Frequently Asked Questions about InfoView

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Q     How can I order one?
    Click here

Q What is InfoView?
InfoView is an extremely affordable set-top videoconferencing system that combines with a standard television and a regular analog phone line (POTS - Plain Old Telephone System) to create a videophone solution. InfoView has a built-in high-quality digital camera and simultaneously transmits audio and video for the cost of a regular phone call. Smaller than a VCR and designed as an easy-to-use consumer product, InfoView is a snap to set up and does not require a computer, special phone lines, special arrangements or extra fees.

Q  How does the InfoView work?
A     InfoView is very easy to set-up and to use:
Three step set-up
Take InfoView out of the box and place on top of your TV.
  1. Plug in the power adapter,
  2. Run audio/video cables from back of the unit into the TV's audio-in/video-in jacks,
  3. Insert the phone cables into the InfoView as you would with an answering machine.

    Now, you are ready to make a video call.

    3 step operation

    Once InfoView is set up and turned on:

  1. Turn on the TV and set it to the "video" channel,
  2. Pick up the phone and call another InfoViewer, or videophone user, as you normally would and...
  3. Press the appropriate buttons on the telephone keypad. Within about 30 seconds, the 33.6 kbps modems inside the InfoViews will "sync up" and both parties will see each other on their respective televisions and hear each other through the phone and TV speaker.
  4. Now, you are video visiting!

Q  What are the advantages of the InfoView over other videoconferencing products?
    The InfoView has the following features in addition to the standard videophone and videoconferencing device features. These include:
bulletPrivacy mode where you can see without being seen
bulletHigh-quality snapshots (freeze frames)
bulletAuto-answer capability
bulletAdjustable quality settings
bulletDigital pan, tilt and zoom
bulletSoftware upgrade capability

InfoView has many unique advantages:
bulletNo PC necessary, simple to set-up and portable
bulletAffordable (suggested retail price of $349.95)
bulletA built-in high-quality digital CCD camera
bulletAn RCA video-in jack for an external camera
bulletSupports both NTSC and PAL format
bulletFriendly on-screen graphical interface
bulletPowerSave mode, automatically shuts down the unit
bullet1 year warranty on parts and labor

Q  What kind of video quality can I expect when using InfoView?
    Using state-of-the-art technology, InfoView provides a maximum of 15 fps (frames per second) video quality. This is about half the quality of broadcast TV-quality video, which is transmitted at 30 fps. Using the on-screen feature menu, InfoViewers can adjust the quality of the video images being received and sent to suit their needs and/or preferences. Some prefer a slide show-type experience, with slower motion and very clear pictures, while others prefer full-motion images with less clarity. Most InfoView users prefer a setting somewhere in between these extremes and appreciate InfoView's flexibility.

Q  Why can't InfoView transmit TV-quality video?
    The reason for less than TV-quality video is the inherent bandwidth limitations of analog phone lines. The picture has to be compressed, transmitted, and decompressed through a tiny line originally designed for voice only. Some companies offer products with better quality video but they require special phone lines and expensive equipment on both ends of the call. InfoView is a low-cost consumer product with excellent video quality for the price. There is no question that InfoView greatly enhances long distance communication experiences with loved-ones, friends and associates.

Q  How do I get the most out of an InfoView video call?
    You can get the most out of InfoView by making a small effort to "stage" your video calls. The most important thing you can do is set up InfoView in a well-lighted room. People often are unaware or forget the importance of proper lighting to TV and Movie studios. The same lighting requirements apply for video-calling. Here are a few other tips:

  1. The lighting should come from behind the camera and shine on the subject's face.
  2. Avoid back-lighting by closing blinds and drapes on bright windows behind the subject.
  3. Try to limit movement in the background and foreground.
  4. InfoView users should sit closer to the TV and camera than they normally would, perhaps only several feet away, so that only their head and shoulders can be seen.
    A little effort can greatly enhance the video call experience.

Q     Does InfoView go through the Internet for video communication?
    InfoView uses a normal, analog phone line for video communication; it does NOT use the Internet.

Q  Can you use 10-10 dial-around long distance services with the videophone?
A     Yes, you can dial the person you are calling just as you would an ordinary phone call. Once connected, the videophone simply adds picture.

