Friday, June 19, 2009

Tandberg PrecisionHD USB Webcam

Today we received our Tandberg PrecisionHD webcam from Tandberg. Tenx Nico Teunissen – Product Support Manager (Netherlands). The next month we are going to put the device into a stresstest ;-) First some explanations about the package.

The package is shipped with;

  • box with the PrecisionHD USB webcam
  • travelcase
  • User’s Guide

After connecting the device to Windows Vista (latest Service Pack and hotfixes) by default we were unable to install the Webcam correctly. For some strange reason we needed to reboot both test machines to make the USB camera working. A big surprise we had with Windows 7 RC Build 7100! The device was automatically detected and completely functional in Live Meeting 2007. So Microsoft did an amazing job on this one ;-) BTW more information about the Tandberg device itself see the official site to get more information (link)

Some specs of the PrecisionHD USB webcam:

  • 16:9 wide format HD video
  • 1280 x720 resolution at 30fps
  • High Light sensitivity: F1.7
  • Multicoated all glass optics
  • Auto focus and auto light adjustment
  • Ultra wideband microphone
  • Mechanical privacy shutter

Please refer to the weblog of Dennis from msgoodies to get more indepth information about the requirements for running high definition on computers. To get the best advantages on the Tandberg you should run a Quad-Core proc machine and make sure your OCS R2 pool (Video Quality) setting is changed to the appropriate settings. Open your pool settings and go to tab Video and select the right video quality level.


As you probably saw on Wikipedia there are different formats available:

image The Tandberg device is running on 1280 x 720P HDTV. Currently this webcam is the best low-end end easy to travel device certified for Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (link). As you can see the Tandberg is automatically selected in Live Meeting 2007.



imageAbsolutely a very nice webcam in use. Congrats to the guys of Tandberg who developed on this. Great job!  Mind you the OCS certified device list is not updated yet but before you purchase a new webcam make sure the device is certified. Latest certified device list. The devices are marked by the a “Microsoft Office Communicator” sign.


dsidler said...

Great article Joachim. Any ideas yet what the price will be for this device?
I wonder if it could replace the "classic" camera/codec combo used today in meeting rooms.
Install a PC and a professional 46" flatscreen monitor together with this camera and OC, and you got yourself a nice VC setup for small meetings. And you can use it for presentations/demos as well.


Joachim Farla said...

As far as I know around 250 - 300 dollars.

Peter said...

The Cam is now available in EMEA. At least Demo-orders are shipped by Tandberg. List price has been announced as 3990 Euro for a ten unit package. If that is more than you need (as it is for me) try eLink Distribution (germany).

Got my demo there at a reasonable price and helpful service from the guys.

GREAT product as far as picture quality is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Did not include URL in previous post:

Nico said...

Thank you for this article in your Blog Joachim. At this moment the TANDBERG PHD USB camera is available in the Netherlands for € 399 by selected TANDBERG partners.

Please contact us in Amsterdam +31 (0)20 888 4962 for partner information or visit our website on

Best regards,
TANDBERG the Netherlands

Nico Teunissen
Product Support Manager

Robbert said...

I tested the camera for some weeks now and I'm very pleased about the pic quality. I tested it with my wireless consumer aDSL @ home what still worked very nice and customers where impressed with the quality. I must say the camera is not small and rather heavy but the quality makes up for it. thx, for testing JOA/TandBerg


aublumberg said...

The PrecisionHD is a good camera but I can not understand why it is delivered with such a short USB cable connection. If you have your screen on the desk or on a screen mount above your desk and the PC under your desk, then the cable won't be long enough to connect it to your PC. Of course I can go and buy an extension cable but for a camera with this price I do expect a 1.5 - 2.0 mtr connection cable.

It is also too large and heavy to sensibly carry it around on travels.

The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema solves all of these issues and delivers HD 720p at 1/6 of the price.

Eirikg said...

Hi, the link you provided with info on how to change cif to vga for the codec is that still required for r2 enviroment?

Could you make a video showing the quality of the camera?

Ive been testing with MS lifeCamera 720p and it doesnt seem to be HD at all when connected with live meeting and communicator. Seems like picture is badly scaled down resoulution then compressed with codec to horrible results.

Does the communicator realy give you 720p resoulution?

Ill be getting tandbergs camera next week to test, but want to be sure everything is setup correct.

aublumberg said...

No registry setting required in R2 anymore, it automatically adjusts the resolution. It is quite smart actually in this context, taking into consideration network conditions, PC config, camera specs, the video screen size that your counterpart is displaying (small, large, full screen) etc.

Remember VGA and HD is only supported in 1:1 video calls. Multi-party (more than 2 participants) will scale back down to CIF. If you use the LifeCam Cinema with
- 2 participants via MOC
- who maximize the video display to full screen
- who have a quad-core PC
- and a good network (at least 2M dedicated just between them)

then you will see 720p HD.

More details here:

Eirikg said...

Ok, the test was with my computer i7 cpu and the other computer had core2duo i think. Done some testing today and we get atleast vga quality with standard webcam, about 600kbps. Going to test with 2 i7 computers.

Eirikg said...

Another question. I still think the codec compress to much. So that you can see the blocks very easy when there is movement. Do you know if ms plan to do something with that? We have fast LAN within our company so bandwidth is no problem.

aublumberg said...

No blocks if you use the right equipment, very smooth in fact. A high end quad-core machine will easily have 45% CPU utilization during 720p streaming. Very smooth with a fast machine and the right optics. The LifeCam Cinema is great and cheap, the Tandberg PrecisionHD however is in a different league. You get HD res only in full screen mode.

Eirikg said...

I have tested agein now.

2 computers with i7 CPU
MOC latest ver.
Lifecam cinema
Unlimtet bandwith settings on server
Fullscreen on clients
LAN 1gbit connections

Still only VGA max res.

Got any ideas to what it might be?

aublumberg said...

What makes you think it's VGA, where do you get that info from?

When it's on full-screen, is it shown as 4:3 ratio or (wide-screen) 16:9 ratio?

Eirikg said...

4:3 so i guess thats not 720?

Eirikg said...

ok we got 720 res now on the i7 machines. BUT with window7. Im using XP?? Going to investigate some more tomorrow.

aublumberg said...

Works fine here with XP SP3.

Eirikg said...

Finally got it. Im not sure what did it. I both did a windows update (few updates) and i updated the chipset driver for my computer (usb controller)

I also put the image full-screen on a 46" LCD. Nice!

Now lets hope we can get better quality in live meeting ;)

aublumberg said...

Impressive isn't it ... we just need to rename the title of this blog to "Cisco PrecisionHD USB Webcam" now.

Agree on multi-party resolution ... can't wait to see Roundtable in VGA or higher.

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-: Nilay :- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-: Nilay :- said...

Anyone know if it works with Mac?
What specific software I would need to make it work?

Nico Teunissen said...

This state-of-art camera works fine with a Mac. Personally I use it with a MacBook pro. No drivers are needed but please be advised that you need the camera firmware to be on the most recent version for the best experience.