iSight, webchat via Skype (Mac <-> PC) and quality :(

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by parajba, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. parajba macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    #1
    Hi everybody,

    I have a problem.

    Today I used for the first time the webchat feature in Skype. My laptop is a MacBook Pro i5 with Skype 2.8.0.851, MacOS is 10.6.5.

    My parents are using a decent Asus laptop running Windows 7 and the latest version of Skype for Windows.

    My connection is an 8MB via wifi (n router). Theirs is a bit slower as it's via a dongle.

    They said that they could see me very well, no issues whatsoever. On my Mac the webchat was of very poor quality, pixelated, constantly freezing, massive delay. It was barely usable.

    Is anybody aware of any known issues between Skype on a MBP and on a Windows 7? Pity I can't do this test, but I would like to see how their end of the chat was, I would like to understand if it was really good or just my parents' unexperienced opinion (they just bough a laptop for the first time). Once thing is for sure though, their chat wasn't constantly freezing and they could see my well 'like a tv'. I couldn't.

    On a slightly different note, just found out that my 'mighty' £1,499 MBP has a VGA webcam. The cheapest laptop you can buy in the UK for £299 has a 1.3MP webcam. Gutted. This clearly means that the quality of my webchat will never be particularly good and that having a grainy picture is considered 'normal' if you factor in the very limited resolution of a VGA camera (Unless you watch a teeny tiny window like a stamp) independently of the connection speed.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    It's probably due to your parent's poor upload rate. Skype/Skype OS X/Win-anything works fine for me on decent connections.
     
  3. parajba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for your prompt reply! I'll make a test with a friend (on Windows XP but it doesn't matter...) and report back.
     
  4. Stvwndr219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    #4
    It all comes down to internet speed - you can't have near simultaneous chatting if one side is slower than the other. IMO, Skype uses way too many resources when I use it and I prefer to use google voice. Maybe something to look into but I get better speeds with Google. :)
     
  5. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Note that 8MB is usually just for the download speed, for video conferencing your upload speed is important. If you are on ADSL it may well be at best up to 448Kb/s. And in this case it's the upload speed of your parents connection which is likely to be the bottleneck rather than the download speed of your connection.

    So do your parents see the video of you as being grainy? If they can see you well, then this isn't an issue.
    If what you see of your parents is grainy or poor, then it's a problem with their webcam, not yours.

    What kind of webcam is in the Asus laptop?
    The quality of it's webcam may be poor even if it can do up to 1.3MP.

    I regularly use video chat between my computer with an external iSight camera (640x480) and a couple of people who have iMacs with 640x480 cameras, the video feed looks fine fullscreen at 1680x1050. Though this is using the AIM/MobileMe/.Mac network, not Skype (well I have used it a bit and it seemed fine when I used it).

    As a comparison my netbook has a 1.3MP camera but the video from it is terrible. Amusingly though this is party because it can only take still images at 1.3MP not videos. There was the same problem with some cheap external webcam that was used with my parents old PC.
     

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