When I first heard about Cisco coming our with a unit for home use in which you could video conference from your TV, I was excited about the idea. With having kids and grand kids spread out across the U.S., plus family in California, it sounded like a great idea. But Cisco has announced the price which seems a little steep. The equipment will cost $600 plus you will need to pay a monthly fee of $24.95 a month to Verizon.

In a recent article it stated that:

“I think the difficulty is probably the monthly price. $300 a year forever, that’s a lot of money,” said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. “But this is a premium product. And I think it will set the imagination off with a lot of people.”

The home TelePresence system, called “umi,” features a camera and console that connects to a standard high-definition TV and works over high-speed Internet. Its biggest selling point is high quality, real-time video without the pixelations and interruptions of low- or no-cost online services. It also allows unlimited calls, video messaging and video storage.

Cisco already sells a high-end videoconference system for businesses. These systems, often built to simulate boardroom-like settings, can cost around $300,000 per unit. They feature high-quality video and sound, with limited delays, making users almost feel like they are meeting in person.

Despite initial skepticism over whether many businesses would pay so much, particularly in a weak global economy, TelePresence has become one of Cisco’s fastest-selling products as companies seek ways to save on travel costs. Its recent acquisition of Norway’s Tandberg also made it the world’s leader in videoconferencing systems.

While Cisco has not yet established itself as a consumer brand, it wouldn’t be its first foray into the living room. It has acquired home router maker Linksys, cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta, and more recently, the company that makes the Flip video camera.

I am sure this is going to be a high quality piece of equipment that is going to be the standard that others will be judged against. But having to pay $24.95 a month for life is a little step.I’ll be sticking with the freebies for now.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Reuters