Internet Tip - Best Free Video Conference Software Review

Skype vs Sightspeed vs ooVoo vs Live Messenger vs AIM vs Yahoo Messenger vs Google Talk

Created: September 26, 2008
Last Modified: November 22, 2014
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This is a review of the best free video and voice conferencing software available for download on the Internet. If you know of some other free video conference software that you feel I should review then please email me at jeffsbaker@sbcglobal.net or leave a comment.

Click here for Audio Tips for Video Conference Software.

Point System
I will rank the value or quality of each item with a point from 0(worst) to 10(best).
1
Google Hangouts
http://www.google.com/hangouts/

Google Hangouts is a web application and phone app that offers One on one free video chat or video chat with up to 10 people!

Video: The video is realtime at about 30 frames per second. The video is somewhat blocky and stops sometimes.

Audio: The audio is very good with little feedback.

Free: Video Chat with up to 10 people on PC, Android and iPhone. Free Voice calls to US and Canada phone numbers.

Pay For: Phone calls to International phone numbers.

Video Quality
6
Audio Quality
8
2 ooVoo
http://www.oovoo.com/

(TIP: Uncheck "I accept the terms of the Ask End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy and want to install the Ask Toolbar and associated updater, which I can remove at any time" during installation)

ooVoo is a pretty nice video chat application where you can chat with more than one person at a time. (At the time of this writing you can video chat with 12 people at one time for free.) It also has support for mobile phones and devices. However it does have some bugs.

Video: The video is realtime at about 30 frames per second. The video is very clear but it is not full screen capable. After clicking some maximize buttons it finally fills almost half the screen. It would be nice if it were bigger. Also, the video looks good, but about every 30 seconds there is alot of garbage pixels on the screen covering peoples faces, but the garbage disappeared after about 5 to 10 seconds.

Audio: The audio is very clear. It doesn't sound robotic. However, the audio is very quiet. I would give the audio a better rating, but it needs to be louder.

Free: Up to 12-way video chat on PC, iPhone/iPad and Android. Screen Sharing.

Pay for: No Ads.

Video Quality
7
Audio Quality
7
3 www.skype.com
(TIP: Uncheck "Install Skype Click to Call" during installation)

Skype had a good balance between video and audio quality. However its fullscreen video quality could be better. Ever since Microsoft bought it and started updating it, the Skype users have been giving bad reviews for the product being of less quality. But now Skype has free group video chat for up to 10 people.

Video: Full Screen Video Supported The video is realtime at about 30 frames per second. It is not jumpy but it is somewhat blurry at times.

Audio: The audio is very loud. The audio quality is also very good with very little to no feedback.

Free: Group video chat (Up to 10) Note Only 1 on 1 video chat on iPhone/iPad and Android!

Pay for: Phone calls to mobiles and landlines.

Video Quality
7
Audio Quality
7

3 Skype http://www.sightspeed.com/

As of July 1, 2013, this video calling service is no longer available. For an alternative solution, please consider Skype.
(TIP: Uncheck "Sign up for SightSpeed's newsletter" and "Get the free Ask Search Toolbar")

Sightspeed has very good video quality at times. But the audio is not very good.

Logitech acquired Sightspeed and created Logitech Vid HD. You can get both at the above link. They are the same quality but Logitech Vid HD is just one on one free video chat and Sightspeed is now up to 9 way video conferencing, but it is pay for software now with a 30 day trial.

Video: Full Screen Video Supported Sightspeed has the best video out of the programs reviewed. The video is realtime at about 25 frames per second. Sometimes the video has a ghosting effect for a few seconds. The video also pauses sometimes.

Audio: The audio is just ok. Sometimes it is choppy. At other times the audio gets very loud and then it goes very soft a few seconds later. There is also some audio feedback.

Free: 1 on 1 video chat.

Pay for: up to 9 way video chat.

Video Quality
8
Audio Quality
5
5 Skype http://www.aim.com/
(TIP: While installing click on "Custom" and uncheck "Make AOL.com my home page", "Use AIM Search as my search engine", and "Install AIM Toolbar")

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) is very popular instant messaging software. It is also pretty good for video and voice conferencing.

Video: Full Screen Video Supported The video is realtime at about 25 frames per second. But the picture seems to be made up of big, blocky pixels.