Q  Can I use it anywhere in the world?
A   To use your videophone anywhere in the world, click here to find:
Electrical Plug & Voltage Adaptors
Telephone Plug Adaptors


Q    Will InfoView work with other videophones and videoconferencing products on the market today?
    Yes. InfoView uses the ITU.T H.324 video conferencing standard, the ITU.T H.263 video coding standard and the ITU-T G.723.1 audio compression standard. InfoView is compatible with other video conferencing systems that are compliant with these same standards. Additionally, InfoView can accept and transmit either PAL or NTSC video images.
The Infoview is compatible with 8x8's ViaTV products.
    How do I choose functions and control my InfoView?
    InfoView can be controlled by simply using the keypad on the attached telephone. Any phone, including cordless models, can be used for video calling as long as it is an analog phone with touch-tone capability and connected to the InfoView.
Q     Can InfoView be upgraded?
    InfoView has the capability of software upgrade via a phone line. When there is an upgrade available, InfoView users may call into the Innomedia server for downloading of new software.
Q     What kind of resolution can I expect from InfoView?
    InfoView supports both CIF (352 X 288 pixels) and QCIF (176 X 144 pixels) resolution.
Q     What TV formats does InfoView support? PAL or NTSC?
    InfoView supports both the PAL and NTSC formats. Currently. It does not support the SECAM format.
Q     Why does InfoView have only
a 33.6K modem?

    InfoView has a 33.6K modem because there is no benefit in having a 56K modem because that rate can only be achieved in one-way transmission. Videoconferencing requires that information be sent both ways and sharing POTS line with limited bandwidth limits the rate that data can be sent and received.
Q     What size is the InfoView unit?
The unit is about 8.5 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches (21.5 cm x 21.5 cm x 7.6 cm). It can fit easily in an attaché case.
Q  Can the InfoView work with non-US phone plugs?
A     The InfoView has a standard US RJ11 phone plug.  But inexpensive adapters can be purchased at many electronics stores, such as Radio Shack. (Note: I am looking for a good source for these to put on the Web site)
Q  Can the InfoView work outside the US on PAL system TV sets?
A     The InfoView is configured to work with both the US (NTSC) and non-US (PAL) systems.  A menu choice on the screen allows you to switch between the two modes.  At the factory, some are pre-set to PAL, and some are pre-set to NTSC, as a convenience to the customer, but they are considered the same model by the manufacturer.
Q  I notice a slight flicker on the screen sometimes when calling between the US and Europe. Is this due to the long distance?
    A slight flicker is sometimes seen when one party has the US system (NTSC), and the other has a non-USA system (PAL).  NTSC to NTSC or PAL to PAL has no such flicker.  Flicker is due to the conversion necessary between the two different television display systems.
Q  Can you use free long distance services such as or with the ViaTV?
A     These services let you call from computer to regular phone, for free, using the Internet to carry the signal most of the distance.  But the sound quality is not as good as calling by regular phone.  The bandwidth is not sufficient to support clear voice, much less video as well.  However, the technology is improving daily, and we will continue to post the results of our experiments with our calls to associates overseas.
Q  Are there plenty of InfoView units in stock for Christmas 1999?
A     The InfoView units have been selling better than estimates, especially since8x8/ViaTV Inc. ran out of videophones.  There is currently (late November 99) a backlog in the PAL-preset units as the Asian market has been much more active as anticipated.  It may sound like a sales point, but the NTSC-preset units are going fast.  It would be highly advisable to place your orders as soon as possible to make it in time for them to be Christmas gifts.

Q  Where are the units manufactured?
A     The InfoViews are manufactured in Singapore.

Q  What is a satisfaction guarantee period?
A     There is a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee.  If  you are dissatisfied for any reason, you can return your videophone in good condition for your money back.

Q  Is there a warranty period?
A     There is a one (1) year parts and labor warranty.  You can return your videophone to the manufacturer for repair.  They will whether it needs to be fixed, and will send you the refurbished unit.  If it is beyond repair, they will send you a new one.  If the unit breaks after one year, you can return it, but would have to pay about $100 for repair or a new unit.  With proper care, your InfoView unit should last for years.
Q     How can I order one?
A     Click here