Just because you may not be able to be in the same room as your dad this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t connect with him. With all of the great video conferencing options out there, you can see and talk to Dad like he’s right there with you on his special day. Let’s take a look at some of the top video chatting options and the pros and cons of each.
Skype has been on the scene since 2003 and is ad free, which is refreshing. With the ability to call anywhere in the world and a large amount of free offerings, Skype has positioned itself as an industry leader. Skype can connect several people in the same chat, if you’re willing to pay for it. You can also call landlines and cell phones. Whether you and your dad are 30 miles or 3,000 miles apart, Skype will get you connected. However, there are some drawbacks. You can only call someone who also has a Skype account. If your dad isn’t very tech savvy, or doesn’t want to create an account for something he may never use again, this may not be a good option. Also, Skype’s video and sound quality is good, but it’s not the best, since it relies on users’ computers to drive calls.
Pros: Lots of free features, no bothersome ads, can connect anywhere in the world, can call landlines and cell phones
Cons: Can only call someone who has a Skype account, better video and sound quality is available, need the paid version to video chat with more than one person
Even though ooVoo is relatively new, it has managed to make a splash in the world of video chatting. ooVoo has been able to differentiate itself through higher quality video and sound by channeling calls through its own servers. Another large advantage is that you can chat online with someone who doesn’t have an ooVoo account – they can chat by going to a link through their existing browser. This way, as long as you have an account, your dad doesn’t have to sign up for anything. You can connect up to twelve people in one chat for free, so you can include siblings when video chatting with Dad. If you’d like to have more than twelve, however, you’ll have to go with the paid version. They offer many of the same capabilities as Skype, but calling is only available to 70 countries. If you or your dad is not in an available country, then ooVoo is not the one for you. Also, unless you get the paid version, you are going to have to put up with ads.
Pros: Better video and sound quality, can call people without an account, can connect with up to twelve people at a time for free
Cons: Can’t call all countries, free version has ads
Airtime is extremely new – it debuted only a little more than a week ago. But since there are high-profile names behind it, Airtime is already getting a lot of attention. The founders are Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, the same people who created Napster. Sean Parker was also the founding president of Facebook, and you may recognize his name from Justin Timberlake’s portrayal of him in The Social Network. Airtime is completely free. You must log on to Airtime with a Facebook login, which can be a pro or a con, depending on whether your dad has a Facebook account or not. If he does, then he doesn’t have to worry about creating a new account, and connecting to Airtime will be easy. If he doesn’t have Facebook, it’s unlikely he’s going to want to create an account just to log into Airtime. Airtime allows you to chat directly with friends imported from your Facebook account, or chat with someone you don’t know based on shared interests that are also imported from your Facebook profile. So if you do plan to connect with your dad this way, make sure to select the option that allows you to chat directly with friends. If your dad has a Facebook account, but you’ve somehow managed to avoid being friends with him and you’d like to keep it that way, then Airtime is not going to be your best option.
Pros: Log in with Facebook, relatively simple interface, has an element of newness, free
Cons: Log in with Facebook, not the best option if out of the country