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November 22nd, 2011

Making video calls is easier and cheaper than ever. Home users can start with just a webcam and headset for video conferencing with family and friends, while businesses can choose from “industrial strength” online services and native, in-house systems. Let’s take a look at the whole range of video conferencing options from free to customized.

Free and low-cost video conferencing

Video ConferencingSkype, one of the first video calling services, is still the most popular VoIP voice and chat application. Only one-to-one communication is supported without adding (and debugging) third-party plug-ins. But Skype runs on everything, from an iPad rental or iPhone, to laptops and desktops running Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

ooVoo, another free video conferencing service, supports up to six users, plus video mail. Because the service has its own servers, it can offer good quality.

SightSpeed is a free PC-based calling and one-party video-conferencing application. At just $4.95 monthly, the paid service adds video mail, multi-user capability and file sharing. Running on All-In-One Multitouch Display PC, SightSpeed calling is like stepping into a Sci-Fi Channel feature.

Yugma offers free teleconferencing for as many as 10 participants. Like Skype, it is compatible with the three major OS packages, and the paid version supports up to 500 participants.

Tokbox offers free video conferencing with up to six users via your browser, making it the best kind of video conferencing on a PC Desktop Computer Rental – there’s nothing to download or install.

iChat is the messaging, VoIP and video conferencing application installed on all Macintoshes, like a iMac rental. A feature-rich solution, it requires you to have an AppleID or AOL account to do video calling.

Business services

Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional combines powerful audio and video conferencing, file sharing and a whiteboard – a “complete web communications solution” – in various pay-per-use plans with flexible pricing. Free trials can be arranged.

AT&T Connect, especially designed for corporate use, has scalable IP software architectures for voice and video communication. Partially hosted and partially on-site, firms negotiate a fixed price for either defined or unlimited usage.

WebEx – a paid video conferencing, chat and file sharing service – works with an installed application. A 14-day free trial lets you work with as many as 10 total participants, and paid solutions can be tailored for small, medium or large companies.

Companies with enough money (and need) can build custom in-house systems. The cost for a wall-size screen and all the other bells and whistles can be six figures or more.

In the meantime, whatever you need in high-tech gear, like a screaming-fast Mac Pro for post-production or some heavy-duty RAID storage, we’re here for you. One call, one-email or a few clicks on our Quick Rental Quote form, and an experienced Account Manager will help you overcome whatever challenges you face!

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