To iSight or iNot

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by MrGal, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. MrGal macrumors newbie


    Mar 27, 2004
    Port Hedland, W.A.
    I am in need of a web cam to keep in contact with my kids as I work away from home for months at a time. I will be buying a 12" iBook to run it. The problem is I can't get broadband at home. Can the iSight still work on dialup or is there a lower spec cam I can run on the iBook?
  2. KC9AIC macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2004
    Tokyo, Japan or Longview, Texas
    Using dialup, with a maximum throughput of about 56 kbps, no decent-quality video can be transmitted. No matter what camera you get (there are a lot of Firewire and USB webcams), it can't transmit data faster than its dialup connection. Even a tiny picture will probably take at least 10k, and transmitting (maximum, usually less) 5.6 frames per second will make for very jerky video, as TV uses 30 fps, and movies use 24fps. Sorry. However, pretty good voice communication can happen, which I'm pretty sure the iSight can provide. You can always send digital pictures home, over file transfer, however.

    edit-much of this information is available at Apple's iChat page here. Especially note the "iChat AV System Performance" table and the section about "No Long Distance Charges."
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Yeah, I'd have to agree that you cannot do video chatting over dialup. It is conceivable that iChat would let you try to do it, but, as the previous poster noted, it's pretty much doomed to failure, because your voice data is going to be competing with your images.

    The iSight will, however, work nicely with your iBook. A smaller, USB camera with nice specs to consider is the Logitech Pro Notebook, which I also have and which also comes with a built-in mic and, now, OS X support. I like both. The Logitech is a bit smaller and cheaper; the audio from the iSight is better. The iSight is often maligned for poor low-light capabilities, but the camera itself is fine; iChat seems to reduce its brightness too much - which recent iSight driver updates have fixed a bit.

    You have a couple of possible options, though:

    (1) Call to a second line in your house, and use the internet dial-up connection to receive images from your iBook, which presumably will be connected to the internet via a different line/access than what you need to call home with. This will allow you slowly changing - but better than nothing - video.

    (2) Shoot short clips of yourself and email them home. Not real-time, but a lot better than no images.

    I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor. I'm sorry you need to be away so long with no broadband connection to home.

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