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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution Apps
Recently I purchased a Powermac G5, and was shocked and disappointed at how much trouble I had trying to talk on a webcam to PC users. I searched and scoured the net trying to find a solution but came up empty handed at every turn.

I have a fairly unique situation. My girlfriend is deaf and I am not. We have been dating a while, but I am still learning sign language. She wanted to work on teaching me sign language at night with a webcam. We currently live in different states and have different computers. I have a G5 and she has a Sony running Windows XP Pro.

Since iChat was what shipped with the Mac, I assumed I would just be using that. Well, it turns out that unless you use an iSight or other FireWire camera, you won't be doing any video conferencing. I did find a site that sold a patch for iChat allowing USB webcam support, but for a fee. I tried loading the demo of that program to see if it would work. It did bring up video from my webcam with a big "DEMO" label in the video window, but I could not connect to the PC version of AIM with it. Hmph!

Next my girlfriend suggested I try using MSN Messenger. Yes, there is a free download version of MSN messenger for Mac, but it does not have webcam support. This also goes for the AOL Instant Messenger version you can download for Mac.

I have a lot of old Windows programs from my past, and purchased Virtual PC for Mac when I bought the G5. So I decided I would just download the Windows version of MSN Messenger in the virtual copy of Windows XP I have on my Mac. Then I could run the webcam through the virtual copy of Windows. Well, this also failed. I have read that this does work. However, it seems that Virtual PC does not support USB 2.0 devices? It's either that, or there was some system conflict over which operating system had control over my webcam. Foiled again! ARGH!

Finally, we settled on using Yahoo Messenger, which does have USB webcam support for Mac. Sadly, though, at only one frame per second. Try as I might, I could not improve the speed of the video in Yahoo. And let me tell you, if you have ever tried to do sign language at one frame per second, it just plain sucks! Makes you feel like you are living in slow motion after about three hours of that.

I was on the verge of giving up when I noticed a nifty piece of software. It's called Mercury Messenger. Mercury is a Java-based MSN and Jabber client. And it has USB webcam support for the Mac!

I loaded this program up, made a free MSN messenger account, and was almost in tears when I saw the video quality of the webcam connection. I could actually see webcam video that was running at around six frames per second. So finally, after weeks of struggling with this, it seems that this little application has solved my problem. No more agonizing slow motion sign language for me and my girlfriend.

So if anyone else is fighting with Mac to PC USB webcam support, and you don't want to pay extra for it, give this program a chance.
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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: mchangun on Jul 13, '05 11:04:32AM

Is your girlfriend using the Windows version of Mercury or is she using MS's MSN Messenger?



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: oliverchaddock on Jul 13, '05 01:01:07PM

Yes i'd like to know this too!

I've been video chatting with my gf (who lives on the other side of the world) using Yahoo. We never got more than 1 frame per second, but at least we could see each other. I always figured my G3 iMac was just too slow.

So I'll give mercury a go sometime, but i'd like to know if she needs to install it too (or will regular msn do?).



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: jedik on Jul 14, '05 12:26:32AM

It should work with either MSN or Mercury in the other side (PC). PC users (W*ndows ou L*nux) must instal JMF, also needed for Mac OS X in some cases. More info:

http://www.mercury.to/index.php?sub=Mac
http://www.mercury.to/index.php?sub=FAQ
http://www.mercury.to/index.php?page=Wiki&wikipage=FeatureStatus

Cheers

---
:: Jedi Knight ::
-- Mac Rules! --



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: dbs on Jul 13, '05 11:11:19AM

I'm happy to pay $25 for a real working solution. There's a great one out there for windows: Trillian Pro (http://www.trillian.cc/). It works quite well with iChat in video conferencing. We have found that we need to initiate the chat from iChat, but once we do that it just works. The client also supports MSN/AOL/Yahoo/ICQ on windows so you don't need any other IM applications installed.

If the time it takes you to try and figure out how to get a free program working is worth more than $25 I'd highly suggest just buying this program and installing it on the windows machine.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: kevbert on Jul 13, '05 11:13:55AM

I haven't tried under Tiger, but back in early Panther days I was able to do video chat using Mac iChat (with USBWebCam) and PC AIM (the truth!). I was chatting between CO and OR and as I recall the video was just fine. If you don't mind running in classic mode, years ago I used Videolink Pro to chat from Japan to a PC in Arizona.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: pediddle on Jul 13, '05 01:38:26PM
I am also still able to video chat between iChat AV and PC AIM (with an iSight). Maybe my girlfriend has an older version of AIM?

