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Desktop Video AGOCG Report

Silicon Graphics

The Silicon Graphics company is attempting to redefine the user interface with what it calls digital media communications. Its latest workstation, the Indy, provides all of the hardware and software needed for capturing and communicating with sound and image over a network or over a digital telephone line. The digital media capabilities of this machine are particularly valuable to work groups that need to share images and film clips over wide geographical distances, for example, medical teams, distributed engineering groups and so forth.

The Indy is SGI's low end system. Video can be input via the integral `IndyCam' video camera, or from a camcorder, videodisk player, or video camera directly into the NTSC/PAL video or S-video port. The IndyCam provides video input for videoconferencing and can capture images to attach to mail messages. It has a high enough resolution to capture text from a typewritten page, but the level of detail can be set, obviating the need for decompression with every image capture.

The SGI Indy can work on UNIX, MS-DOS, Windows, NetWare, Macintosh and Apple networks and can read both MS-DOS and Macintosh disks. The serious drawback with the SGI machine is its expense, not only in the initial purchase but also in the acquisition of software. The live videoconferencing software is currently being released and is sure to be orders of magnitude higher in price than the equivalent Mac or PC integrated software.

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