Family Video Conferencing – Seeing Is Believing

After I got married, my family size increased and became more geographically diverse. Keeping in touch via telephone was okay but too be honest I am not much of a phone person. Video conferencing was a tool a tinkered with from time to time. Having an iMac, I had iChat to play with. It was great if the other person on the other end had an Apple. But let’s face it; it is not a true Apple world yet and most of my relatives use PCs.

I have worked with Citrix, WebEx, and more sophisticated VC systems at work and all were great for the business community with support personnel onsite to support it. However, at home and for personal use required a more unsophisticated way of conferencing. Let’s face it, would your great aunt in Iowa be able to troubleshoot communication link problems or understand video compression algorithms.

So I did an Internet search and came across Skype. Yes that Skype . Skype has a function for video conferencing. It worked great for international video calling. The drawback was it was only a one-to-one solution. We could not do group video calls which was vastly more appealing to my family.

I discovered Oovoo It was easy to install and worked with both Windows and OSX. It allowed 6 way video calls.

There were a few drawbacks.
A. International calling did not work well. Due to bandwidth limitations the video and audio became unintelligent. This was not an Oovoo issue but a local bandwidth issue.
B. If more than 3 people got on, an echo appeared. It forced us to mute our microphones when not in use. It made having free flow conversations a little difficult.
C. After the first month, Oovoo limits your subscription to 3 users at once and reduces your video quality to standard instead of high definition. 3+ users required a paid subscription. Free is still the best plan for any service. Having only 3 people on at once was not a bad thing it actually cut down the echo problem and made the session more manageable. The video quality, at least in my opinion also did not adversely affect my usage. Standard or high def seems to have very little difference.

So if you are looking for a universal piece of software that works with PCs and Macs, easy to install, easy to use then I highly recommend Oovoo.


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