I've also had success between Gnome Xmeeting (http://xmeeting.sourceforge.net/) on OS-X and Microsoft Netmeeting on Windows, although I had to play around with various codecs to get audio to work.

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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: ChrisAllison on Jul 13, '05 01:57:41PM

I believe that the original poster said he couldn't use iChat because it does not (natively) support USB cameras, and he either didn't have or didn't want to spring for (same thing, really) a firewire camera like the iSight.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: Ubaduba on Jul 13, '05 11:15:01AM

Sounds like you paid a high price for this solution. Wouldn't buying the 150 dollar iSight camera have been much less expensive than the many hours of time you spent working on finding this solution? You would also get 30 frames a second instead of a lathargic 6 frames a second. I video chat with a PC friend 5000 miles away. His video to me is fairly crappy because he is using a USB 1 camera (better than 6 frames a second though) but my video to him is excellent. He uses AIM's AV software and I use iChat. Sometimes it is cheaper to pay in cash rather than blood, sweat and tears.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: axello on Jul 14, '05 01:09:27PM

ANY Firewire webcam works out-of-the-box with iChat, IMHO. I have an ADS Pyro 1394 webcam which works fine. Also the Micro iBot works.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: chris_on_hints on Jul 16, '05 05:37:56AM

And you can use any camcorder with a firewire link ("iLink")...



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: zpjet on Oct 19, '05 06:35:42AM

yes any firewire cam, but only with g4 and higher processor:

iChat AV: Does not recognize DV camera on computers with PowerPC G3



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: emarmite on Jul 13, '05 11:55:09AM

We routinely use Macs with iSight and iChat talking to PCs with USB2 Cameras and Windows AIM client. It Just Works. Sure, that particular client sucks but the video is just great. We couldn't get Trillian to connect reliably to iChat with Video (other people seem to make it work but we couldn't to the degree we wanted).



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: Fabsmartins on Jul 13, '05 12:55:50PM

A much better solution i found was ivisit... you should give it a go: www.iviist.com

much better quality than MSN



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: johnga1t on Jul 13, '05 01:39:21PM

has anyone succesfully video chatted w/ ichat (3.0.1) + isight on tiger (10.4.2) to someone using windows xp + AIM client (5.9)?

if so, i'd be interested to know how ... i've been unsuccessful in doing so. (hope i'm not doing something stupid.)

thanks.



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Not me, but I've tried, too
Authored by: PopMcGee on Jul 13, '05 06:34:44PM

I spent about a week trying to get any cross platform video chat to work without success - well if you count the 1 fps stuff out. This truly sucks. I think the "works also with Windows" feature in iChat is the most blatant Apple lie I've ever seen :-(



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: jedik on Jul 14, '05 12:06:07AM

Be sure to use the latest AIM client for PC, and *both* must have video cam's that work with their clients (for iChat in the Mac side *and* for AIM in the PC).

Other than that, you may have some problem with firewall and ports. You can find some help on this somewhere else. Try the tutorial linked in this hint.

Cheers

---
:: Jedi Knight ::
-- Mac Rules! --



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: xhide on Oct 27, '05 10:17:41AM

Video chat on iChat+iSight on tiger ibook g4 to WindowXP SP2+AIM without any problems but can't get Trillian to work with iChat. I want to use trillian instead of AIM because i heard that trillian can maximise the video size, anyone can help?



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: sam_head on Jul 13, '05 06:22:20PM
AIM 5.9 to iChat works well for video conferencing. I have video conferenced using iChat with dozens PC users from around the world who use AIM. It works well enough, though not nearly as good as iChat to iChat. But it is free and so is the screen name.

You do need Windows XP and it has to be set up properly. The New York Times suggests reading the iChat-to-AIM video conference tutorial I wrote at:
http://www.MVLDesign.com/video_conference_tutorial.html

It has a complete set up guide, troubleshooting tips, firewall port settings and more. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly for opening firewall ports that SP2 closes if you want to get AIM to work with video.

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bad URL?
Authored by: baronworm on Jul 14, '05 11:09:49AM

the URL you posted is bad. Did you mean to say...

http://www.mvldesign.com/video_conference_tutorial.html?__

Odd as the URL looks with it's ending characters, that's what it takes for me to get to that tutorial of yours.

thanks!



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: sam_head on Jul 13, '05 07:09:33PM

Oh... and one other thing.

Expect frame rates of around 10 to 15 frames per second at around 100 to 150 kpbs. Video from the PC USB Web cam will never match the quality of iSight to iSight but it is often very usable. The best quality using AIM is as good as the worse with iChat.

