Q1. What kind of things can you do with the HD Visual Communications System?
- The HD Visual Communications System lets you visually communicate with people in separate locations. You can have visual, two-way conversations with people in distant locations by using a TV, video camera, microphone and speakers. The system clearly displays facial expressions and gestures, allows users to share information, and achieves lifelike communication that makes it seem as if everyone was in the same room.
Q2. How can the HD Visual Communications System be used?
- There are a lot of uses that take advantage of the system's features. While the main uses are for executive meetings and regular conferences at companies, medical professionals can use the system to link large medical centres with remote regions and provide remote medical advice; educators can use it to conduct joint research by several research laboratories and provide remote classes; and manufacturers can use it to check conditions at faraway factories and confirm prototypes for new products.
Q3. Are there any differences in the advantages between audio conferences and HD Visual Communication?
- Unlike audio conferences, the HD Visual Communication lets you see natural facial expressions, which dramatically improves the quality of communication. The HD Visual Communication also gives you higher sound quality that's closer to the speakers' actual voices than audio conferences.
Q4. What types of devices and environment do you need to hold conferences with the HD Visual Communications System?
- You can begin with a set of HD Visual Communications Units, microphones, TVs, video cameras and network connections.
Q5. What kind of TV should you use?
- Use a full-HD compatible TV with HDMI input terminals and speakers.
Q6. What kind of video camera should you use?
- Use a full-HD compatible video camera equipped with an HDMI output terminal. If you're using a large conference room, we recommend that you use a wide conversion lens to increase the angle of view. If you're using an HD Communication Camera, camera controls for panning, tilting, zooming, etc., can be used.*
* The HD Visual Communications System used at all communicating sites must be Version 2.3 in order to enable camera control during communication.
* Cameras connected to the VC500 cannot be controlled. Note that cameras connected to the VC600/300 (Ver. 2.3) at the other parties' sites can be controlled from the VC500 (Ver. 2.3).
Q7. What's included with the HD Visual Communications System?
- The main unit and a remote control. The microphone is sold separately.
An HD Communication Camera is also included with the KX-VCPA600 and KX-VCPA300 HDVC PTZ Camera Packs.
Q8. Is it difficult to operate?
- No, it's very easy to operate, just like using a TV remote control.
Q9. Is it correct to classify the system comprised of these products as a video conference system?
- It's actually a visual communications system, which has changed the concept of conventional video conferencing by making it possible to show even the texture of materials in full-HD by simply connecting two ordinary digital video cameras.
Q10. What kinds of users would find the system especially effective?
- The system can be used by a wide range of users in companies, public agencies, and educational institutes. The high image quality, high sound quality, and sub camera capability that form the main features of the HD Visual Communications System clearly distinguish it from other-brand systems for the manufacturing, educational, and medical fields.
Q11. Currently, what types of companies have installed the HD Visual Communications System?
- A wide variety, ranging from manufacturing companies to educational institutes, have installed HD Visual Communications Systems. These systems can be used for various purposes, regardless of the size of the company. The number of connected locations also varies depending on the company.
Q12. What kind of cost reductions can be expected?
- You can expect reductions in travelling fees, accommodation fees, and personnel costs. You can also expect to see less fatigue and fewer CO2 emissions by cutting back on travel.
Q13. Were there any obstacles to overcome in developing the system?
- Yes, we had to solve the problem of providing high-definition visual communication even in best-effort Internet conditions where the bandwidth cannot be ensured.
Q14. In what respect is your product superior to those of other manufacturers?
- • Two parties can talk at the same time without any clipped audio (thanks to full duplex audio).
• You can use the system over an Internet connection. (Rate control by estimating the available bandwidth maintains the communication quality and prevents packet loss.)
Q15. Can PC content and movies be shared?
- Yes they can. Graphs and other presentation data displayed on your PC screen can be shown to the other party. Also, a composite image display that simultaneously shows a PC screen image and the other party's image is possible, so the other party's facial expressions can be seen while talking.* You can also share motion images that are recorded by a sub camera.
* The composite image display is only available when all sites begin sharing a PC screen using a Version 2.3 HD Visual Communications System.
* The composite image display cannot be used when MCUs or non-Panasonic video conference systems are connected.
Q16. How do you upgrade the software version?
- The version can be upgraded over a network, but the system is likely to be used frequently on closed, in-company networks. In this case, each system is connected to a PC for upgrading.
Q17. How do you operate the camera's zoom and pan functions?
- • The commercial video camera can be controlled by using the remote control that comes with the camera. (For HD Camcorders: zoom only).
• When an HD Communication Camera is connected, the HD Video Conferencing Unit remote can be used to control pan, tilt, zoom and preset recall* operations for both your camera and the camera at another party's site.
* Up to nine shooting positions and zoom sizes can be set and shifted by a single touch of the remote control during communication. Preset registration is possible only for your own site (and not during communication).
Q18. Will the interrupt function of a remote conference location work during communication?
- No, it will not.
Q19. Can you record the visual and audio content of a meeting?
- The HD Visual Communications System does not have a recording function, but the analogue signal that is output from the component terminal (YPbPr) can be videotaped.