Audio: The audio is very good. There is no audio feedback.

Free: 1 on 1 video chat.

Video Quality
6
Audio Quality
7
6 Skype Windows Live Messenger http://get.live.com/messenger
(TIP: Uncheck all the boxes about installing "Live Toolbar" and changing home page to MSN, etc.)

Windows Live Messenger (previously MSN Messenger) has some video conference capabilities but it is not the best.

Video: Full Screen Video Supported The video is realtime at about 30 frames per second. But the colors are very dark and it is somewhat blurry.

Audio: The audio stutters sometimes and has clipped speech. It also echos at times.

Free: 1 on 1 video chat.

Video Quality
6
Audio Quality
5
7 Skype http://messenger.yahoo.com/
(TIP: When installing click on "Custom Install" and uncheck "Yahoo Toolbar", "Yahoo Browser Services", "Make www.yahoo.com my browser home page" and "Make Yahoo my default search engine".)

Yahoo Messenger has not improved their video and voice chat in a while. It is behind the game in quality. It is also difficult to start. To view their video you have to click on Action -> View Webcam, and to start your video you have to click on Action -> Invite to View My Webcam.... For audio you have to click on Call Computer.

Video: Full Screen Video Supported The video is only at about 10 frames per second. The quality is not good. It is very jumpy. At full screen the edges are jagged and the video is blurry. It also pauses often.

Audio: The audio is squeaky with feedback.

Free: 1 on 1 video chat and also multi-video chat, but multi-video chat is very clunky and it seems to slow down to 1 frame per second.

Video Quality
4
Audio Quality
4

Audio Tips for Video Conference Software

If the person you are chatting with is hearing irritating or loud noises or a lot of feedback it may be that the microphone on your PC or the built-in micropone on your Laptop may be positioned incorrectly. To solve this problem, plug an external microphone into the microphone port on the computer.

If the audio volume is too low for the person you are chatting with then you may be able to turn up your microphone volume in a couple of ways. First try number 1, then try number 2.

  1. XP: Double click the speaker icon in the taskbar (or click on Start -> Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices. Under the volume tab click on Advanced) then click on Options -> Properties -> Recording -> OK. There you can raise the microhphone volume level.

    Vista: Click on Start -> Control Panel -> Sound -> Recording. There you can adjust the volume level for the microhpone.

  2. XP: Follow the steps in number 1 and then if there is an Advanced button under the microhpone volume then click on it and check Microphone boost, then click close. Note: This may make your mic volume too loud so you may have to then lower the volume control for the microphone.

    Vista: Follow the steps in number 1 then click on Custom and select Microphone 20dB Boost and click Ok. Note: This may make your mic volume too loud so you may have to then lower the volume control for the microphone.

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User Comments

There are 35 comments.

Displaying first 50 comments.

1. Posted By: Byte - - November 7, 2008, 2:58 pm
The info on comparing the various programs available free, was most helpful.Thanks.

How many ways can you spell microphone???

2. Posted By: Frank - - October 11, 2009, 6:59 am
I'm a big Skype fan and would only use that one if all my clients used it. I do ocassionally use MSN - which is fine. Skype definitely my favourite though.
Frank


3. Posted By: Robin - - January 18, 2010, 6:58 am
Yes I must agree Skype is the best. I am very happy with the echo cancellation in the latest version. In earlier versions I tended to get quite a lot of feedback. Rowan

4. Posted By: Michael Jones - - March 11, 2010, 6:56 am
Yup, have to agree on Skype - some brilliant VoIP technology that has greatly reduced the phone bills of a lot of people.

5. Posted By: Steve Jones - - April 7, 2010, 11:25 am
I'm sure my cell phone bill would be absolutely sky high if it weren't for Skype. :)
steve

6. Posted By: Benjamin Ball - - April 18, 2010, 12:48 pm
Thanks for your reviews - very helpful.
I was wondering if any of these programmes has a record and playback facility? I am looking for a specific business use which will allow us to record and play back the other party while in a video conference.
Thanks

Ben


7. Posted By: Temporary Tattoos - - April 30, 2010, 1:31 am
I agree, Skype is the best one I've found and is so universal that most people already have it.



8. Posted By: Solarflow - - June 14, 2010, 6:06 pm
Great review, thanks! I am a skyper myself - like a lot of people, I love the program but am always open to trying new things. Will keep this page in mind as a good resource.





