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Recommendation for a free (and good) video conferencing solution

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JoTo:
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? :) )
- 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.com/forum/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

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

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/main.jsp?pushNav=1&cmd=home

Deozaan:
Google+ Hangouts?

Jibz:
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).

JoTo:
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. :)

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? :)

If someone still has a recommendation, slap me with it please :) 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 :)))) ):
The conference is about planning our sailing trip in May that we will have on the 2-mast sailing ship "Greif". :)

Here is a picture of this ship:



Greetings
JoTo

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