Q20. Can you connect a projector?
- You can connect the HD Visual Communications System to an HD-compatible projector that includes full-HD output, using a DVI-D (with an HDMI --> DVI-D conversion cable) or analogue component signal.
Q21. Can the system send video output to multiple display devices? Can it output the camera image and the image on the PC screen to different display devices?
- You can connect the HDMI terminal and the component terminal to different display devices and display the same image to each device. It's not possible to display the camera image and PC screen image on different display devices.
Q22. Can you connect to videoconference units made by other manufacturers?
- You can connect with non-Panasonic videoconference units for which interconnection has been tested. AV communication protocol expansion using the optional KX-VCS101 Activation Key Card is necessary for the KX-VC500. Please ask your nearest dealer for details.
Q23. Can you connect a display or camera made by a different manufacturer?
- You can connect any display or camera that has an HDMI interface. In this case, though, we cannot guarantee the performance. Input resolution for the camera should be 1080i.
Q24. Can you run the system over a company's intranet?
- It could affect the company's network bandwidth. And this could in turn seriously affect the company's operations. We recommend that you newly set up a separate line.
Q25. Is it HDCP compliant?
- It's not compatible with the HDMI signal of components that have HDCP functional protection. For example, it cannot transmit the HDMI output of DIGA recorders.
Q26. Are there any security problems when connecting to the Internet?
- No, there aren't any problems because the data is encrypted by an AES function built into the unit. Even higher security can be gained by connecting to a VPN router.
Q27. Can you connect a microphone other than the Boundary Microphone?
- Yes, a mic can be connected to the RCA terminal. In this case, though, some settings need to be changed at the receiving terminal because the audio and video tend to get out of sync. The echo canceller is compatible with external audio input.
Q28. Is the HD Visual Communications System compatible with VIERA Link?
- No, it's not.
Q29. What do you mean by TFRC or "rate control by estimation of the available bandwidth"?
- TFRC is short for TCP Friendly Rate Control. It refers to calculating the transmission rate based on the predictable TCP throughput on the same channel.
Q30. How much delay is there?
- One-way: Less than 300 msec
Main unit delay (encoding/decoding): 200 to 220 msec
Camera/display delay: Approx. 60 msec
Transmission delay: Depends on connection
* Tokyo-Osaka: Approximately 6 msec with an optical connection
Q31. What is automatic rate control, forward error correction (FEC), automatic repeat request (ARQ), and decoder error hiding? Please give a simple explanation.
- Automatic rate control adjusts the data volume transmitted to the level of network congestion.
Forward error correction is a system that adds redundancy to the transmitted data to allow the receiver to detect and correct errors without having to ask the sender for additional data. (Error correction by time-consuming resending is not suitable for transmitting moving pictures, which requires real-time performance.)
Automatic repeat request is a system that notifies the sender when the network was unable to transmit data correctly and then retransmits only the unsent data. Because only the unsent data is retransmitted, the data volume transmitted over the network can be kept lower. (However, this system is not suitable for applications with a large network delay, because it takes time to request retransmission and retransmit the unsent data.)
Demarcation between forward error correction and automatic repeat request — Forward error correction is used for networks with a large network delay, and automatic repeat request is used for networks with a small network delay because of its smaller volume of redundant data (required data other than video and audio). Rather than choosing between the two methods, they are both properly balanced and used in response to the network delay.
Decoder error hiding refers to subjectively and discreetly modifying data packets where network transmission errors occurred that cannot be corrected by FEC or ARQ.
Q32. What are the differences between HD and SD image quality?
- The screen display area of HD images is 30% larger than that of SD images, and the resolution is about 2 to 9 times as high for HD images.
Q33. What happens when a microphone and the external audio input are used at the same time?
- Basically, the audio will be mixed. Settings can be made with a PC to adjust the input volume.
Q34. What are the special features of the Boundary Microphone?
- It is capable of picking up 360° stereo sound* in all directions. When the video camera is located in the same direction as the speaker and the microphone faces the speaker, it will pick up the sound coming from the right for the left channel and the sound from the left for the right channel, so that the audio will be heard from the same direction as in the video.
* 300° for the KX-VCA002
Q35. Can you install multiple Boundary Microphones?
- Yes, you can connect up to four Boundary Microphones in a cascade connection.*
* Not applicable for the KX-VCA002.
Q36. What is a stereo echo canceller? What is full duplex audio?
When audio was still monaural, there was only one channel between speaker and microphone; in stereo, we have 2 speaker channels and 2 microphone channels, that is, 4 channels in all. In the past, it had been difficult to correct stereo echo because estimating the amount of echo is four times more complicated than for monaural. Panasonic applied independent component analysis to uniquely improve an algorithm for echo cancellation, and developed a stereo echo canceller that is capable of accurately estimating stereo echo.
Full duplex audio: Audio amplified by the speaker is picked up by the microphone and returned. A system that turns off the microphone when the other party's audio is amplified by the speaker is called half duplex. On the other hand, a system where the other party's audio is continuously picked up by the microphone when amplified by the speaker, so that there are no gaps in the audio, is what is called full duplex.