The Scenario

I just moved away for university, and am living on campus. The internet is terribly slow. To further add to my troubles, I'm in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, whom I'd love to be able to webcam with, but at the same time, I'd love it if it didn't look like a stop-motion movie the whole time (I'm currently using Windows Live Messenger). I'd love to find a solution that can provide me with a smooth picture, while maintaining a low bandwidth consumption (which I think may help to alleviate the problem).

The Requirements

  • compatible with Windows
  • relatively low bandwidth consumption (either via compression or user-definable settings)
  • has synchronous audio chat (preferred)
  • good response rate/performance and frames per second

The Question

What is a good webcam & audio chat software for low-bandwidth usage, which will still provide a smooth picture (somewhat high FPS)?

  • even a low bandwidth broadband connection will suffice for voice chat, however, there is no cure for a poor ping, if that is indeed the problem. a ping beyond 250ms is not really suitable, no matter how well the compression may work. video might be out of the question altogether. focus on audio first. – Molly7244 Sep 9 '09 at 0:19

A few suggestions

  • Try a few different chat clients with video that allows you to tweak the video settings. I'm fairly happy with skype on windows.
  • Use good webcams on both ends.
  • And the easiest way to improve video calls. Use plenty of light
  • Nifle, can you comment on exactly what the tweakable video settings are in Skype? – Breakthrough Sep 9 '09 at 1:07
  • 1
    +1 for good, exact and short answer! Tweaking is not in Skype but in the webcam's driver software. (Depending on the driver software, this may or may not be called up from within Skype.) For instance if you're using a Logitech webcam with Skype, there's a bit of Logitech software that lets you adjust the resolution, light sensitivity, and so on. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Nov 9 '09 at 8:05

I have a HUE HD webcam and it also lets you adjust settings in the bundled software, which seem to carry over into Skype. I second the suggestion to try as many of the free messengers as you can. Yahoo offers some options for adjusting your bandwidth etc too. I have never tried them as fortunately for me I have a fast connection but good luck!!

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