Very rarely do I come across someone who just can't go Mac to AIM. It happens from time to time. These instances of extreme weirdness... I can talk to a PC person from my Mac but another Mac users cannot, though they can video conf with me and other PC users... are not the norm.

If the PC is delivering 1 fps then install the Live Video patch. (See the tutorial for a link) If you are delivering 1 fps see the tutorial for help.

AIM 5.9 to iChat does work with video conferencing. I swear. :-)



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: alfredol on Jul 14, '05 12:36:32AM
Ineen (www.ineen.com) provides video conferencing for free and it works on Macs as well as PC's.

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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: jedik on Jul 14, '05 12:41:46AM

iVisit is another option. The only problem is that the free version (free registration required) only allows small size video (160x120), and video is active only for a fixed time (60min as far as I can remember) if both people have the Lite (free) version. Then you must disconnect for about 30min to have video again with that same person. I always got higher frame hates (but smaller size) than when I used Yahoo Messenger with the same setup.

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/10647

Cheers

---
:: Jedi Knight ::
-- Mac Rules! --



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: Yogz on Jul 15, '05 04:52:01AM

iSpQ is a great app, it's work under macosx and windows.
Video a big and fast.
I use it with a deaf friend, it work really well
http://www.ispq.com/



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: peterrosen on Jul 15, '05 04:39:11PM

You can use the cross platform iVisit.com software. Its free, offers audio, text and video recording and interaction. It was derived from CU-SeeMe.

You can use it privately in one on one communications, or in a CHAT ROOM where others with web cams can mingle and meet.

I hope that helps!

Peter



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: Githon on Jul 16, '05 04:52:47AM

Just wondering, did I accidentally log into LiveJournal today instead of Mac OS X Hints?



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: Voxel on Jul 19, '05 06:54:38PM

Yet another suggestion, the free ohphoneX which works with USB webcams, uses H323 and can connect to NetMeeting on the PC. It's free, simple and it works (for me at least).

WinXP includes NetMeeting by default, just go in the start menu, choose "Run..." and type "conf" and enter. Now I appologise for this XP hint :)



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SightSpeed
Authored by: atverd on Oct 18, '05 10:38:52AM

Try SightSpeed also. It's windows/mac compatible and works nice for me.



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A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: sugarplum on Sep 18, '08 05:08:23AM

MERCURY MESSENGER WORKS WITH WEBCAM FOR MSN ON MAC.. IM USING IT NOW !!!



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BEEN THERE!!! Here's what you need to do....A Mac to PC USB webcam video chat solution
Authored by: lyrical.remedy on Jan 19, '09 04:19:01PM
Hi! I had the same problem with my boyfriend, he has a mac and I have a pc, he downloaded the aMSN program and we're now able to video chat no problem. I listed the website where you can download the program just below. I hope this helps, that is if you haven't already figured it out!

http://cmq.qc.ca/4w/amsn/

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...or Skype for Mac to PC video?
Authored by: palahala on Jan 19, '09 05:55:22PM
Wow, is the last version of that aMSN program really over 3 years old? And does it still work with the latest Microsoft Live Messenger?

For what it's worth: Skype also supports video from Mac to PC to Linux -- and surely Skype is still in development. For example: the upcoming 2.8 version is said to support screen sharing (which has nothing to do with the webcam chats from the original hint) from Mac to PC as well, in fact using that very same video stream:

http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2009/01/skype-28-beta-for-mac-os-x-provides-screen-sharing-wifi-access-chat-features-and-twitter-like-mood-messages.html

Though I guess this long URL says it all, here's a snippet from that article:

SCREEN SHARING

The coolest feature of the 2.8 beta is a "screensharing" feature where you can share either your entire screen or just a portion of your screen with the Skype user on the other end. Now, this works with all other versions of Skype because it replaces your video stream with the screen sharing. So a Mac Skype user can share their screen with Windows and Linux users.... which is pretty cool.

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...or Skype for Mac to PC video?
Authored by: jrobert on Jan 20, '09 01:45:56PM

Seconding Skype!

And for the first question - USB Camera - check out Maccam (free):
webcam-osx.sourceforge.net/

Doesn't support all cameras but it supports a lot of them. If yours is in the list, try it. It works with my old Logitech webcam.



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...or Skype for Mac to PC video?
Authored by: eolair on Mar 29, '09 02:18:57AM
The regular download version of macam doesn't include support for some cameras. However, the latest beta version does - you can get it here sourceforge - click on the cvs-build download. This made my so-called windows only Logitech E2500 web cam work just fine. Happy Days.

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...or Skype for Mac to PC video?
Authored by: eolair on Mar 29, '09 02:20:49AM
argh the link doesn't seem to work as embedded - use
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=44375


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