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Author Topic: Recommendation for a free (and good) video conferencing solution  (Read 2862 times)
JoTo
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« on: March 21, 2013, 09:48:13 AM »

Greetings dear DoCo's,

i'm in need to find a video conferencing solution for a "meeting" of our countrywide maritime club. For this the following features should be included:

- Multi-participant in a shared conference room (so not a one on one solution, but like an IRC channel, but with audio and video).
- at least Windows platform should be supported (if crossplatform, why not? smiley )
- Free for personal/noncommercial use

It doesnt really matter if i need to setup a server myself or if the recommendation goes to a service in the internet (even if self-served is preferred though).

I used the forum search and found SupberboyACs thread: http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=23543.0 , but this doesnt fit my needs. Superboy searched for a 1:1 video connection (which e.g. Skype can do), but i need a kind of a "conference room" (everyone sees everyone in the room and everyone can speak to everyone in the room).

If that is not possible, maybe a (not prefered) fallback would be a kind of a "teacher/pupil" system, where one broadcasts video and all others can see it. But audio must be bi-directional though for asking questions and whatnot. A full conference with all video and audio to all others is still my premier goal.

I know i can use google to find (i assume) a gazillion of programs, but i cannot test and compare them all. So maybe if you can help me narrowing the pool of findings a bit to concentrate of some of the hopefully best ones would be great.

Every hint is much, much appreciated. Thanks to my "private think tank" (a.k.s. DonationCoder) again in advance for all the good hints and helping hands.

Greetings
JoTo
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cmpm
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 09:57:22 AM »

TalkShoe maybe...been a while since I used it though.
Needs Apple's QuickTime plug-in.

http://www.talkshoe.com/t...sp?pushNav=1&cmd=home
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Deozaan
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 11:42:49 AM »

Google+ Hangouts?
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Jibz
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 12:42:19 PM »

Hangouts are a good free solution yes, or I think it might be enough to have one person buy premium Skype and invite the rest to one big chat (not sure about this though, haven't tried it myself).
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 05:33:00 AM »

Hi all,

thank you for your suggestions.

Talkshoe is a bit confusing and needs Quicktime...well, at least possible to manage that. But the most other participants in this video conference will be pure pc zero knowledge people.

Same for Google+...that means everyone need a registration to Google and Google+. Even if this is free, i think that is not applicable here. Thank you anyway for the hint. Never heard of Hangouts...you always can learn something from Doco. smiley

I think i can go Jibz recommended way. As most of these people already use Skype and have installed it already and are familiar with. I think i will "donate" a skype premium account to myself *grin* and then i can initiate the video conference from my account. And yes Jibz, the Skype page says "at least ONE must have a premium account". And that can be me. So the others just can use what they already have without fiddling around.

Again i learned something (as a not every day Skype user) that it is possible to have conferences with Skype (audio only even with free account, for video you must have a premium account though). Nice! Thank you!

Nice and easy way found. Will make a test first, before the real conference takes place of course to see if it works good enough. But i think, Skype is so wide spreaded, there should be a bit of rumour if it wont work at all, shouldn't it? smiley

If someone still has a recommendation, slap me with it please smiley But at least the way to go with Skype is a very convinient way for the participants of the planned conference.

Just if someone is interested in (and to brag a bit smiley))) ):
The conference is about planning our sailing trip in May that we will have on the 2-mast sailing ship "Greif". smiley

Here is a picture of this ship:



Greetings
JoTo
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Deozaan
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 11:53:54 PM »

I don't really understand why you're okay with the idea of everybody signing up for and installing Skype on their machines (and paying for a membership)  but you don't like the idea of everybody signing up for a free Google account and not having to install anything... huh

But use what works best for you.  Thmbsup
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JoTo
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 04:27:42 AM »

Hi Deomaaan,

as i said in my posting, the advantage of Skype here is that 90% of the planned participants already HAVE a Skype account and already HAVE Skype installed and already ARE familiar with the Skype program.

That is not true for Google+. There i have to convince them to sign up and to be honest, even i find the google hell of services very confusing and complicated to use. Imagine how confusing this is for a pc dummie.

And, as this is highly likely to be a one-shot event (maybe twice if needed), i dont see the need of another account at Google for the others when they'll never use it again. The other way i decline strictly to open a Facebook account while most of the others have one. And i surely would decline to open one just for a single event too.

Therefore i think the already paved road is better way to go, even if costs a fee to drive on versus pick up your Machete and hit a new pathway through a jungle with a group of untrained newbies. smiley

There is a monthly plan for Skype premium which costs about $4. If i calculate the value of the 10 hours of my precious time that i would need to get them all together on a new service, this is worth every penny of it. (Who would work for $ 0.40/h?) smiley And, all the others can stay with their already existing free accounts. No need to upgrade to a premium account for them. Only ONE (the initiator of the conference) must have a premium account. The rest can work with free account. So no costs for them, as it would be the same with the free Google account, but much much less effort.

