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Communications

Video for Skype Users 140

Kozmik writes "Looks like the first of likely many video plugins for Skype has arrived. Dialcom claims the plugin which works with Skype, will provided end to end encrypted video that will work behind NATs, proxies and firewalls. Currently only supports Windows."
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Video for Skype Users

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  • by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @10:56AM (#12684062) Journal
    I thought of this sometime last week. I was astonished to discover no results when I queried Google. I suppose someone out there is knocking together an IP over Skype stack and has yet to unleash it on the world... but at least I wasn't unsuspecting. I wonder if IP over Skype might win the 5000 EUR award for the Skype API Competition [skype.com]
    • Only on Slashdot would this be modded "Interesting".

      That is all.
    • IPoVoIP That's not redundant!
    • Too easy. Dig up two 300-baud modems. Jack them into the headset connections. Put them in local mode. Dial up your skype connection. Send and receive at glorious teletype speed.

      This is much faster than the old technologies of SCSI over pager, or morse code on drive select light.
      • You're joking here, but I seriously considered using Skype for international FTN (FidoNET) calls. If anyone knows how to set this up, preferrably without any hardware trickery (that is, a "software modem" implementation that would use Skype to dial other modems), please tell!
    • For those that seem sceptical, this is actually a reasonably good idea.

      The purpose would be to layer a routable network layer on top of the encrypted P2P network that is the skype network, not to layer it on top of VOIP. Privacy, security and anonymity are the keys to making something like this valuable.

      I don't think you could use IPv4, however. To make such a scheme work, you would need a very large IP address space that was completely reserved for the Skype nodes themselves to ensure propper routi
  • Hardware (Score:3, Informative)

    by graphicartist82 ( 462767 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @11:01AM (#12684105)
    Maybe I'm missing something, but how does this fall under the "Hardware" /. section?
  • Tried it yesterday (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeanluc.bonnafoux ( 611600 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @11:08AM (#12684169)
    And it works fine.

    I was using Yahoo! messenger for video and skype for the voice but video4skype seems quite better than Yahoo!
    I wonder what kind of algorithm they use.
    • > And it works fine.

      All I need now is a reason to look at the person I'm talking to instead of just listening to what they're saying. It's said that only 7% of communication is verbal - the rest is visual. This must be why, when I travel abroad, I can understand nearly all of whatever it is that they're saying, even though I don't speak Thai, Danish, Greek etc. So the ability to send video and audio is probably going to prove to be what finally brings about world peace.

      Yes, I still listen to radio, a
    • I also tried it. I thought it was nice UI and all, but I wasn't that impressed with the video (slow and fuzzy -- but better than Yahoo). There's another Skype plug-in one called vSkype (www.vskype.com). Looks pretty cool as it does groups and sharing too. Not out yet though, a sign up form on the website, waiting...
      • I heard vSkype is launching very soon. From looking at their site you can also sign up as tester and get to try the service before they actually launch. For me, video and picture sharing will make my communications much better. Also, they claim they can do groups which is also missing from the video4skype. It's sure getting interesting in this market. Hans
  • Yay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjrauhal ( 144713 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @11:09AM (#12684186) Homepage
    More incentive to use a completely closed and proprietary VOIP solution. This increases its appeal level to less than desirable!
    • it can work..

      Ever heard of AOL?

      Yes, losing out on it's subscriber base,
      but really, their closed and proprietary IP connection is quite heavily utilized.

      Shudder-- I actually push it on people who won't get broadband, for their SE edition stuff.
      I just make them yank all their then existing anti-virus stuff first.

      • It's all about vendor lock-in [wikipedia.org]. User friendly software isn't isolated to proprietory protocols.

        Imagine "Proprietory batteries not included" on a the box a toy comes with. You might have a cupboard full of batteries, however, if you don't have the right proprietory one, the kid with the new toy on Christmas day won't be able to play with it.

        Imagine having to buy a TV set for each channel you wanted to watch. Imagine having to buy manufacturer made petrol for each different car. Imagine having to only park

    • Re:Yay (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lightspawn ( 155347 )
      More incentive to use a completely closed and proprietary VOIP solution

      Fine. Please recommend an open source, multiplatform VOIP solution that just works, letting people find each other and communicate securely without understanding their firewall configuration etc or having to type in the address of (or install?) a central server. If possible, something that supports video and/or text and/or whiteboard functionality.

      • ..communicate securely..

        Are you implying that Skupe lets you to communicate securely ? Last time I checked that claim that but offer no prove. Sorry, but closed-standard security should be treated as no security at all .. or you'll be in for a big surprise.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    HandStand [217.15.33.218]
    Super Mario [217.15.33.218]
    ?????? [217.15.33.218]

    Just an observation, but they seriously need to get a new set of stock photos.
    • Don't you recognise happy people when you see them? The whole thing worked right out of the box.. no need to tinker or understand that what is under the hood.. Yay!!! now I only have to come up with what to say to my friends or colleagues :) .

      Actually I like Skype a lot.. I used it a lot. The only thing is that it does not have echo cancelling algorithm. It does suffer from that hence the need for headphones with microphones.

      Cheers, A.

