This is the new invention by the Fraunhofer-Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen—those guys who created the MP3 music compression algorithm: An inexpensive technology for fluid HD videoconferencing with almost no delay. Previously, this required very expensive dedicated hardware.
According to Fraunhofer's project manager Dr. Nikolaus Faerber, the "current low delay video technologies require either a much higher bit-rate or rely on very expensive dedicated hardware. However, Fraunhofer's solution is based on PC hardware, which is widely available at a very competitive price. The result is an HD video conferencing system for the home that delivers the best possible communication experience at a low cost."
The system consists on two high quality encoding and decoding boards for H.264 and the AAC Enhanced Low Delay audio codec, which guarantees CD-quality sound through the connection. The resulting delay is only 100ms end-to-end. The project is part of the European Union's Together Anywhere Together Anytime project, which aims to develop means for families and friends to connect as easily and naturally as possible, anywhere in the world. [Fraunhofer via Engadget]