9. Posted By: Joe Jackson - - July 1, 2010, 10:44 pm
Absolutely right! Skype is the best the quality and the reliability is #1, and I believe MSN sux big time.

Cain



10. Posted By: George ComputerScience - - July 14, 2010, 12:37 pm
I am doing some research about video-conferencing and it seems that this article is not clearly defining the difference between this concept and videocalling.

Video-calling is a point-to-point service which allow TWO PERSONS to hold a conversation featuring at least audio and video capabilities.

Video-conferencing is a multi-point service which expands the previous service for THREE or MORE PERSONS at the same time.

The current version of Skype (as of July 14th. 2010) , for instance, does not fit the definition of videoconferencing I'm providing here.

Despite this, I've considered this article helpful because it is not a bad idea to get some info about the features offered currently by the products in the list of this article.

11. Posted By: crazyhazy - - December 24, 2010, 4:39 am
Skype should technically not be in this list, it's only free for 28 days then you have to pay for it. Before any one says I am wrong this is about FREE video conferencing and not just a one to one video call which is free!!

12. Posted By: Simone Wendy - - March 1, 2011, 7:04 am
Thank you for the list of online meeting sites. A similar list should be compiled for business voip sites. Many times we need to have online conference calls that do not necessarily require application or desktop sharing, just audio. VOIP sites provide this and it would be nice to have a list of the best of these.

13. Posted By: crica888 - - March 6, 2011, 11:39 am
Until now I used only Skype(that is the best) and Yahoo. I will try the other tools and I will be back with a review. I am sure that the rest are good, too.

14. Posted By: poppykin - - May 13, 2011, 6:52 am
What about "Logitech Vid".
I think it beats them all

15. Posted By: Jeff - - May 25, 2011, 2:23 pm
@poppykin,

Logitech Vid is basically the same thing as sightspeed because Logitech bought sightspeed and is using their technology. Sightspeed became pay for video conferencing with up to 9 people and Logitech Vid became the 1 on 1 free video chat.

Jeff
www.seabreezecomputers.com

16. Posted By: tiantian - - June 10, 2011, 2:27 am
The free video conference Veeti is good. you can download and try www.veeti.co.uk/download/VeetiSetup

17. Posted By: Deborah - - June 22, 2011, 8:04 am
Hi,

I am looking for a free version of video conference software (like Adobe Connect) which can be used as a teaching medium. It allows people to access remotely from their pc the same document and for the teacher to be able to mark on or annotate the document live as the lesson progresses (using arrows/drawing lines in colour etc..). Does this exist or a cheaper version than Adobe?

Thanks for your help.

18. Posted By: Vivek - - July 20, 2011, 7:44 pm
Hi Jeff,

Can you please give your review on Dell video chat software. Is it really very good software with service of SightSpeed?

19. Posted By: Alex O - - August 20, 2011, 6:40 pm
Hi, this is for Deborah, I recently installed ooVoo on several computers and noticed that there is a desktop share feature that might be just what your looking for and it's free... Hope this info helped, look into it, thanks...

Also, I just upgraded to an HD 720P webcam (Microsoft HD-5000) and LOVE the HD video setting you can switch to while your in a live video call and really see the difference right on the spot, very cool.... Yahoo would have to stop the video call and make the changes and then call the other party back, lol?


Posted By: Deborah - - June 22, 2011, 8:04 am
Hi,

I am looking for a free version of video conference software (like Adobe Connect) which can be used as a teaching medium. It allows people to access remotely from their pc the same document and for the teacher to be able to mark on or annotate the document live as the lesson progresses (using arrows/drawing lines in colour etc..). Does this exist or a cheaper version than Adobe?

Thanks for you

20. Posted By: Alex O - - August 20, 2011, 7:13 pm
It's me again. I have to say using skype seems ok, but with ooVoo the audio/video quality is MUCH better then yahoo for instance and if you have an HD webcam the quality is fantastic! Mind you when making video calls from Orlando, FL to Cebu, Phillipines using yahoo, sux, skype was so so blocky video(strange enough?) but ooVoo seemed to turn out the best quality, and that was with 3 people in a group video chat, me on my flashed HTC EVO 4G (running on Boost Mobile 3G) using the Android ooVoo app, her on her HP DV7 laptop, and her brother at an internet cafe on the other side of the world, surprisingly the audio/video quality was great!, lol I was downstairs making her some Ramon noodles and her brother was watching me cook (10+min) lol, it gave him a smile, lol something different from just seeing her face on the screen for 2hrs...All in all it was alot of fun... I'd say, give ooVoo a try for a few days, then uninstall it if you don't like it... right?

