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Staying in touch with far away family members via web cams?

By webbr1 ·
Hey I am wondering what the best way would be in terms of web camera equipment, connectivity, software, services, etc to keep in touch with family members of mine who are thousands of miles away. I am trying to see if I can do something like set up two cameras, connected to two different Windows XP computer systems, and be able to use something like that to video conference. I've heard and seen many different sites on the Internet, but I'm not looking for a corporate video conferencing solution for thousands of dollars. Anyone have any recommendations on how to accomplish this? Any help would be much appreciated!

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XP already has messenger

by Jacky Howe In reply to Staying in touch with far ...

built in that will allow you to view your Contacts with a Web Cam and have a conversation with someone else who is a Contact. Both users will need to have an account to be able to do it.

There are other alternatives like Skype and Yahoo and they will have to be setup as well.

http://download.live.com/?sku=messenger

http://www.skype.com/intl/en/

http://www.yahoo.com/

Have a read of the documentation on these sites.

Edit to add:

http://www.netalert.gov.au/advice/services/im/What_is_instant_messaging.html

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This isn't hard at all.

by OH Smeg In reply to Staying in touch with far ...

All you need is a web cam and a Internet Connection at both ends. Once the Web Cam is correctly configured and working with Instant Messenger it is just a matter of inviting the other family member to join you for a Video Linkup.

I have set this up for several people who have no wish to use a computer in any great detail and they don't have any problem with using Windows Instant Messenger which can be set to open every time that the computers is turned on.

Or you can use one of the many other Messenger Applications that are available like Yahoo and so on or even Skype.

But as you already have Instant Messenger in Windows that is probably the easiest to use. If you travel internationally you keep the same IM Address and it's very easy to contact the person. The only thing you have to remember is Different Time Zones. I know several Traveling Reps who use this to stay in contact with the Office when they are traveling.

All you have to do is setup a Free IM Account with M$ and your right to go.

Col

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I use a web cam specifically for that purpose.

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Staying in touch with far ...

...and I have friends that prefer using Windows Live! Messenger, and some that stick with Skype, but for the past two years, the one that all my relatives use and most of my friends is SightSpeed - it's free and both PC and Mac compatible. http://www.sightspeed.com/ I think it has the best video quality. Skype, however, seems to have the best audio performance regardless where in the world the caller is.

For the actual cam, I prefer the MS LifeCam VX-6000 that I use, but there are newer ones now available that supposedly provide better resolution.

For a fun & free software accessory, get ManyCam: http://www.manycam.com/

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