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A clearer vision

WorldGate Communications made its name in interactive television, but what is on the front burner these days is a bit smaller. Meet the Ojo.

Trevose-based WorldGate Communications made its name in interactive television, but the viewing screen on the company’s front burner these days is a bit smaller. WorldGate is rolling out the Ojo. The phone’s fidelity and lack of jitter problems and have gotten the attention of such companies as Motorola Broadband, which recently placed a $5 million order with WorldGate. Company CEO Hal Krisbergh recently talked about the phone of the future.

How did WorldGate get started?

I spent 11 years as president of the broadband division for General Instrument. After that, I left General Instrument to form WorldGate with the intention of developing products and services for the cable industry. Both ITV and Ojo are the results of that move.

It sounds like the Ojo video phone is going to be a big product for you. Why do you feel it stands out among video phones?

Since the first video phone was introduced by AT&T at the 1964 World’s Fair, attempts at video telephony have failed due to poor quality video and uninspired design. WorldGate focused on advanced technology to make true-to-life, jitter-free video and synchronized video and audio a reality.

WorldGate’s Ojo video phone has an ergonomic design that allows users to enjoy a face-to-face communication experience. We feel that Ojo has redefined video telephony.

Does Ojo need to have access to a hotspot or other broadband source in order to work?

The Ojo video phone works using the high speed data infrastructure–either cable or DSL. We anticipate that in the future Ojo will be able to work wirelessly over any broadband device.

Ojo uses the video format H.264 to increase picture quality. Can you explain what that means?

To transmit, normal video consumes a great deal of bandwidth, which is limited in availability. In order to get more signals transmitted over this limited bandwidth, video compression algorithms have been developed which process the signals more efficiently, allowing more signals to be sent over the same bandwidth. The H.264 algorithm is a standard that is just becoming available to the industry; it is the most efficiently compressed algorithm to date and finally enables quality video telephony to.

What are your thoughts on the future of interactive television products?

Although WorldGate has terminated its ITV line of products and is now focused on video telephony, it seems that ITV is beginning to make inroads into the market and it will soon become part of peoples’ everyday experience.

What are some of WorldGate’s future plans?

A whole new landscape of opportunity is being created as we add the video component to communications. Just as television brought a new dimension to entertainment, we anticipate a world of products and services to emerge from the initial products. These might include: devices integrated with cellular phones; devices for the hearing impaired; portable video phones; a whole range of products in the broadband home like PCs and TVs; or even central information devices.

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