21. Posted By: janettfung - - October 11, 2011, 4:10 pm
For a decent solution for business, you may consider RHUB web conferencing appliance (http://www.rhubcom.com/). It integrates remote support functions into their audio video conferencing services.

22. Posted By: Jillos - - December 15, 2011, 3:53 am
Hi,
Like Deborah I was looking for an alternative to the very pricey Connect, to use for e-learning collaboration.
Have downloaded ooVoo and it's looking good so far. It's a ahsme that you have to pay for more than 6 in the 'room' at a time, but hye, it is free!
Thanks for the list, whoever compiled this...
Jill

23. Posted By: Richard Bonomo - - January 19, 2012, 12:00 pm
Nice compilation. It would also be nice if you indicated on which OS platforms each application can run.

24. Posted By: Linzmeister - - February 17, 2012, 10:51 pm
Would you like to review Team Viewer meeting (personal edition) There are 3 paid editions also.

I am looking for something to do business video conference call with 6 sites.... NO Budget!!

25. Posted By: Jeff - - February 22, 2012, 11:06 am
@Linzmeister,

If you want to do only video conferencing with 6 people for free then I would try oovoo.

I have used TeamViewer but only to control another computer from a remote location. TeamViewer is mainly for controlling other computers from remote locations or sharing stuff on your screen with others like presentations and I guess it also has video chat. But offering so much I can't imagine that it could do a great job at all those things.

Jeff
www.seabreezecomputers.com/

26. Posted By: Imre Palasti - - April 19, 2012, 3:19 am
Where is the Talk Fusion videoconferenc?

27. Posted By: Anne - anne@vsee.com - May 1, 2012, 7:16 am
Have you tried VSee (vsee.com) before? I would love to see what you think of it. It focuses on great video + quick collaboration (app-share with annotation, file-transfer). It is very low-bandwidth (half of what Skype uses) so you can get pretty good video even over 3G networks.

28. Posted By: boyan - - June 10, 2012, 4:40 pm
Hi!

Im really excited about your review, it is really extensive!

I couldnt help but notice that www.meetingl.com isnt included. Its pretty easy and streght forward, no install required as it runs on flash and free for use, certainly i would recommend it and maybe it is even worth including in your review!

regards
Boyan
from www.meetingl.com

29. Posted By: nevit - - August 31, 2012, 6:53 pm
Take a look at www.takimee.com voice chat

30. Posted By: Conferencing - - November 1, 2012, 5:08 am
For conferencing related service visit http://www.arkadin.com/hk-en

31. Posted By: Web conferencing - - November 21, 2012, 10:33 pm
You have forget Arkadin which is best conferencing service provider.
For more details visit http://www.arkadin.com/my
Or
http://www.arkadin.com/hk-en


32. Posted By: abbas javed - - January 31, 2013, 9:14 am
Great review! I also use one video conferencing application named Banckle Meeting. It pretty simple and straight forward to use. With its competitive subscription price and user-friendly user interface, its fun to host online meetings through Banckle Meeting. I think you should include Banckle Meeting in the above list. Kindly try out banckle.com/apps/meeting/overview.html

33. Posted By: michaelclark - - June 12, 2013, 3:51 am
Thank you for the list. On premise RHUB web conferencing appliances is another very good option for conducting webinars, web conferences, online meetings, online presentations etc.


34. Posted By: M TALCOD - - July 24, 2013, 8:23 am
Great list. BigBlueButton is really fine. Open source software solutions grow in popularity even if they are still considered by some as 'false economy' solutions. I'm currently working at TALCOD (French Open source and Web agency), and all the customers seem satisfied with the solutions and videoconferencing rooms that we base on BigBlueButton. I do believe that open source solutions have a bright future.

35. Posted By: Karel - - December 10, 2013, 12:41 am
What about AnyMeeting?
www.anymeeting.com/defaultB.aspx