USA Today: Compared with Apple’s iChat AV, MSN Messenger 6 ‘is for the dogs’

“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, 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.


  1. I might add that the little booklet that comes with the iSight camera warns that processor upgrades are not supported – the software/iSight works quite well with PowerMac and Powerbook processor upgrades.

  2. While I’d like to try iChat, all of my IM contacts are still Windows users, which means I’ll have to continue to use MSN until iChat can connect to MSN clients, with whatever functionality.

  3. You can still use iChat to text and voice with your Windows users. All they need is a free AIM account. Since MSN Messenger 6 has possibly the worst video support imaginable, you’d never use the unusable video anyway.

    Most of my contacts are still on Windows, too (though I’ve converted a half dozen to Macs over the past few months). They use AIM, Trillian, or any number of other free Win-based messenger apps with their AIM id and I use iChat.

  4. Well I’ve never used MSN Messenger, so I guess I can’t really give an opinion. All of my friends are on AIM anyways ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. my sister and i downloaded the msn 6 she can not use the audio on her computer ,,i can use mine with all my other contacts,,msn does not know how to fix her problum,,any one know how???we have no firewall and are ok talking in yahoo so its not her sound.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.