Ciscos’s Umi is a consumer oriented living room HD teleconferencing system whose name suggests a YOU-me pronunciation that shows its family oriented nature. To take advantage of it you need a range of Cisco hardware, like an HD camera with a microphone, an HD TV and obviously, broadband. Cisco’s software is built to optimize voice quality from the internal camera microphone and through the web transmission.
A specially made remote lets you easily make the video calls and send video messages, but it also gives you control over a contact list, contact profiles, and program settings. It can also record videos to be uploaded to Facebook and Youtube, although it’s not clear if it can do the uploading directly or if you need to perform it manually through a computer.
Umi has VoIP integrated, and works well especially with Google video chat. It can block certain callers, it can be fully locked, or the video stream can be stopped while leaving the audio on, when you don’t feel like being seen. Umi will be available starting November 14 at Best Buy, but you can preorder it now. The Cost is $599 for the hardware, with a $24.99 monthly fee on top of that.