  • yippeeyahooooooo!! Finally.. some high quality live porn opportunity!
  • It's a software download. Why does the front page of Slashdot read: Hardware: Video for Skype Users

    And, yes, of course you need hardware like a web cam to actually send real time images, but if that's the definition of when something gets flagged hardware then wouldn't almost every story require some hardware?

  • I use ichat to Video Chat with with my friend useing the AIM service, on both PC and Macintosh. So my Question is; Whats wrong with useing AIM or the open standard , Jabber for this kind of work?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't be lured into using this just because it runs on linux too. It is not free. Install Linux on something other than an Intel machine, and you suddenly discover that a lot of this "free" stuff is not as free as you would like. No source code, no install for your Linux PPC. We Asterisk or a similar project to solve this. Maybe Gaim with Voice and Video?
    • No, no, not GAIM. I want this as an asterisk plugin, compatible with iChat, MSN, Y!Messenger, and the new VVoIP (Video/Voice over IP) hardware phones that are comming out.

      I really want this -- when people start doing it I'll ditch my landline for sure.

      Hopefully, this'll persuade the OSS community to come up with an equivilent. Thunderbirds-style video conferancing here we come!
    • Don't be lured into using this just because it runs on linux too.

      Try reading the article or even the Slashdot story - it doesn't run on Linux, only Windows!

  • I think I'm going to be ill. I had no idea webcams were so good at capturing motion. That girl doing the splits on the help page made me give up in dispair. And I'm pretty sure the "in action" screenshot on the front page is faked -- or a cutscene. Webcam apps have cutscenes, don't they?
  • Great to see that Skype is moving forward.

    Now, when will a Palm client surface? This has been a very long-time requested client, but it has fallen on deaf ears, Very unfortunate...
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @11:32AM (#12684382) Homepage
    I don't suppose we're in danger of anyone adhering to or creating standards for this anytime soon. I really like Apple's iChat 'solution' but it simply doesn't play well with others which makes it worthless (unless everyone you know owns a mac... which they inevitably don't). It was cool that iChat has adopted jabber and AIM, but it would be cooler if they'd open iChat completely especially as all they appear to do is decoded 3 streams and distribute 1 H.264 streams (I say all I have no idea how complex that should be).

    A four way, hetrogeous video chat shouldn't be a pipedream with todays technology

  • by bcmm ( 768152 )
    *Reads article*

    Wow! I've been waiting for this. And it will work with my firewall! And... Oh wait, boring.
  • I did a little reading up about Skype, mainly to find out what the hell it was. Allows you to do the headphones/microphone chat with someone else that has Skype, which is nice, yet not very practical. So then I was dismayed to see some sort of "Account Balance" in the Skype GUI screenshot, in Euros. A cost for something supposedly free? Apparently Skype has a "SkypeOut" feature which lets you buy phone credit in advance, then call someone who has a normal phone line. It's dirt cheap if they're in the U
    • I use the Logitech USB headphone myself with Skype. The voice quality is great - better than any phone I've ever used. The SkypeIn feature is worth a looksee as well - it's in beta now, but you can receive phone calls and record voicemail with it, even if you're on the road with your laptop. It's even possible to get out of state phone numbers to ring your Skype account too. USB headsets work like a secondary sound system for your PC - and you can tell Skype to ring the main speakers, but use the headse
    • It is totally free, as long as both ends have Skype. Much like any other chat program. The advantage of the "calling card" feature (or whatever you want to call it)is that you can use Skype to call someone that doesn't even have a computer, by which it uses Skype to communicate to the country in question over the net which then routes to a local exchange and dials out from there, which is why it's so cheap. I researched the USB phones a while back. Personally, I'd want a portable, but they're european
    • all you really need is a speaker and a microphone. my thinkpad has both of them built in, so i just talk straight at it. you can also just use the regular headphone and microphone inputs and outputs on your soundcard.

      skype have also teamed up with a number of 3rd parties to bring, as you mention, usb-based handsets & headsets out that support Skype. you can find them here [skype.com]. the headsets may look a bit ridorkulous, but a colleague (developer) at the office here uses one and swears by it. he can code and
    • I use Skype on my thinkpad just fine with the built in mic and sometimes I use headphones if I need to turn the other person up. I also just bought a skypein number so landlines can call me, and its awesome!
    • Instead of a USB phone, what you can do is get a "USB to RJ11" adaptor. It is actually just a USB based sound card that you can connect a normal telephone handset to. I got one off ebay for about 30 euro (cost+shipping), sent out from Taiwan. These devices haven't reached the computer stores yet. I'm using one with my cordless phone and it works well. (It's connected to a windows box BTW). I've disconnected my landline and use SkypeOut for long distance calls (and my mobile phone).

      Sure Skype is a closed so
      • Sure Skype is a closed source product, but so was my landline. Lesser (and cheaper) of two evils.

