Posts categorized "Video"

Skype's HD Video Quality IS Amazing!

As much as I may criticize Skype at times, I continue to be impressed by the technology they create and the powerful ways in which Skype enables us to communicate. Yesterday Jim Courtney called me to test out the "upgraded" Internet connection at his home in Toronto and he used the Logitech C920 webcam he recently reviewed while I used my MacBook Pro laptop.

I swear I could probably count every hair in Jim's mustache!

Skype Video

The video quality was truly amazing (and if you click on the image above, you'll get a slightly bigger version - I was not viewing it in full-screen when I made the capture). Looking at the technical specs for the call, Jim was sending 1280x720 using the H264 codec. I was apparently also sending that level of quality over to Jim (although using the VP80 codec).

The audio quality was also excellent and we had a great call. Obviously, Jim's upgraded Internet connection worked perfectly fine! ;-)

Kudos to Skype for making this amazing quality of video calling available - for free - to all of us!

For those curious, here is the detailed technical info for our call:


P.S. If you weren't aware that you can get this kind of info, you need to first enable it on the Advanced panel of the Skype for Mac Preferences. Then you can choose "Technical Call Info" from the Window menu (or just press Cmd+5).

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Google+ Turns Hangouts Into a Free Conference Calling Service With Free Voice Calls in US and Canada

Fascinating move by Google today... Google+ now allows you to add voice-only phone calls into a "Hangout", allowing you to create conference calls of both video and voice participants. Announced by Googler Jarkko Oikarinen, it is available inside of "Hangout with extras" and allows voice calls out to US and Canadian numbers for free.

When I launched a Hangout (with extras) and then chose the link to invite others, I was presented with an extremely simple screen to add a voice call:


Once the participant had joined, they showed up in the hangout screen above the video participants (only me in this trial case):

Google Plus Hangout With Voice

No word that I've seen yet on a maximum number of people that can be conferenced into a Google+ Hangout, but I'm sure someone will try that out shortly and we'll have an answer.

UPDATE: Jarkko Oikarinen has clarified in a comment to his post that "each hangout participant can have at most two simultaneous PSTN calls ongoing." From that wording I'm guessing that I could call out to 2 people on the PSTN, and another participant could call out to two more, and so on...

Calls are limited to the US and Canada, although TechCrunch is reporting that Google recommends Google Voice for low rates on international calls.

Now, mixing voice and video calls together is not something dramatically new. Skype has done this for quite some time now within their Group Video Calling service. Still, it's a cool step forward for Google+ and may provide an way to get more people using the Hangouts service.

At the very least, it may provide a way for some of the folks using Hangouts as a way of hosting regular video podcasts to include guests or callers who are not able to establish a video connection or use Hangouts directly. I'm thinking particularly of people who may be mobile or in places with low bandwidth. Or just simply a guest who doesn't want to use video or isn't a user of Google+.

Free conference calls?

I suspect some folks may certainly use this as a way to create free conference calls. As I proved in my own testing, only the originator of the Hangout needs to use the Hangouts feature of Google+. He or she can then simply call everyone else and bring them into the conference call.

However, given that

  1. you can't yet choose from a list of contacts and have to instead enter each phone number individually; and

  2. people can't call in to the hangout; and

  3. per the update above, each participant can only conference in 2 PSTN callers.

I don't expect people to instantly stop using the zillion conference calling services out there. However, it certainly shows a sign of Google's direction and given the rate of change within Google+ I wouldn't be surprised to see enhancements to, for instance, at least store phone numbers coming at some point soon.

It would be very cool if there was a way to start a Hangout with a Circle... and have Google+ automagically connect out everyone in the circle via either video or phone... but who knows, that may come, too!

P.S. And if you are on Google+, why not add me to a circle if you haven't already done so?

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Video: Voxeo's New 60,000 Sq. Ft. Co-Working Office Space Featured in Fox News Interview

Want to see what Voxeo's cool new office space looks like? The 60,000 square feet that also includes "co-working" space for startups?

Kudos to my former colleagues at Voxeo and to CEO Jonathan Taylor in particular for this great video interview on Orlando's Fox 35... check it out:

It's both a very cool space for Voxeons and also a great idea to create a startup incubator right there in the heart of downtown Orlando.

