How To Video Chat

Video call

Video chatting with family and friends can be a fun alternative to phone calls or emails. With many free websites available to host video chats, the process is becoming easier by the day. Knowing how to set up your webcam and what programs to use can make this process even simpler.

  1. Purchase a Webcam.  For video chatting, just about any webcam will do. If you are simply interested in casual chatting and don't need high definition resolution, there are many webcams for under $50 that will most likely suit your needs. There are some features that you should be on the lookout for when you're choosing a webcam.  Does the webcam have a built in microphone or headset?  If you have multiple people chatting into the same webcam, opt for the built in microphone.  Does the webcam mount to your computer or is it freestanding?  Depending on your computing style, this may matter.
  2. Installation of the Webcam.  Installation varies from webcam to webcam, so the best advice is to follow the directions. As a general rule, install the software first before plugging the webcam into your computer. Most webcams are very easy and simple to install. After the webcam is installed, ensure that it is working before moving on to the next step, which is installing your video chat software.
  3. Choosing a Delivery Service.  There are two major options when deciding how to get your video to its intended recipients. The first step involves using a program such as an instant messaging program or an exclusive video chat program. Perhaps the best option is the free Skype program which can be downloaded for free. Installation is very simple and involves a very fast download over high speed internet. Some other options include Yahoo!, MSN, AIM and iChat.

    Another possibility for video chatting is setting up a website. This process is much more detailed and is recommended only for advanced users. This method, known as FTP, is a great option for those still using dial up. To find more information on creating a website, simply search online and you'll find step by step instructions.

  4. Video Chatting.  Now you can actually begin to video chat. To start this process you will need to make sure the people you wish to talk to have the same program as you. You will then want to find the screen name of the person or people with whom you would like to talk. Then, you will want to message or call them depending on which program you are using. Once you are connected with them, make sure your webcam is turned on and select the video option. This option is usually very easy to find, but each program is different. If you cannot find this option utilize the help function built into the program you are using.
  5. Disconnecting.  Once you are done chatting, you will need to disconnect. This can be done by either clicking the disconnect button or exiting the program completely. 

Following these simple steps will make video chatting with family and friends a breeze.


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