000 pricetag (you need two of each component, after all) would indicate that these units are aimed more towards the corporate market. Then again, you simply cannot put a price on your parents seeing every last feeding, diaper change, or spit up, now can you?

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