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Video: My Talk on "How IPv6 Will Kill Telecom" from eComm2011

At eComm 2011 this year, I spoke on "How IPv6 Will Kill Telecom - And What We Need To Do About It". I enjoyed giving the talk and have received great feedback about the session (including being asked to give a similar session at other conferences). Organizer Lee Dryburgh has now posted the video:

If you are interested in learning more about IPv6, I put together an IPv6 Resource Page over on Voxeo's Speaking of Standards blog. Enjoy!

P.S. And yes, those of you who have seen previous videos of my presentations will note that my running has paid off... :-)

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Video: Why is Sam Censored?

In the run-up to our presence at the SpeechTEK conference in New York starting on August 8th, some Voxeo marketing colleagues of mine put together this fun video:

And of course, if you want to find out WHY Sam is censored... well... you'll just have to wait until SpeechTEK! ;-)

P.S. There's also an outtake video :-)

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Video: Walking the EnterpriseConnect show flow in March 2011

Last month down at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Florida, I wanted to experiment a bit with using the iPhone 4 with Qik for recording videos. As you can see below, I shot a quick video (using Qik :-) ) of about a minute-and-a-half of me walking through the trade show flow. It was purely a test of using Qik on the iPhone... and ironically I actually forgot about creating the video for a bit.

Anyway, here it is... it's certainly not the best produced video I've ever done... in fact that was zero post-production. I just pointed the camera and started shooting (and undoubtedly look a bit silly walking through a trade show floor holding my iPhone in front of me!).

If you've never been on the exhibit hall floor of one of the various industry trade shows and conferences, this is the type of thing you will see...

Next event, I'll try to do a few more of these... perhaps if I can find one with good WiFi I'll even try some live streaming... :-)

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VoiceOnTheWeb Reviews Skype's Qik Video Connect

Want the scoop on Qik Video Connect for the iPhone and iPad? Shortly after it was released last week Jim Courtney (of VoiceOnTheWeb) and I made our usual calls to each other to try out new apps. Unfortunately, I was slammed with a brutal cold/flu sickness last week and haven't had the cycles to write up my own thoughts on the new app... nor do I see myself doing so anytime soon. Sooo... let me point you over to Jim's views on the subject:
Qik Video Connect: New Video Directions from Skype

I'll add to Jim's commentary that I did also use the free Qik Video Connect app on my iPad2. The app is not designed for the iPad - it's just the iPhone app running on the iPad2 - but it did work perfectly fine to make and receive video calls. In the multiple calls to Jim I spoke with him from both my iPhone and iPad2.

I did not test out the live streaming due to the fact that I was quite sick and did not honestly want people to see me on video! :-) I'm looking forward to trying live streaming, though, at the next event I attend.

At some point I will write up some more of my thoughts, but for now, head on over and read Jim's...

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Video: Skype's Own Professionally-Created Interview About Skype And Citrix

At EnterpriseConnect last week in Orlando, I was walking down one of the hallways and encountered a rather elaborate setup for shooting video:


Turns out that Skype was shooting their own video interview about the Skype / Citrix partnership which they have now posted on YouTube:

Obviously no comparison in quality to my own video interview which was shot with a handheld video camera :-) Nicely done, Skype...

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Video: The Skype / Citrix Partnership - Interview with Skype's Andrew Sinclair

What is the new partnership between Skype and Citrix all about? How secure will it be? What new capabilities will it offer? How much will it cost? Will it work on a Mac? Those are all questions I asked of Skype's Andrew Sinclair last week and made available as part of my Emerging Tech Talk video blog on Voxeo's site:

I'll have more to say on this partnership in another post, but for now enjoy the video.

P.S. And if you hang in to the very end, I added a little extra treat to the end of this video... :-)

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Want to understand where Voxeo is going? Watch this video...

Would you like to understand what Voxeo, my employer, is all about and where the company is going? Want to know about all the cool tools and services we make available for free for developers?

If so, just watch this video interview that I recorded at ITEXPO with TMC:

I spoke with TMC's Pat Barnard about the panels we were on at ITEXPO, as well as, Phono and the other services and products we offer for free to developers.

The amusing part was that this interview was not scheduled in advance but was rather a result of walking by their video area and being asked "How about recording an interview right now?" It was fun to do.... I actually love doing things like this, even just on-the-fly like this. Only one mistake I noticed... the "Facebook Telephone" app is at, not the URL I gave in the video.

I also noticed that I talk fast! And as far as I can recall, this was BEFORE any kind of caffeine. :-)

Anyway, if you'd like an understanding of where Voxeo is going and all the cool things we are doing, this video should help in that...

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