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Cisco announced it is launching the newest addition to its video conferencing technology lineup today called Umi, a home video conferencing appliance designed for the typical consumer.

The device consists of a camera mounted to the top of a screen that can capture 1080p video at about 30 frames per second. The camera is connected to a set-top box that connects to the internet through either a wired connection or Wi-Fi and compresses the video. Umi needs upload speeds of around 1.5 megabits per second to transmit 720p video, and 3 megabits per second to transmit 1080p video.

Umi is connected between a set-top box and the television, so when a call comes up, it will notify the user with an on-screen alert and interrupt whatever the user is watching if they decide to answer the call. There are currently no plans to implement a picture-in-picture function in Umi that would allow callers to watch a show or sports event together, said Ken Wirt, Cisco’s vice president of consumer marketing.

The device will retail for around $600, and the service will cost an additional $25 a month. The device will be available in Best Buy stores starting November 14. Cisco is also going to sell Umi through Verizon starting next year. See the full video of how the device works below.


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