Today Dell Computer announced it will be bundling Dell Video Chat (a custom-designed, re-branded version of SightSpeed, officially dubbed ‘Dell Video Chat powered by SightSpeed’) with its slick, new, consumer-focused Studio line of laptops, confirming our impression that video over IP has rapidly been moving toward mainstream status.
|Dell Video Chat interface
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The application encompasses audio/video conference or ‘chat’ sessions—with or without instant text messaging—among as many as four participants. Use of the service in these modes is free, worldwide.
Users can record video messages of up to three minutes in length and send them as video e-mails to fellow SightSpeed/Video Chat users, and the application provides a Message Center for all voice and video mail.
The SightSpeed/Video Chat software also connects with the PSTN (public switched telephone network), in a mode that’s by now familiar to anyone who’s experimented with other free Internet telephony applications, such as Skype: You can call regular phones anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for about 2 cents per minute—and overseas at proportionately low rates.
You can also buy DIDs (‘direct inward dialing’ phone numbers) local to pretty much whatever city or area you want, so people with regular phones can dial your computer as a local call.
Use of Dell Video Chat is not limited to purchasers of Dell PCs. The software is freely available for download in both Windows and Mac versions at a Dell-branded website.