The Podiyan

Friday, June 4, 2010

Video Chat: How to Get Started

Not too long ago, video phones were more sci-fi fantasy than reality—something you'd see, for instance, on the popular cartoon, The Jetsons. Then along came broadband Internet.

Suddenly, what was once a technological pipe dream became reality. Not surprisingly, the first few attempts were disappointing.

These days, however, video chats, or calls, are practically mainstream thanks to the proliferation of webcams, and fast Internet connections.
Video chatting is easy—if you know where to look, how to set it up, and how to get all of your friends, family, and co-workers on compatible systems. Here's all the information you need to get started.


The cameras used today for most video chats are called webcams, a term that dates back to the days when they were mainly used to show a continuous streaming image of something on a Web page. Today, they're built into just about every laptop. And the free-standing Webcams can do a lot even though they're powered by nothing more than a USB connection.
In fact, most even come with an improved microphone and almost high-definition video capabilities. Don't expect to get that kind of quality with full-motion video on most calls; even a mediocre Internet connection will drop the quality.

Recommended Webcams:

Logitech Webcam C600
$79.99 list
The Logitech Webcam C600 offers 2-megapixel still image capture, clear, 720p HD video recording (even in lower light), crisp audio, and useful bundled software, all for a very reasonable price.
• Read our Logitech Webcam C600 review.

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
$79.95 list

The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema offers sleek styling and solid video quality, but audio performance isn't this HD webcam's strong suit.


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