Video chatting is helping millions of people from all over the world connect easily and seamlessly every day using their PC. From geographically dispersed boardrooms to re-connecting loved ones across the globe it has become an indispensable communication tool that bridges distances at the click of a button.
A number of platforms exist that allow us to video chat across the internet. For the most part one would need;
A good quality webcam is a quintessential gadget in holding a video call. Webcams have improved drastically since they were first introduced to the market; now boasting HD resolutions and smoother frame rates. New netbooks and notebooks tend to have built-in webcams making this technology widely available.
Webcams come in all shapes and sizes with more features and enhancements then you can shake a stick at. Prices vary from a few bucks into the thousands for a fully fledged video conferencing solution. Depending on your budget always try to choose a reputable brand and online stores have customer feedback forums built right into the product page allowing you to make informed decisions.
Most webcams come with a built-in microphone eliminating the need to purchase an additional microphone. Remember to check the specification list as if this is not included, a separate microphone would be required. Laptops and some monitors tend to have these built in so always check before buying one.
Speakers will allow you to hear and share the conversation with those around you whilst headphones or a headset (a unit incorporating headphones and a microphone) will allow you to have more private conversations. Again, these tend to be built in laptops and computers however a number of alternatives exist if they are not available.
Video-Conferencing software completes the circle by connecting the webcam, microphone and speakers and operates the video call between you and the person or people you want to call. It presents the interface and the technology to connect with virtually anyone, each having its own features and highlights. We will take a look at the most commonly used applications and some new ones that offer flexibility, ease of use and accessibility.
Skype is one of the most widely-used communication tools that offers free voice, video and text-based (instant messaging) communications. It’s available on multiple platforms including PCs, mobile phones and even on the latest-generation TVs.
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