Video Conferencing Equipment For Any Budget
Despite lockdowns easing and vaccinations becoming readily available, most companies continue to rely on a hybrid work model.
Video conferencing has in some ways increased efficiency and allowed companies to downsize the amount of physical office space they need to operate. These new incentives leave businesses of all shapes and sizes with decisions to make regarding how to best use the resources at their disposal to create an effective AV system that meets their needs and budget.
Video conferencing solutions are never one size fits all – designated conferencing spaces come in all shapes and sizes and the businesses that use them can be flushed with cash or one wrong move away from the poorhouse. Thankfully, you don’t need to sell your favorite internal organs to get an effective solution, you just need to know where to look - which is why we are providing this handy breakdown for you!
Video Conferencing Camera Options
$ - Ballin’ on a Budget 🏀
The benefits of a video conferencing system are dependent on the participants actually being able to see you, so without a solid camera, your video conferencing system is a nonstarter. Basic webcams have, at best, questionable video quality, so you’re much better off buying cameras purposefully designed for conferencing spaces.
For budget camera options, you should expect to pay anywhere from $300-500. Cameras at this price range will work best with small to medium-sized conference rooms but can be used in a larger space in a pinch.
- Huddly GO – Known for their distinctive minimalistic designs, the Norwegian-based company, Huddly produces cameras specialized for conferencing, classroom, and home office environments. Don’t let the (seriously) tiny package fool you - the GO model features a 150-degree wide-angle lens and a serviceable 720p image quality.
- AVer CAM130 – AVer’s baseline camera is primarily marketed as a webcam, though it’s got some pretty impressive specs that lend it to being used in CV systems in smaller conference rooms. With a 4k optical lens, a 120-degree field of view, and up to 4x zoom that can be controlled via a remote, this option is perfect for huddle rooms, though anything larger may make the picture quality suffer.
- AVer CAM340+ - The second, pricier option from AVer is better suited for larger conferencing environments. Image quality remains at 4K, but the framerate is increased to 30 FPS, which goes a long way in making connections made through video conferences last.
$$ - Sensible Spending💸
Camera options start opening up once you start getting past the $1,000 mark, and newer models come with a bunch of interesting built-in tools that make video conferencing a breeze. Advanced options including AI facial recognition and remote control over the camera let you focus on the members of the call and enhance the clarity of communications.
- Huddly IQ – The IQ is a step above the GO in terms of hardware capability and onboard software, yet still somehow remains just as tiny as its predecessor. The improved hardware bumps up the picture quality to 1080p, automatically frames faces, and corrects white balance/color, making it perfect for both small and medium-sized conference rooms.
- Aver CAM520 Pro2 – The signature conferencing camera offered by AVer is a beast of a camera, coming in at over 7 pounds due to the motorized swivel mount that lets you adjust the camera’s position and zoom in on individual speakers. Internal software comes with applications to automatically frame faces and adjust lighting and color to provide an impressive image quality.
$$$ - Treat Yo Self 🤑
For video conferencing-specific cameras, your best options come from our reliable friends at Huddly and Logitech. Even the higher-end cameras that are purpose-built for video conferencing won’t break the bank, so you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $2,000 per camera.
- Huddly L1 – The L1 is larger than the GO and the IQ, but the increase in size and price comes with a far improved level of picture quality. The L1 uses onboard AI to recognize faces and automatically adjusts the digital zoom options to ensure that the field of view expands or contracts to keep participants optimally framed and lit.
- Logitech Rally Camera – The Rally is basically a souped-up version of the PTZ Pro with far better video quality and automatic camera control. The video quality is impressive, using an Ultra-HD imaging system that can cleanly stream up to a 4K resolution and a light optimization software that automatically emphasizes faces and accurately rendered skin tones. There is one major drawback to the Rally, however – boy is it ever ugly.
Display Options For Video Conferencing
Communication is a two-way street, so as cool as your camera is, you’re going to need a monitor for your conferencing system to see the other participants in your video calls. Displays for conferencing range from just normal TVs acting as monitors to highly sophisticated touch screen collaboration tools.
The type of display you buy will be dependent on the needs of your business. Higher-end displays that include an interactive whiteboard are useful as teaching tools, visualization guides for creative projects, and higher-level planning for large organizations. If you’re just using your display for normal conference calls, you’re better off with just a normal television acting as a computer monitor.
$ - Ballin’ on a Budget 🏀
For a tight budget, any television that can be connected to a computer and act as a monitor will suffice. Keep in mind the size of the room when purchasing – you can get away with a 42” screen in a huddle room, but for medium- to large-sized rooms, you’re looking at 60+ inches or using multiple displays.
- SAMSUNG 50-Inch AU8000 Series - LCD displays have fallen out of fashion in recent years, but Samsung’s AU8000 series provides a beautiful picture and smart functionality for a very reasonable price.
- Vizio 55-Inch V-Series - If you’re really strapped for cash, Vizio’s V-series gives you a decent picture quality, smart functionality and HDMI 2.1 ports to be used with your laptop or PC for a bargain.
$$ - Sensible Spending 💸
Even at mid-range budgets, you will primarily be looking at large televisions as your video conferencing display. Bigger budgets do give you access to bigger and better displays, though, so if you’re working with larger conferencing spaces you’ll want to set aside a bit more cash to invest.
- Sony 65-Inch X90J Series - The X90J series utilizes LEDs in their displays and has some of the best picture quality on the market for the price point. A 4k display and a 120 framerate equal a smooth and silky conferencing experience.
- LG 65“+ OLED C1 Series - LG’s offering is the top-end of normal televisions acting as monitors for video conferencing. The OLED technology utilized by the screen ensures that colors retain their brightness and contrast at almost any viewing angle, so rooms with large conference tables and some extra cash to spend would benefit the most from this option.
$$$ - Treat Yo Self 🤑
Higher-end displays usually come in one of two forms – a projector setup or a touchscreen collaborative whiteboard that multiple users can interact with during a call. In all likelihood, these displays are going to represent the biggest expense in your video conferencing system, with very basic models costing $2,700 and larger, more advanced options jumping to well over $10,000.
- Avocor G-Series – If you’re looking to really spend some cash and get top of the line collaboration technology, Avocor’s G-series is your best option. With sizes ranging from 55” to 85” inches and price points to match, if you need both a gorgeous display and an interactive digital whiteboard, Avocor is the brand to beat.
- Dell 55 4k Interactive Touch Monitor - Dell offers a more reasonably priced interactive whiteboard. The screen size is limited to 55“ and it comes at a hefty 76 pounds, but if your company depends on long-distance whiteboard collaboration then it will get the job done.