Greetings
JoTo
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 04:32:55 AM by JoTo » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 06:40:01 AM »

and who can argue with a Super Honorary Charter Member...

JoTo, I didn't even know your title existed, but I adore it ♥
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JoTo
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 09:36:45 AM »

Hi Curt,

Hahahahahahahaha! Well, i don't even know how i got it and why i deserve it. My forum activity can't be the reason when you look at my posting count of about 200 in 7,5 years of membership. I haven't paid anything extra for it and (citing Bill Clinton here) "I had NEVER any sexual relationship with mouser". smiley

Also, i'm always more on the taking side than on the giving one. I pulled out so many useful informations and hints from what i call "my private think tank" (a.k.a. Doco) and gave so few back. So this is not the reason too for sure. *SHRUG*

So the only explanation is, our mouseman were drunk when he generously granted me this title. I just remember he ended with the words "Get up now, SIR JOTO!" when he lifted of the swords blade from my shoulder. *LOL*

So this unsolvable riddle why i own this title is in a row with the other famous riddles of our world like "are we alone in the universe" and "why is the word 'abbreviation' such a long word". smiley

Back to the topic though:
Well, all my sputter about Skype over Google is based on the assumption, that technically all works fine with Skype as i understood and expect it. If not, i will be caught with my pants down and maybe have to return ruefully to Mr. Google (or any other recommendation that will come out in the future).

Humble Greetings
JoTo
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Curt
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 10:58:52 AM »

forgive me for grabbing this theory out of my pocket: Some people are using too much time on their computers, so they don't have any or at best only a few real world friends, and therefor don't have Skype Premium! The other people have very little time to play around with computers, but have Skype Premium because of their real world friends! These people have seldom even heard of Google+ Hangouts.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 12:13:17 PM »

Quote
  Get up now, SIR JOTO!" when he lifted of the swords blade from my shoulder. 
Ever wonder why you now have to carry your head in a bag?  Wink
 

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Chris
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 04:05:43 PM »

I would not say 'too much time', perhaps 'a lot of time'.
The amount of "real world friends" is not determined by either, imo.
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JoTo
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2013, 05:39:08 AM »

Hi Curt,

there was joke list about topic "You know you are Internet addicted when..." and one item was: "If all your friends contain an @ sign in their names" smiley))

Well i think 90% of Skype users have no premium account. So my friends which i need to hold a conference with have none too, i am nearly sure. But that is not neccesary. They can go with their free (normal - no premium) account and still can join the conference. Just one person of the conference (the inviter or creator of the conference) need to be premium. So no costs for anyone except me.

And even if i state that i "live in the internet" i havent heard about Google Hangout. I get lost all the time when i login into my Google account with all that gazillion of services they offer. I dont know what the most of them are good for. I just use Calendar and Play store. I have a gmail account which i dont use either. And i use the search engine of course. Thats it for me with Google. smiley

I think my DoCo Account is much more important for me than my Google account.

@Cranioscopical:
*LOL* yes that i wonder too. I always had the impression mouser did something wrong then. smiley But its convinient when i go to bowling. I bring my own ball with me! *LOL*

Greetings
JoTo
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Jibz
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2013, 06:05:49 AM »

Yes, Skype has become kind of the lowest common denominator in voice and video chat it seems -- even people who have no idea are able to use Skype, facebook and DropBox.

It will be interesting to see what happens once WebRTC evolves.
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2013, 09:15:42 AM »

The real question is,
How many syllables are in "cranioscopical"?
different for everyone i think... smiley
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JoTo
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 03:10:02 AM »

The real question is,
How many syllables are in "cranioscopical"?
different for everyone i think... smiley

Cra-ni-o-sco-pi-cal
Hmmm, i bet 6! Anyone more? smiley

@Jibz: Thank you, now i need to spend another more time and use Google again to find out what WebRTC is. You won't get any more coffee from me next time you join the IRC channel. HAH! That is what you deserve! smiley

Greetings
JoTo
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gailfrank
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 07:52:46 PM »

Try http://www.anymeeting.com/
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JoTo
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« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2013, 04:28:43 AM »

Hi Gailfrank,

nice finding! Looks good too. I will check that out and ask the others if they are accepting ads. If not, it is cheaper to go with Skype ($4) as with AnyMeeting ($18). But if ads are ok for the others, it will $0 and that is cheaper than Skype then. smiley

Thanks again for your effort and the notice.

Greetings
JoTo
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brahman
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« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2013, 03:05:20 PM »

12 people can video conference with www.Oovoo.com for free
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Regards, Brahman
JoTo
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2013, 02:58:18 AM »

Hi brahman,

thank you will check that out too.

Greetings
JoTo
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