        The main issue with Skype isn't whether it is closed source or not, it is that it uses proprietory protocols. You can't get a "skype phone" from anybody else other than skype. While a "skype phone" is free (as in beer), there must be a reason why they continue to use proprietory standards. You'll be paying somewhere else. Generally, it is likely to be Vendor lock-in [wikipedia.org], it is just not obvious yet how they're go

    • In addition to this, you can also buy numbers in foreign countries for a fairly reasonable price. If you have friends/family in another country, you can buy a local number in that country, then they can call that number, which is forwarded over the IP network to ring to your PC... so basically for a small monthly fee, your overseas folks can make a local call which can ring to your PC anywhere it can be connected to a network, or go to skype voicemail which again is accessible via PC. Pretty nifty idea I
      • so basically for a small monthly fee, your overses folks can make a local call

        I can't buy a local number in a country that Skype doesn't support, right? I can, however, buy a number in a country that's much closer to someone else's country. Or am I misunderstanding something? If I have it right, is there an easy way to find the most economical number to purchase from Skype for such a non-Skyped country?

        • I can't buy a local number in a country that Skype doesn't support, right?

          From what I have read, that's correct. As for which is cheapest... general rule of thumb is intra-city I'm guessing that Skype will expand this service as much as is possible (or at least profitable) so their coverage *should* improve with time.

    • Bluetooth.

      I hadn't thought of this until a friend showed me. I use my bluetooth mobile phone headset as an audio gateway on my computer (laptop). It works great for phone calls using Skype, Vonage, and probably anything else. The bluetooth headset replaces your regular speakers and microphone while it is connected. I regularly walk around the room or even into the next room during conversations. This is especially great if you travel frequently as a bluetooth headset is probably much smaller than any other
  • Nice, but how about Linux version? Skype itself works perfectly under Linux.
  • For the life of me, I can't seem to find any information on how much bandwith is needed for video conferencing? Anyone have a guess to how much bandwith is needed for video? So I'm guessing this isn't based on H.32x protocol? The reason I ask is because other countries definitely work on limited bandwith, with 56k being the norm. My friend wants to video conference yet is unsure about how much bandwith would be used over an hour of voice and audio.
    • It totally depends on the plugin. The plugin will determine size of the image, quality of the image, compression of the image and whether it does stuff like only send changes to the image (by that I mean if a color is the same in a given pixel, it ignores it, and only sends the changed pixel information). That saves tons of bandwidth right there. So in short, there's no good answer short of either doing a pissload of research on a given plugin, or just running it and measuring what's going through the n
  • Here is a working link [dialcom.com]. This application seems pretty suspect - it wants to install ActiveX components in IE browsers, and in Firefox it's asking for permission to install something that looks very suspicious. Beware!
    • I had used Skype for gaming, and it seemed to work great, then I read somewhere that the same shmoes who built KaZaa created Skype, and that it had adware/spyware embedded in it (website says it does not...) Also it does try to use your network/bandwidth as a supernode, much like Kazaa did. I cant confirm any of this personally, does anyone know if this really is from the KaZaa goobers or not?
      • Skype actually is from some of the designers of KaZaa IIRC, but they weren't the ones who added the spyware and Skype is spyware free. This video add-on, however, isn't actually from Skype, it's a third party and it looks to me like adware. I won't be installing it until I'm clear on what it might do, but I've tried Skype and been very impressed with it on calls from the US to Korea.
    • Re:Spyware? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b0bby ( 201198 )
      Yeah, I don't like the wording of their agreement either:
      "You also understand and agree that the Service may include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for Dialcom to provide the Service. You also understand and agree that the Service may include certain communications from Dialcom, such as service announcements, administrative messages and the Dialcom Newsletter, and that these communications are considered part of Dialcom membership."
      Sounds like agreeing to adware & spam to me.
    • See my post below. What's Yahoo! got to do with it?
  • Can anyone please post a mirror for the download? or seed a torrent? please?
  • I've been waiting for an inexpensive way to allow non-tech types at the office talk to other non-techies with video for a while. Any way to be able to do this easily through NATs is a boon, even if it's not standards based. Bring it on!
  • Modifications to service Dialcom Networks reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Service (or any part thereof) with or without notice. You agree that Yahoo! shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Service.

    emphasis mine. Got that from the eula on http://217.15.33.218/index.php?id=81 [217.15.33.218]
  • Skype sucks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Skype:

    1.) proprietory
    2.) sucks

    Thanks, but i use gnomemeeting for my video chat needs. It has much better voice quality anyways.
    • Very insightful.

      Consider using GnomeMeeting behind a firewall, to another machine behind a different firewall.

      In this environment, Skype works, and GnomeMeeting doesn't... at least, not without some fancy firewall/NAT work, which is over the head of too many people. Skype simply 'works'.

      It also works much better cross-platform. I've tried to get GM to work with NetMeeting and get very inconsistant results (no firewall) to no results (firewall).

      The challenge is to get Skype to open up their protocol.
    • Yeah gnomemeeting is all good providing you want to talk to the 27 geeks and overweight starwars nuts that use it.
  • 2 bad points (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chatterton ( 228704 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @02:24PM (#12686062) Homepage
    I have just tried it... And uninstalled it...

    1) Doesn't work if you have any TV card installed
    2) Why does he need an ActiveX component to download it ?
  • by Tomfrh ( 719891 )
    This is good

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