Best Video Conferencing Tools That Anyone Can Use - VideoConferencing Sharewood Guide
Video conferencing tools allow you to use your standard webcam and broadband Internet connection to have multi-party videoconferences. Once reserved only to high-end and very costly proprietary hardware systems, videoconferencing tools and services have sharply grown in number and they now offer multiple useful alternatives that you can start using without having to spend a dollar.
Video conferencing tools often integrate some complementary features beyond video, audio/VoIP and text chat, such as a file transfer facility or an audio/ video recording feature.
In all cases their setup is extremely simple and can be completed in a matter of clicks. The quality of the video when using these tools can vary a great deal, but it generally is most influenced by two factors:
1) the quality of your webcam
2) the speed /bandwidth of your Internet connection.
To easily select which video conferencing tools would best match your specific needs, I have prepared a simple table, comparing their different key features:
- Streaming feeds number: Shows how many cameras can stream simultaneously
- Text-chat: Integrates a text-chat feature for you to send written messages to other participants
- File transfer: Allows you to send files to other people in the meeting
- Session Recording: Lets you record all of the video feeds and audios
- Web-based: Determines whether you need to download a software client in order to use the service
Finally I have separated video conferencing tools (where you can video clal three or more people) from simple video calling tools (like Skype) where you can video conference with only one person at a time.
Here all the details:
Best Video Conferencing And Video Calling Services - Comparison Table
* Values intended for paid versions only.
Video Conferencing Tools List
ooVoo is a video-conferencing software available for Windows and Mac. After a quick registration, you are able to communicate with people through text-chat, video-audio conference (up to six people) and also to record video messages. You can also share up to 20 files at once to as many contacts as you want, up to 25 MB per file. Still in beta, it is free to download and use.
- Adobe Connect Now
Adobe Connect Now is part of the new Acrobat.com of online collaboration tools. This one lets you create online meetings where you can do videoconferencing, VoIP conversations, whiteboard, share files, chat, and share your screen. You can change a person's role at anytime, and move the activity pods as you wish during the meeting. The service is free to use, as the rest of the suite, after a simple registration.
VSee is a free videoconferencing and application sharing service, and it allows you to talk with multiple people on your computer. You can remotely edit and annotate documents, share applications and desktops, transfer files, record and share videos, pan, tilt, and zoom remote cameras. Vsee is free to use for an unlimited number of people.
SightSpeed is a cross-platform videoconferencing system that is light, performing and cheap. You can use it to have video calls with up to 9 people, text-chat with them, share files, record your sessions and send video messages. Free for two people, or $9.95/month for 4 people and unlimited video storage. Also, a new web based version of the program is available.
PalBee.com is a video conferencing system, that has just launched a new version of the product. It lets you set up video meetings with up to 10 people, who can all whiteboard, upload PowerPoint presentations, record for one hour anything that happens in the conference and publish it as a video on YouTube. The service is completely free to use.
MeBeam is an easy-to-use Flash-based video conferencing tool that you can use to have video calls with people without having to install anything on your machine. To start a video conference, you just have to type a name for your room, share it with your friends, and click connect. It is completely web-based and free to use with no registration needed.
Vidivic is a video conferencing solution which allows you to hold online meetings using a webcam and a pc connected to the Internet. After a free registration, your are able to create meetings up to 4 hours with 9 participants at once, where you can see, talk and chat with each other. Currently in beta phase, it is completely free to sign up and use.
FlashMeeting is a video conferencing application based on the Adobe Flash 'plug in' and Flash Media Server. Running in a standard web browser window, it allows a group of people to meet from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Meetings are pre-booked by a registered user who just needs to share a URL. Users are provided with video and audio conferencing, along with the ability to perform web tours.
MegaMeeting, a web based video conferencing software. MegaMeeting requires no downloading: all you need is an internet browser, a broadband internet connection and a web camera or digital video camera. Up to 16 individuals can be seen at the same time, and an unlimited number of additional secure Video Conferencing attendees can see those 16.
Wengomeeting is a flash web-based service that allows you to video conferencing meetings without any software to download. You just need to register, add your colleagues email address and automatically your webconferencing room is created. A conference can have up to 5 users. Free.
EkkoTV is a free Flash-based service that you can use to have video conferences online with other two people. Without even register, you can just enter your name and a new room will be created: then you just spread the URL and wait for your friends to join you. EkkoTV is completely web-based and free to use.
Vawkr is a video conferencing chat service that allows you to get your own video chat room and talk with anyone. After you register to the service and create your own room, you can invite other people to join in simply by sending them your room's URL. The only available controls are the volume and microphone adjustment. The service is completely web-based and free to use.
Tokbox is a web-based video conferencing application that anyone can use to have video meetings online with 20 or more people. After a simple registration, you are able to create your video room where you can invite a friend and have a video conference with him. You can either embed your conference room on your site, or simply login in your Toxbox page and provide your friend's email to start the conference. Free.
iVisit is a free software for mobile and desktop computers that enables you to have video conferences with people. You can transmit live video/audio with up to 8 people at the same time, share hi-res photos, text-chat, and even track mobile users with the integrated GPS system. The software is free to download and use, with pro plans available.
Skype is a VoIP and video conferencing service that you can use to have one-to-one video calls. You can text-chat (also in group mode), have audio/video calls, transfer files and more. Video calls are limited to two people, but many are the third-party software that let you add more people, and also record your conferencing sessions. Free to use.
SnapYap is a free online voice conferencing tool, that anyone can use to have free one-to-one video-audio calls. Filling up a simple registration form, enables you to create your personal video conference room, in which you can invite anyone to join you: if they have a SnapYap account, you just need to insert their username, else just provide their email address and they will be sent an email with instructions to enter the room. Free to use.
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Originally written by Nico Canali De Rossi and Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on September 8th 2008 as "Best Video Conferencing Tools That Anyone Can Use - Sharewood Guide"
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