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Desktop Video Conferencing

Compiled by Pete Woodworth (805)756-7197

Classroom Technologies encourages the use of PC-based desktop video conferencing appliances.
Cal Poly has great connectivity to worldwide sites via Internet2, so it's time for you to get online!

Image of ViaVideo camera

For many years, we have advocated the use of great little Polycom ViaVideo-II USB cameras. They work great, are fully H.323 compatible video conferencing systems, but cost about $400. which dampens the enthusiasm of a lot of folks. We have several of them available for check-out in our Media Resource Center.

Due to the internal co-processor, they present a significantly reduced load on wimpier host CPUs, such as found in older laptops. There are some industry rumors that Polycom will discontinue the ViaVideo-II sometime in 2006..

Image of webcam

These days, folks have PCs with powerful CPUs, so Polycom has developed PVX version 8.0 software which turns a $100. USB webcam, such as the Logitech QuickCam Pro shown here, into a powerful video conferencing system. The PVX software costs around $120. and is available numerous places online, such as: or
(No vendor endorsement is implied)

The software is pretty straightforward to install, but if you plan on using it on the Cal Poly network, please contact me for some additional configuration data you will need to access Internet2 sites. This is the only way to successfully place calls through the Cal Poly firewall.

There is a demo version of the PVX software available on the Polycom website, so you can try it out first. It is fully functional, but calls are limited to 5 minutes.

Folks are welcome to contact Pete Woodworth on his desktop system at the following E.164 aliases:

  • CENIC-registered endpoints should dial 2150009900
  • Internet2-registered endpoints should dial 0011649 21500099