This is a list of the latest recommended equipment. It represents what we recommend to customers and what is in daily usage in-house at Marratech. Try asking the Marratech User Community if you have a question not answered in the forum.

We regularly tests new products for compatibility with our software, but by no means do we have the resources to test all of them. So please share your experiences in our forum.

What we look for is:
  • Global availability
  • MS Driver certified by Microsoft (important for corporate customers)
  • Pricing
  • Performance (of course!)
A note on USB:
We recommend connecting all USB devices to a USB 2.0 computer. The older USB 1.1 will often cause bad sound / or video quality as it did not have enough bandwidth or power to drive audio and video and other equipment (scanners, printers, hard disks, etc) at the same time.

A note on audio:
Some built-in audio cards (especially on laptops) may leak audio, meaning that the signal coming out from the output goes in the input. This may cause echo. We have seen this on a number of HP laptops. The solution has been to use a USB headset.

A note on Logitech:
In the past few months, we have been somewhat critical of Logitech because of software errors and bloating of their software bundle. They seem to have now resolved both the errors and now give users the option to only install what they want. As they have a good selection of cameras we can now recommend them again.

During this period, we tested the surprisingly good Philips camera. It install easily and offers out of the box Linux support. We therefore also now strongly recommending the SPC900NC/00 from Philips. The only drawback is that it may be a harder to find in the USA, we recommend contacting Philips for a point of purchase.



Recommended peripherals for Windows
Web camera: The best ease of use vs performance vs price compromise can be found with the Philips SPC900NC/00

The easiest to deploy is the iMage. No driver to install on Windows XP, nice color, OK resolution. It will give you a maximum of 15 fps, good for most usage scenarios.

Logitech Quickcam for Notebooks Pro is a good choice for laptop users. To increase performance, you may want to switch of the extra options like the video effects, zoom and face tracking. The Deluxe has had very good video quality but is only a USB 1.1 device.

The Logitech Quickcam Fusion and the Logitech Quickcam 5000 offer very good picture quality at low cost for desktop computers.

Audio:As most PC desktops and laptops have good built-in audio, an analog headset is a good solution for most people.

Marratech has very good experience with Plantronics headsets and recommend them warmly. Plantronics' USB series offers the best audio quality we've heard so far. The foldable DSP-400 offers great quality and is more portable than others.

The Phoenix Duet PCS are good choices when you do not want a headset, or if you often have someone else in front of your desktop you want to share the meeting with. Great if you have a closed, quiet environment as it will otherwise pick up a lot of surrounding noise.

If you are more than two people in the room, the ClearOne Chat 150 is the device of choice as an echo canceling microphone.



Recommended peripherals for Mac OS X
Web camera: Audio:Apple's own iSight camera offers unsurpassed video quality on the Mac OS X platform. It connects to the Firewire port, which means all USB bandwidth and power is available for audio equipment.

In most countries, the iSight has been discontinued. We therefore recommend the iRez 1394. Just like the iSight, it is Firewire based and requires no drivers.

Another option is the iMage. It works on both Mac and Windows, uses USB and does not have a grey border around the picture. It tops at 15 frames per second, which is lower than most, but sufficient for most user scenarios.

As Apple computers lack a microphone input, we only recommend USB-based audio hardware to Mac OS X users.

Marratech has very good experience with Plantronics headsets and recommend them warmly. Plantronics' USB series offers the best audio quality we've heard so far. The foldable DSP-400 offers great quality and is more portable than others.

The Phoenix Duet PCS (and its big brother, the Executive) are good choices when you do not want a headset, or if you often have someone else in front of your desktop you want to share the meeting with. Great if you have a closed, quiet environment as it will otherwise pick up a lot of surrounding noise.

If you are more than two people in the room, the ClearOne Chat 150 is the device of choice as an echo canceling microphone.



Linux
Web camera:
  • Philips SPC900NC/00
  • Logitech Quickcam 4000 Pro, (USB 1.1) version of Logitech Quickcam for Notebooks Pro.
Audio:
The easiest camera to setup and use seems to be the Philips. It ran seemlessly with the latest pwc driver. If the driver is pre-installed on your distro, it is plug and play.

The older Logitech Quickcam 4000 offers quite good picture quality at low cost and will work fine for desktop computers. It is getting old and may be harder to find. The newer 5000 will *not* work.

If you can find an older version of the Logitech Quickcam for Notebooks Pro (the USB 1.1 version), it is a very good solution for laptop users.

Marratech has very good experience with Plantronics headsets and recommend them warmly. Plantronics' USB series offers the best audio quality we've heard so far. The foldable DSP-400 offers great quality and is more portable than others.

The Phoenix Duet PCS (and its big brother, the Executive) are good choices when you do not want a headset, or if you often have someone else in front of your desktop you want to share the meeting with. Great if you have a closed, quiet environment as it will otherwise pick up a lot of surrounding noise.

If you are more than two people in the room, the ClearOne Chat 150 is the device of choice as an echo canceling microphone.



Conference room
Web camera:Video grabbers: Analog cameras: The best ease of use vs performance vs price compromise can be found with the Philips SPC900NC/00

The Logitech Quickcam Fusion is a good, affordable starting solution for a small conference room. It has a big difference over other web cameras, in that it has a bigger viewing angle. It also has quite good focus depth which is a plus in conference room scenarios.

All other solutions come as two items - a separate video grabber and analog camera. This is a more expensive solution and require more technical expertise, but they usually give better quality in larger meeting rooms.

The Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 DVD creator and the Hauppage WinTV-GO/WinTV-Radio are good solutions for the Windows platform while the Pinnacle Movie Box DV version 9 is a good solution for anyone requiring a Mac OS X based computer in their conference room. The Hauppauge cards work fine under Linux as well.

Audio:The Phoenix Duet PCS (and its big brother, the Executive) are good choices when you do not want a headset, or if you often have someone else in front of your desktop you want to share the meeting with. Great if you have a closed, quiet environment as it will otherwise pick up a lot of surrounding noise.

If you are more than two people in the room, the ClearOne Chat 150 is the device of choice as an echo canceling microphone.