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Videoconferencing for the home

PictureTel plans to introduce high-quality videoconferencing for home PCs.

PictureTel plans to introduce a high-quality videoconferencing system cheap enough to woo home PC users.

The company yesterday purchased rights to videoconferencing software from Vivo Software and said it plans to license the technology to undisclosed computer makers for multimedia personal computers to be shipped this year.

Vivo makes videoconferencing software that includes VivoActive, a digital video plug-in for Netscape Communications Web browsers. PictureTel executives speculate that Vivo's software can be prepackaged on personal computers or modems for less than $200 per system, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Vivo software can transmit images at 12 frames per second over standard telephone lines via 28.8 modems.

Intel announced plans last month to ship a comparable low-cost videoconferencing system, and Compaq Computer has already agreed to use the software.