The videoconferencing apps mainly come in two flavors, browser-based and client-based. Most all run on Flash and require at least Flash Player 7 and others like Skype, iChat and ooVoo are stand-alone applications.
Most of them have similar functions with supporting a two-way video call, text chat, contact lists, scaling of windows and modest echo cancellation. Robin noted that many videoconferencing tools, "often integrate some complementary features, such as the ability to make VoIP phone calls, do screen-sharing, record sessions, transfer files, or whiteboarding." While many of those features are he added that premium services offer "pro features like better video quality, more participants, or advanced control and customization."
See his blog post for full descriptions and comparison tables of each product.
He used the following criteria to evaluate these tools:
1) Platform: Type of tool (software / web-based).
2) Video channels: Number of parties that can participate to a video conference at the same time (refers only to multi-party tools).
3) Public conference: Ability to make a video conference fully public.
4) Embeddable widget: Flash widget embeddable on web sites or social media sites.
5) Session recording: Feature to record your conference session for later review or publishing.
6) Text chat: Ability to text-chat other participants.
7) Other features: File transfer, screen-sharing, live annotation, whiteboarding, etc.
8) Pro starting price: Price and additional features of the first advanced pricing level.
Best Free and Low-Cost One-To-One Video Conferencing Tools
Best Free and Low-Cost Multi-Party Video Conferencing Tools
- Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro
This list was originally prepared by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on April 6th, 2009 as "Best Video Conferencing Tools: Free, Low-Cost, One-To-One And Multi-Party Solutions - Mini-Guide".