Review: Affordable videoconferencing for real conference rooms

- Apr 07, 2017-

    With integrated AV gear now routine on notebooks, desktops, and mobile devices, third-party videoconferencing products generally support small groups whose participants can be captured by wide-angle or swiveling cameras atop audio gear. But unless you're willing to spend a small fortune on elaborate telepresence systems, there's little available for slightly larger groups at larger tables -- say, up to 10 folks seated in a boardroom or midsize conference room.

    The Tenveo TEVO-HD9620B tackles these scenarios with a high-performance camera  connects to a PC or Mac via 

 USB3.0 cable. 


    At $548, TEVO-HD9620B is a lot more excellent than most third-party webcams. TEVO-HD9620B 2.1 mega effective pixel, 1/2.8 HD color CMOS sensor1080P/60video output (1920X1080). It ensures high definition, while focusing on meeting the needs of the screen fluency.The TEVO-HD9620B works with any videoconferencing software that runs on Windows or Mac computers, from corporate UC applications (such as Microsoft Lync) to free apps such as Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, and Skype. It comes with a remote control that can adjust video up to about  3 meters away. 

    Setup in my tests went smoothly, although hooking up the many cables -- from camera to hub, speaker/mic unit to hub, AC adapter from hub to outlet, and hub to a Windows 8 notebook -- was a bit time-consuming. Once everything was linked, I merely had to go into the notebook's or videoconferencing app's settings to choose the conference camera  TEVO-HD9620B speakers, and microphone.

    In Skype, the camera by default chose a panoramic view of the conference table (the field of view is 90 degrees). But one of the camera's best features is the ability to pan (up to 260 degrees), tilt (up to 130 degrees), and zoom in on (up to 10x lossless zoom, per Logitech) individuals or objects such as whiteboards.

With support for 1080p video at 60 frames per second and video processing handled by the camera itself, the TEVO-HD9620B delivered smooth video. Depending on the bandwidth available for video streaming and the hardware on the receiving end, it sometimes took a few seconds for the fully detailed image to appear remotely, but overall the image quality was quite good.

     The product comes with hardware for mounting the hockey-puck-sized hub underneath a table and for mounting the camera on a wall, though the latter might cause problems when you're running the cable to the hub (you don't want people tripping over the cable). One reason to consider wall-mounting the camera is the line-of-sight requirement for the remote: If the camera isn't elevated, it's too easy to block the signal with random objects on the table (say, a coffee mug or backpack).

    Overall, the TEVO-HD9620B delivers reasonably well on its mission to make audio and video from meetings in a midsize room accessible to remote participants. Users may experience a bit of lag during camera view changes, managing cable clutter may be an issue in some locations, and a companion control app for PCs and mobile devices would be a welcome addition. But if you're looking to bring videoconferencing to a conference room, the TEVO-HD9620B does the job at a fraction of the cost of a high-end telepresence system.

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