Best Video Conferencing Software

Video conferencing tools you should know about

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Not too long ago, before high speed Internet access became common in homes and offices everywhere, the idea that we could chat with and, at the same time, see someone far away seemed like it was straight out of a science fiction movie. Now, video conferencing has become an important tool for both personal and business communications. With so many video conferencing options around, though, it’s difficult to know which ones really deliver.

To help you narrow down your search for the best video conferencing software, I've looked into a number of video conferencing software and listed below the ones you should really consider, based on their reliability, pricing, and set of useful features. These tools are different from other online meeting applications, as they have video at their core - they can detect and connect with your webcam and also deliver a high quality image to all participants.

Ed. note: This article was written before Google Hangouts was introduced. It's now one of the best video conferencing tools and also free. 

1. Skype - This is a tool that is not only well known, it is trusted by millions of people around the world. While its most popular use is in the home, Skype has a business offering that is cheap and reliable. First of all, there is a group video call feature, which will work as long as all of those in the call have the latest Skype for Business version.

However, only the host needs to sign up for the group video service. Skype also allows for conference calling and screen and file sharing, so it can also be an effective online collaboration tool. Skype group video calling is now free.

2. TokBox Video Conference - This is a unique video conferencing service that lets your audience (up to 200 people per conference) send you video questions, really making your virtual conference feel like a face-to-face one.

Video questions can be sent in advance of the meeting, so presenters can review them and decide if they want to make the video public. Presenters can also put meeting participants on screen and move them off at any time. And to make the job easier, they can even appoint a ‘meeting producer’ who will be responsible for all video-related issues. Attendees can request to go on-screen at any time, so they can be seen when asking a question or making a comment, for example. This tool starts at $39.39 per month.

3. ooVoo - A nice, easy-to-use interface is what sets this tool apart from its competitors. But it’s not just built on looks, as it has some great features. For example, it allows for six people to video conference at a time, in high quality. But best of all, it also has the ability to record video conferences, storing up to 1,000 minutes of those online - this makes it easy to share the recording with your colleagues after the video conference has taken place. Users can also record and send video messages to other ooVoo subscribers. The one downside is that it is pricier than its alternatives, as it costs $39.95 per month for only one seat.

4. MegaMeeting - A browser-based video conferencing tool, MegaMeeting is full of useful features.

For example, it offers unlimited video conferencing with anyone, anywhere in the world and allows for up to 16 people at a time to participate in a video conference. Users can control the quality of the video conference, and also how many frames per second are seen, meaning that they can adjust how often the webcam image is refreshed to the video conference attendees. MegaMeeting also supports the sharing of presentations and the customization of the meeting room with a company logo. This software costs $45 per month for three subscriptions.

5. SightSpeed - Made by Logitech, this tool allows for up to nine people to video conference at once.

It also has a video mail function that lets users send videos of up to five minutes to any e-mail inbox. These videos do not have to be downloaded, as they are stored by SightSpeed and can be viewed by clicking a link. In addition, the responses to your video mails are also tracked and stored, so it’s easy to see what kinds of reactions to your videos you have received. Like Skype, it also has a file-sharing facility - so presentations and other materials can be sent during your video conferences. A single seat costs $19.95 per month.

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