Everything you need for a business call is in your desk drawers, and your assistant sits just outside your door to get the rest. Your entire family is together but you – or your spouse and/or kids – are ill and you cannot travel. These are the times that video conferencing on your desktop computer is a fine option. Thankfully, there are many desktop video conferencing options from which to choose, depending on your needs:
How it works: Unlike several video conferencing programs that often feature blurred images of users, this Scalable Video Codec (SVC) software is able to transmit high-definition images by “anticipating” the available bandwidth and scaling the video to match. Customers purchase the Vidyo Router, which includes the necessary software for download on desktop or mobile device.
Availability: PCs, Macs and mobile devices
Cost: Varies; must fill out online form and be contacted by representative for a “quick quote”
Pros: Seen as the next step in desktop video conferencing, due to the SVC software; recently created a virtual router for use across platforms with the same high-definition images
Cons: Pricey; desktop version requires a piece of hardware (Vidyo Router)
How it works: One of the first and best-known desktop video conferencing software options, Skype offers a free download for video conferencing to any other device with Skype, including smartphones and tablet computers. Group video conferencing also is available with a Skype Premium subscription.
Availability: Software accessible to any desktop, via skype.com.
Cost: Skype-to-Skype calls are free; costs for Skype credit and subscriptions rates vary, from 2.3 cents per minute with the pay-as-you-go credit.
Pros: Free and easy-to-download software; supports any device on which Skype is used, including internationally, with no fee Skype-to-Skype
Cons: Can only use with video conferencing if participant has Premium subscription; group video conferencing with video only available on desktops (voice-only on mobile); occasional outages of picture and sound
How it works: The Atlanta-based company’s iMeet allows conference participants to share documents, presentations and videos in their own private “room.”
Availability: Any desktop or other device with VoIP, no software or hardware required
Cost: Participants are free but creating a video conference “room” requires an iMeet subscription, which starts at $39 a month.
Pros: Accommodates video meetings with up to 15 people, anywhere in the world. HD quality picture.
How it works: This California-based online collaboration solutions company includes GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToTraining, each allowing employers to conduct business remotely and across various platforms.
Availability: Downloadable software
Cost: GoToMeeting plan month-to-month is $48, annual plan is $468.
Pros: Can record meetings, including graphics; can be set up to record graphics; free for participants; GoToWebinar has price points for up to 1,000 users; all fees are for unlimited use.
Cons: Recording only works on PCs, not on Macs; fee-based
How it works: Video conferencing and chat software for up to 12 people available for Macs, PCs and smartphones
Availability: Free downloadable software and app
Cost: Free download for unlimited video calls and conferencing for up to six people; Premium monthly plans from $89.55.
Pros: Record and download calls to YouTube; high-definition video; free video chat room feature
Cons: Can only record if you pay a monthly fee, however you can pay month-to-month for $10 per month.
Know of other options for desktop video conferencing? Leave us a note in the comments below.
Editor’s note: PGi is a Mother Nature Network sponsor.