Videoconferencing has long been restricted to niche markets such as White House national-security briefings, corporate boardrooms, and reruns of The Jetsons. D-Link's DVC-1000 i2eye videophone may change all that. This $300 standalone device lets you make video-enabled calls over a broadband Internet connection--no PC required.
The silver-colored, plastic DVC-1000 is low-slung and slightly larger than a VHS videotape, designed to sit unobtrusively on top of your TV. The back-panel Ethernet port provides a connection to your network; to go wireless, consider buying an Ethernet-to-wireless bridge, such as D-Link's own DWL-810+. Also on the back are standard monaural-audio and composite-video outputs that link to the television.
A small, centered lens takes in all the action, while either the built-in mike or an external one connected via minijack handles half-duplex, speakerphone-style audio input. Attaching an ordinary telephone facilitates superior full-duplex interaction and easy dialing. You can maneuver through the onscreen menus with the included simple wireless remote.
Because the DVC-1000 operates independently of a computer, setup requires no software or remote programming from a connected PC, though initially, you may have to adjust your router or corporate firewall. The onscreen guide takes you through the process step by step in just a few minutes.