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Oprah Winfrey gave Cisco’s soon-to-be-released Umi Telepresence a boost on her show Wednesday when she used the video-chatting device to connect her with friends that she met during a recent episode’s visit to Yosemite National Park.
This is not the first time that Oprah has demoed her tech prowess. In a previous season, she participated in Skype chats.
The use of Umi — designed to connect family and friends in HD video — will be used again in future episodes as part of a marketing agreement with The Oprah Winfrey Show. Cisco declined to comment on the terms of the deal.
The Umi system, which includes an HD camera, console and remote, connects to an existing HD television and a broadband Internet connection. Features include the ability to make calls and access video messages. Users can record their own videos, which they can share on Facebook, YouTube or via e-mail.
It would appear that the Cisco system could be likened to connected TVs that support Skype and Facebook. To that end, Cisco vp consumer marketing Ken Wirt said: “For most of the connected televisions, you are getting entertainment or information, and this is really a function of communication.”
The pricing will be a consideration. When Umi hits the market Nov. 14, it will cost $599 plus a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited Umi calls, video messaging and video storage.
As part of the rollout, a Umi mall tour with product demonstrations begins Nov. 10, and an unscripted national advertising campaign featuring actress Ellen Page using Umi launches Nov. 15.
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