Free Video/Audio Software

Video Chat
We will be incorporating web page embedded video chat sometime this spring, but until then, with the right hardware and software you can do audio and video chat with others anywhere on the globe, free. Basically all you need is a microphone and/or web cam and the free software downloads listed on this page. The best quality requires newer operating systems, faster computers and broadband Internet connections, but even older systems and dial up connections can sometimes squeeze out a few video frames.

If you have a newer computer, web camera and a broadband connection (cable, DSL, etc.) our recommendation for video chat is AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) for both Mac and Windows. Once you have installed the required software you can exchange AIM user names with other members and initiate audio or video chats. Audio only software is described near the bottom of this page.

AIM -- AOL Instant Messenger 5.5

(PC or Mac)

You don't have to be an AOL subscriber to use AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). If Windows users want to video chat (including sound) with Mac users, this software is essential. (The Mac version is 4.7.) AIM provides lots of cute extras like games and animated smiley faces in addition to text, audio and video chat. Video frame rates will depend on your connection speed.

Mac users will actually chat through iChat AV while connecting using their AIM user name.

System Requirements


For Video
Windows XP
64 MB RAM or more
233 MHz or faster processor
Any web camera
Internet connection


Mac OSX v10.3 (panther) and iChat AV 2.1
G5, G4, or 600 MHz G3 or higher
Built-in USB
FireWire based camera
Broadband connection (cable, DSL, 100 Kbps min.)
(If you have OS X v10.3 iChat AV 2.1 is free. If you are using OS X 10.2 you can purchase iChat AV 2.0 from Apple for $29.95.)

iChat AV


On a fast new Mac, iChat AV provides full screen, full motion video and decent audio over a broadband connection. Now featuring support for Windows via AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 (AIM), it is finally possible for Mac users to video chat with PC users. Mac users can use iChat software while connecting through their free AIM account (see above).

System Requirements


For Audio:
OSX v10.2 (jaguar)
Any G3 or higher processor
Built-in USB
56K modem connection
AOL Instant Messenger (free) or .mac account

For Video:
OSX v10.3 (panther)
G5, G4, or 600 Mhz G3 or higher
Built-in USB
FireWire based camera
Broadband connection (cable, DSL, 100 Kbps min.)
AOL Instant Messenger (free) or .mac account

Yahoo Messenger

(PC, Mac, Unix)

Yahoo Messenger allows you to send text messages, send files and do both video and audio chat. Windows users with broadband connections will experience reasonably good audio and video while chatting with other Windows users, but there is no audio when using this software on a Mac. This is an option for users of older Mac operating systems, who will be able to type text messages while sending and receiving small video images at low frame rates.

System Requirements


Minimum Requirements
Windows 98/2000/Me/XP
Microsoft Internet Explorer - 5.5 or higher
Macromedia Flash Player - 6.0 or higher

Additional feature requirements:

Windows Media Player - 7 or higher
Webcam - Messenger compatible
DSP Group TrueSpeechTM audio compression (CODEC)
56k or broadband Internet connection (LAUNCHcast)
A microphone, sound card, and speakers


A connection to the Internet
Mac OS 8.6 or newer
CarbonLib 1.5 installed (if running Mac OS 9 or older)

Audio Chat

(PC, Mac OSX, Linux, Pocket PC)

Skype is a free audio chat service which also lets you do text messaging and large file transfers. Audio quality is excellent. For a small fee they will also let you call from your computer to real telephones anywhere in the world. (Calls to telephones in North America, Western Europe and Australia cost roughly 2 cents (USD) per minute.) Calls between computers (audio chat) are free. The high quality audio, full encryption, conference calls and support for various platforms makes Skype our first choice for audio only chatting.

System Requirements


Windows 2000 or XP
400 Mhz processor
128 MB RAM
10 MB free hard drive space
Sound Card, speakers and microphone
Internet connection (either dial-up: minimum 33.6 modem or any broadband: cable, DSL, etc.


G3, G4 or G5 processor
Mac OS X v10.3 (panther) or newer
128 MB RAM
20 MB free disk space on your hard drive
Microphone and speakers, or headset
Internet connection (either dial-up: minimum 33.6 Kbps, or any broadband: cable, DSL, etc.)


400 MHz processor
128 MB RAM
10 MB free disk space on your hard drive
Sound card, speakers and microphone
Internet connection (either dial-up: minimum 33.6 Kbps modem, or any broadband: cable, DSL, etc.)

Pocket PC

Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC
400 MHz XScale processor