Cisco Systems is introducing an expensive residential
videoconferencing system, dubbed "umi," that can deliver up to 1080p
high-definition pictures -- a system that, if widely adopted, would
stress the upstream capacity of many cable and DSL broadband networks.
at least initially, the umi will be a pricey option, limiting its
mass-market appeal. The product, to ship in mid-November, will carry a
suggested retail price of $599, plus a monthly fee of $24.99 for
unlimited calls and up to 100 minutes of video-message storage.
Cisco umi requires a broadband connection with a minimum upload speed
of 1.5 Mbps for video calls in standard-definition, and 3.5 Mbps
upstream for 1080p HD calls. For cable, upload speeds have been an
Achilles' heel, with upstream DOCSIS connectivity typically limited to
the 5-42 MHz range.