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Jan 16

Bring HD Video Conferencing to Your Home


One of the world’s leading companies in connected media platforms, Sigma Designs recently introduced tools that will allow you to experience HD home video conferencing. The company demonstrated its new tools at the CES 2012. The main components of the setup were a HD camera, a remote control and a console.

How does it work?

Essentially, the device combines the media processor technology of Sigma called SMP8670 with the video encoding system called PL330, and then combines it with video streaming services through a set top box. Sigma will provide OEMs (Original Equipment manufacturers), both the hardware and the software, to create the user interface. This interface will allow you to make the transition from watching videos to managing contacts, accessing video messages and participating in conference calls. All this will require a broadband connection and a television. The integrated HD camera will also allow users to record their videos and upload them on social networking sites.

Developing the product

In order to make this product a reality, Sigma Designs worked very closely with Microlink Communications and Chicony electronics which is the world’s largest digital camera producer. Microlink has been working towards developing a variety of wireless products and aims to deliver various video conferencing solutions, which can be submitted for certification to Skype, along with Sigma Designs.

The main reason for developing PL330 was to capture HD video so that it could be used for video calling through set-top boxes. Other purposes included VoIP devices, video conferencing, video phones, and connecting media players. One of the major plus points of PL330 is that it gives you high definition encoding (1080p) at an expense of 380mW. This power consumption is about half of what other products in the market offer.


The new tool by Sigma Design has a single chip design that is highly integrated. It also has a complete high definition encoder, which gives a great boost to the set-top box performance by allowing them to record and transcode H.264. Since the power consumption is so low, this device benefits the customers in two major ways. Firstly, they will be able to run video conferencing apps in HD through affordable HD cameras that will be USB powered. Secondly, users will be able to record HD videos on their set top box and then stream it directly to smart phones or tablets in their homes.

Video conferencing has been gaining importance both in business and consumer markets. Previously, only one-on-one video calling was possible through the devices present in your home. But now, Sigma Design’s solutions bring the video conference experience to your doorstep. And you will no longer be required to crowd people in front of a video camera. Skype has also shown signs of offering Skype TV for HD TVs. This means that in the near future video conferencing may become commonplace. For now, customers can try out the accessible sample version of Sigma Design’s video conferencing solution.

About the Author

Tom AbellPut simply, Tom loves technology! Having been involved in the IT world since leaving the US Navy Submarine Force in 1992, Tom has moved his way up to the top as an IT Systems Engineering. But having spent some time in the Home Automation industry early in his career, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating integrated Home Technology environments and has been running HTPCs and Windows Home Servers for years. With 17 years of IT Systems Engineering experience, Tom's recent OIF 08-09 deployment has rekindled his love for the Connected Home Industry and hence, the website. We hope you like the site, please share it with your friends and follow us on your favorite Social Networks! Read more about Tom on the "About Us" page.View all posts by Tom Abell

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Setup & Integration of Home Technology: Home Theater - Home Server - HTPC - Home Networks