HP launches SkyRoom HD videoconferencing system

HP has announced the availability and pricing for SkyRoom, its HD video conferencing system for workstations.First shown in March, SkyRoom has been in beta since - but is now available for download for $149.

HP has announced the availability and pricing for SkyRoom, its HD video conferencing system for workstations.

First shown in March, SkyRoom has been in beta since - but is now available for download for $149. It will be bundled for free on HP workstations, with other platforms getting a 90-day trial version.

SkyRoom "is basically a codec", Jeff Wood, director of worldwide marketing for workstations at HP, told a breakfast conference at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday.

"The video and image engine brings high fidelity to the desktop, as if you're face to face with your colleagues, and share rich media, rich videos, and high end 3D apps. The secret sauce is a HD codec developed over the years that can take info from host system. It's very good. It's been used by NASA on the Mars Rover program."

The software supports up to four simultaneous participants at up to 960x720 pixels, at up to 24 frames a second. 1 Mbps or above bandwidth is recommended, and the software uses AES encryption.

HP says that the sotware needs an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33GHz or equivalent processor with 2GB RAM, a webcam and Windows XP or Vista. The company says of Windows 7 compatibility that they're "waiting until October".

Unlike other HD videoconferencing systems such as Skype, SkyRoom does not traverse firewalls: to connect across a corporate firewall, the remote system must be on the company VPN.