“Apple recently unveiled a clever program titled iChat AV, and even in its ”public beta” form, it blows away the competition. IChat AV isn’t the first IM program to let you schmooze, see and hear online. But some earlier systems have been plagued with hard-to-figure settings and difficulties getting through security measures,” reports Edward C. Baig for USA Today. “As befits Apple’s pedigree, iChat AV is easy, graceful and an eye-opener.”
Baig continues, “Holding video and audio conversations via Microsoft’s free MSN Messenger 6, which arrives Thursday, required a lot more effort. I used a $100 Logitech QuickCam USB camera, which like iSight contains a built-in microphone. You’ll need an MSN.com, Hotmail or Passport account. Microsoft has enhanced chat by letting you create your own emoticons and custom backgrounds. You can play games with a partner in real time and share files.”
“Alas, the audio was sometimes choppy and sometimes entirely absent. I had to go into my router and turn on a security setting called the Virtual DMZ before either party could be heard. The video didn’t measure up to Apple’s standards, though you can use any camera, USB or FireWire. You can display video in three different-sized windows but can’t enlarge them or go full screen. Using Messenger also can be baffling. When I first got into a conversation, the video came from the TV tuner card on my PC, and not the Web cam. Even though I was able to change the setting so that the Logitech camera took over, I had to repeat this the next time I started a video conversation,” Baig reports.
Baig concludes, “More confusion: Both parties have to click the Webcam button to allow the cameras to be used, but only one need click the audio button. A few times, I clicked the audio after my partner already had, and lost the sound. Microsoft’s latest provides some welcome improvements. But compared with the ease of iChat AV, Messenger 6 is for the dogs.”
Full article here.