For anyone who's ever made video calls over the Internet, with a company such as Skype, you've no doubt gotten frustrated with the choppy 15 fps (frames per second) video that looks a lot like somebody doing the robot with a strobe light Background. Skype has found a solution to this problem with their latest version, Skype 3.6, which offers High Quality (HQ) video with 640 x 480 VGA-quality video at 30 fps. This is almost like viewing the video call in DVD quality. The best part is that the Skype download is free.
Now I don't want to make this new HQ video sound too good to be true, because there are some hardware requirements that you need in order for the HQ video to work. Here are the basic requirements for Skype HQ video to work on your computer:
A broadband connection with at least 380kb of bandwidth for the application
A Logitech High Quality Video webcam
The Logitech HQ Video webcams are reasonably priced between $80 and $130 at the Skype website. Currently there are 3 Logitech webcams that are compatible with the Skype HQ Video application, which includes the Quickcam Pro 9000, Quickcam Pro for Notebooks, and the Quickcam Orbit AF. All 3 of these cameras feature a Carl Zeiss lens with autofocus, 2.0 MP video, and 8.0 MP photos. Logitech Quickcam Pro for Notebooks $80 Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF $129 Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 $80 Tom Keating of TMCnet recently reviewed the performance of the new Skype HQ video calls. He said this about the performance of this new application, "Importantly, when you move around quickly you don't get artifacts or the "blur" effect caused by a camera or the software not being able to keep up. In fact, waving my hand in front of the camera very fast it was still very smooth with no "blur" effect. Certainly, the bump from 15fps in the old Skype to 30fps in the HQ video version had a lot to do with this improved performance. Screenshot without HQ Screenshot with Skype HQ The picture quality of the new Skype HQ video is much better than previous Skype versions. Just look at the photos. Skype's revolutionary new software is going to leave the choppy video quality, experienced during Internet video calls, as a thing of the past.
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