How do I setup video chat that actually works?

by on November 23, 2008

Q: I want to set my parents and myself up so we can video chat. I have a new hp computer with Vista. My dad has an old Dell probably running Windows ME. Could you suggest what to buy to accomplish being able to talk and see each other via our computers? We tried some cheap cameras once but the streaming was bad and the audio quality not very good.

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3 Responses to “How do I setup video chat that actually works?”
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    Webcam, microphone, and chat technologies have all improved significantly since the days of Windows ME.

    Both you and your dad will need broadband internet connections — cable internet, DSL, etc. Then make sure that you both have webcams with a quality of at least 2.0 megapixels. For superior sound quality, both you and your dad should use USB-based and/or Bluetooth-based microphones. I recommend headsets over microphones that sit on a desk, and USB will be easier and less expensive than Bluetooth.

    Regarding chatting software, consider the following free programs:

    Does this help?


    It should also be noted that google has a new video chat that is built into their email application and it can be found at but it does not work with Windows ME so it will not work in this case but might work for others.


    I misread your post. I thought that your dad had replaced his ME computer with a Vista PC. Sorry for the misunderstanding…

    Microsoft considers Windows ME to be obsolete; Microsoft stopped providing security updates for ME in 2006. Because ME is now obsolete (and therefore unsafe), most of today’s chat software will only run on Windows 2000/XP or higher.

    I recommend that you consider upgrading your dad’s computer to Windows XP (many ME computers cannot be upgraded to Vista). Or, you may wish to encourage your dad to purchase a new computer.