Internet Phone Service

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Videoconferencing with grandparents

March 2007

We're in the very early stages of thinking about getting a videophone setup (or whatever it's called when you attach a camera to your computer), and I'd be curious to know if anyone has experience with this. It's basically for grandparents (no surprise!) and perhaps other relatives, and we might try combining it with Skype or some similar web-based phone system. Any thoughts/recommendations out there? trying to keep the generations connected

We use Skype all the time to call Europe for FREE. You can call anywhere for FREE; both parties just need to have a speaker and microphone hooked up to their computer. We use a cheap headset w/ microphone that we got at Office Depot. We also have a webcam set up to the computer and it's really easy to use. My friend's 70 year old mother uses Skpe. Skype makes its money through an upgraded service they offer, but the basic calling computer to computer is free and the quality when calling overseas is far superior than a regular telephone and w/out that annoying delay. I don't understand Americans' hesitation in using Skype, the rest of the world has been using it for years. anon

How do you like Skype?

Jan 2007

We are considering downloading Skype (internet calling) in an effort to reduce our international telephone bill. Does anyone have experience using this? Is it easy? Are there downsides? Is anyone using it for national/local calls? I am interested in any and all experiences with this. Thanks! JOJ

Skype has been great for us. We use it to mainly talk to family in Asia who have computers and have downloaded skype too. Every once in a while we have some lag time but not much. We do family conferences on it too. I've found that it's not that reliable when using it for computer to land lines or cell phones. Especially if the quality of the line of the person you're calling is kind of crappy. We've found that when we call our friend in India, there is lots of lag time and sometimes the voice sounds muffled. So computer to computer calls are terrific, computer to land/cell lines are ok to bad.
Since it's free, it should be a no brainer on whether or not to download Skype. It's super easy and idiot proof to use. Did I mention it's free? Just do it and you'll see how easy it is to use. The only thing is other person you're calling has to have it too. My friend's 70 year old mother in Spain even uses it. For the life of me I can't figure out why Americans haven't gotten into the groove of using Skype; Europeans can be so much more ahead of us on some technology. Everyone in Europe uses it, even businesses. It's so easy to send files while you're chatting, and you can set up a webcam too to see each other while talking. The line quality is far superior than a regular telephone, and you don't have the annoying delay you sometimes get on the phone. Skype sounds too good to be true, but they actually make their money on an expanded service plan that costs $ each month. In the meantime enjoy FREE phone service! anon

Have you used Skype?

Aug 2005

Has anyone used ''SKYPE'' ? Skype is a little program for making free calls over the internet, either free or at a very low rate. Seems ideal to reduce cost of my very lenghly overseas calls.... also seem to good to be true. Anyone uses it? any catches? things to be wary of? Thank you

We used Skype while my husband was on an extended European trip. We downloaded it for free, and there was no charge for our computer-to-computer calls. It worked fine. We just had to buy a headset for his laptop, since we already had a cheap microphone and speakers at home. The free version only works if both parties are at the computer, I believe. They also have a version that calls a telephone directly, but I think they charge for that (don't know how much). We did have to schedule calls ahead of time (by e-mail), since our computers aren't on all the time. R.K.
I haven't used SKYPE but I just want to put in a good word for It's a regular phone card-type service that you sign up for on the internet. The long distance rate to anywhere in the 48 states is 2.5 cents. And many international calls are even lower!!! 2.2 cents per minute to England! 3 cents a minute to Germany, 3.5 cents a minute to Israel. No extra connection charges, no other fees unless you are using a payphone. I have heard that SKYPE requires both people to have the service; onesuite is usable anytime, to anywhere. Ann
We use Skype. My husband uses it all the time to talk with colleagues in Europe. It's great because it's free and if you want to, you can list whether you're available or not, so people know whether or not to call you. The sound quality sometimes isn't perfect, but other than that, we haven't had problems with it. Give it a try and see if you like it! Karen
I work with a guy who lives in Oregon, and we sometimes use Skype to talk, especially if we need to include a third person in the conversation. The main reason we use Skype is because it's free. I find it more awkward than a phone conversation - you're not sure whose turn it is to talk, so there are pauses as you wait to see if the other person has finished talking. Also there can be sound glitches - one time I was talking to him and everytime someone opened the door into his office there would be an unpleasant buzzing on the line. But hey, it's free. I needed to get a microphone for my PC to use Skype, but my laptop has one built in so it was easy to set up Skype on that. The other thing is that Skype wants to run in the background all the time in case someone tries to call you, and it uses a lot of CPU, at least on my PC, at times slowing everything down to a crawl. Since I don't use Skype that often, and we usually arrange calls ahead of time by email, I found it irritating to be exiting out of it all the time to keep it from taking over all the cycles on my machine. (I'm sure there's a way to fix that - too lazy to look for it.) Ginger
My husband uses SKYPE pretty frequently and I've heard him rave about it a number of times. He calls the UK and a coworker calls China w/no problems. According to him, ''the clarity rocks''. He suggests getting a headset, but says his laptop microphone and speaker work pretty well too. Computer to computer calls are free. Computer to mobile/landline (skype- out) costs money and mobile/landline to computer (skype-in) costs money too annie