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D-Link DVC 1000 i2eye videophone: The review

Full-fledged videoconferencing has never been a hit for the home market, but DLink has brought the technology to the consumer public. The DVC 1000 i2eye is a fully self-contained videoconferencing unit, with the ability to plug one end straight into a television set, and the other into a broadband internet connection. At half the size of a VCR, it is designed to sit on top of the television as a set-top box, and all settings can be controlled remotely.

Hardware

 Specs
Product
  • ARM-9 ASIC Communication Processor
  • Audio Out
  • Video Out
  • Speed Dial List (10 Entries)
  • Video Monitor
  • Voice Only to / from Voice over IP Endpoints

D-Link
Approx $300 USD
Hardware setup is a breeze, as the Ethernet plugs directly into a broadband connection or router, and the RCA cable into the television set’s AV inputs. All required cables, including CAT 5 ethernet, RCA AV cables and AC adaptor are included in the package. It should be noted, however, that i2eye supports DHCP and static IP address. Because many broadband providers use PPPoE, as was my case, a router may be required to assign an IP address for the unit.

As for software setup, the wizard-like interface can guide anyone through the simple configuration and get the system working in no time. Upon turning the unit on, the first thing it will do is look for an IP address, and log in to the DLink server. You may enter your personal information, and assign yourself a phone number so that other users can reach you. Depending on your network settings, you may or may not need to configure your IP settings. The first option is to “obtain IP address automatically”, and if that is not possible, then it may be configured manually. From that point if you want to setup a video call, you will need to enter the second party’s IP address, or use the handy phonebook feature to dial phone numbers linked to IP addresses on the DLink server. These numbers may be dialled using the remote control, or directly through any touch-tone phone plugged into the set.

Under ideal conditions, the DVC 1000 delivers quite impressive video. Depending on the Internet connection, a maximum resolution of 352x288 is possible, and in my tests, the average frame rate was about 15 fps, although the maximum supported frame rate is 30 fps. Some pixelation appeared with fast moving objects. One complaint I must address is the low light sensitivity of the lens, which could be a bit of an annoyance at times. However, it is only a problem in dark conditions, and using proper lighting, picture quality is great. Using the optional telephone connection, audio quality was excellent and I would definitely recommend using it instead of the built in microphone, since it provides full duplex capabilities, as opposed to “walkie-talkie”, half duplex, speech. Several features are also available during calls, including 3 different view settings, privacy as well as a settings menu.

This piece of technology undoubtedly brings straightforward videoconferencing equipment to the general public. Since it uses the common H.323 standard, it can also connect with people using applications such as Microsoft netmeeting, making it backwards compatible with computer videoconferencing. Although the price range of approximately 300$ set is somewhat of a barrier for strictly home use, it is relatively inexpensive compared to other stand-alone video-conferencing systems used for business, & the price is sure to decrease as the technology becomes more popular.

All in all, the DVC 1000 i2eye provides a rather remarkable experience in stand-alone videoconferencing, and may signal the beginning of a new generation of communications products. Good job DLink!

Pros:

-Ready to use of the box.
-No PC required
-Simple installation
-Excellent audio/video quality on good connections.
-Great alternative for small business videoconferencing.
-All calls are free
-Compliant with H.323 conferencing standards

Cons:

-Lens not particularly light sensitive
-Not PPPoE compliant
-Unit priced steeply for personal use

Amit
03.10.14





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