Video Chat - What's Needed (To Vista User)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by HelixOmnimedia, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. HelixOmnimedia macrumors 6502a

    HelixOmnimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    Traveling The World
    #1
    Hey,

    In October I'm moving to Orlando for 6 months to work with Walt Disney... now by then I hope to have the latest MacBook Pro (whenever it gets released) or I'll buy it over there (probably the latter due to cost).

    Anyway... I really want to stay in touch with friends and family while I'm away... however I'm the only one who uses Apple. Everyone else is using Windows running Vista.

    So can anyone tell me what is needed for myself and them in order to do live video chats?

    I really want to get things organised soon, as I'll need to teach my parents how to use it (never used a computer before)... just got a Sony Vaio, which has built in camera.

    THANKS for any information, help and advice.
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    Skype + supported webcams (external or internal) is generally the easiest option. It requires installation of Skype on all the computers, but it provides probably the most robust cross-platform webcam, and AV chatting Skype-to-Skype is free (as is the Skype software).

    The most common problem involves firewall configuration; Skype is pretty good about dealing with firewalls (I think using HTTP tunnels), but this issue crops up once in a while, and it's the big nuisance when you're trying to video chat with anyone who is not very computer savvy (since most people have no idea how to adjust these settings).

    Two other options:

    - Wengophone: http://www.openwengo.org/ -- this is a free, open source, cross-platform chat / VOIP software that also does AV chat. It also uses a HTTP tunnel to try to get around firewall issues. I don't have personal experience using it, but it's been frequently recommended for this purpose....

    - There are also some web-based, usually Flash, video chatting products where no one has to install any software. They might also be a very simple option. AFAIK, the quality will be inferior to Skype or Wengo.
     
  3. HelixOmnimedia thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HelixOmnimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    Traveling The World
    #3
    Just downloading Skype the now, I think there's a spare webcam in my house somewhere, but will probably need drivers for this.

    That sorted one problem, it turns out that my mum's laptop (sony vaio) has skype pre-installed and it comes up in the "AV" menu, so its a simple click for her to get it to work.

    However, I don't think i can convince my friends to get Skype... it took my three years to get them to download iTunes and buy an iPod... I don't think i have the energy to get them to do this :eek:

    They all seem to use MSN Messenger Live (or something along those lines).... I talk to them using Adium, which i know is basic text... is there any otherway to do video chat from a mac to vista with MSN?

    Again thanks for all the help
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    Mmmmm, yes and no. Between aMSN and Mercury Messenger, there is some limited level of webcam support, I think, but mostly cam + text and I'm not sure AV actually works completely or reliably.

    Of course, running Windows on your MBP is always an option if you really want to be able to AV with your Windows friends and they won't install software for you. If you really want to do AV on MSN, that's the best option, unfortunately.
     
  5. HelixOmnimedia thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HelixOmnimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    Traveling The World
    #5
    WOOHOO!

    I think i talked a couple of my friends into downloading Skype... I said it was the only way to stay in contact with me while I'm in Orlando, other than reading a blog... and with full screen video chat this sort of pushed them over the hesitation.

    It is free to use, right?

    When I make a "call" then chat and video chat... it doesn't cost a thing? Or is there some sort of payment required. I noticed that I can ring my home phone and mobile from my laptop but didn't want to answer - thought i would be charged. :D Just noticed that there's a $0.00 near the top and thought that this would start charging me for something.

    Anyway... its still all new and I thank mkrishnan for point it out.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Basically, any activity that involves Skype-to-Skype over the internet is free. Charges generally apply when you do something that involves Skype on one end and a phone on the other. Here're more details:

    http://www.skype.com/prices/#free
     

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