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A means of simultaneous, two-way communication comprising both audio and video elements. Participants in a video telephone call can both see and hear each other in real time. Videotelephony is a subset of teleconferencing, broadly defined as the various ways and means by which people communicate with one another over some distance. Initially conceived as an extension to the telephone, videotelephony is now possible using computers with network connections.
Small residential video telephones, computer-based desktop video telephones, and small videoconferencing setups have been introduced to fulfill diverse needs. One such commercially available residential videophone is about as big as a typical office desk telephone with a small flip-up screen that has an eyeball camera above it. Although it will work with several standards, this phone is primarily designed for use over Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines in which a residence gets three circuits; one circuit is used for control and the other two for voice and video. See Integrated services digital network (ISDN)
An example of a computer-based desktop videophone consists of a PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) video/audio CODEC board to add to a personal computer, a composite color camera, audio peripherals, and visual collaboration software.
Videotelephony software has been developed and made widely available that permits real-time collaboration and conferencing, including multipoint and point-to-point conferencing. Multipoint means, for example, that three people in three different locations could have a video telephone conference call in which each could see and hear the others. In addition to the basic audio and video capabilities, such software provides several other features such as a whiteboard, background file transfer, program sharing, and remote desktop sharing.