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I need a simple online solution to see my great-grandchild in real time?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 19, 2013 8:41 AM PDT
Question:

I need a simple online solution to see my great-grandchild in real time?


We just became a great-grandparents, but the baby is up north and we're in the south. We would like to see the baby in real time. I use a desktop computer running Windows Vista and I want to know what device to buy and which software or even paid or non-paid service to make this all happen. I'm not a computer whiz, so it has to be a simple solution -- and I repeat, a very simple solution. Thanks for all the help.

--Submitted by Ev M.
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I need a simple online solution to see my great-grandchild i

How about Facebook and Facebook video chat - no cost for them. I'm sure others will have other recommendations too.

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Skype

If you have a computer running Windows Vista, then your computer is likely new enough to have a camera built into the screen. If your computer does not have a built-in webcam, then you can purchase a webcam. Most computers, built after 2005, have webcams built-in. If your computer does not have a webcam, then I suggest either a Logitech or Microsoft brand camera. You can purchase them from most stores that sell electronic or from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=webcam) and they should cost under $50.

Then, you'll want to go to http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-windows/downloading/ to download a software program called Skype. Skype may come pre-installed on your computer or may be included with your webcam, but it is easy to download and Skype is completely free.

There is, also, a pay version of Skype, if you want to do video calls with more than one person, but in your case, you want to see your great-grandchild, and that service is completely free of charge. They, also, make Skype cameras that will attach to your Television set, if you wish to have an even larger screen to see your new grandchild. These cameras do cost more, but the advantage is, you don't need a separate computer, and the image is a lot larger, because it appears on your television screen.

Skype is a very simple and easy to use computer program. All you need to set it up is an e-mail address. Most cameras, even if they're external, are very simple to install. If you're prefer, you can even get someone, like BestBuy's Geek Squad to set it up for you, but you should be able to do it yourself, with very little effort. Your grandchild will need Skype, as well.

The alternative to Skype, would be a Apple FaceTime. Apple FaceTime will not run on Windows Vista, but it does run on an iPhone, an iPad, an iPod Touch and an Apple Mac. If your grandchildren have Apple products, this may be their preferred way to video chat. Apple FaceTime is free, with these devices (except for the Mac, where its very affordable). The iPod Touch ($200-$300), would be the least expensive Apple device, that runs FaceTime, followed by the iPad Mini ($330). Both of these devices are incredibly easy to use. Apple products, can also run Skype, and all of these devices, include a camera. Skype is free on these devices.

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Video chat

Hi Ev M,

For video chats, you need a a web cam with an integrated microphone on BOTH computers.

Then both of you need to use the same software to enable the the video chat between yourselves.

Google has very good software and is free to use when you both have a G-mail account (also free).

A Microsoft mail account (Hotmail, Msn or Outlook)) will also work, but you both have to add Skype to your PCs.

If you both have Facebook accounts, that will work too.

I have all three accounts, but for video calls, I prefer Google over the other choices. But remember, you both have to have an account with the same provider (i.e. both on Facebook, both on Google or both on Microsoft).

Good luck.

Paul S.

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seeing my great grandchild
by msfig / July 26, 2013 4:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Video chat

thanks for your input..I have downloaded skype and now I will get a webcam..the problem is that I use a desk top and the monitor doesnt have a camera in it..

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No problem with webcam atop the monitor.
by ia3d / July 26, 2013 11:03 PM PDT

No problem. My HP webcam sits right on top of my monitor and is ready to go when I turn on the computer.

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Download latest firmware
by ia3d / July 26, 2013 11:25 PM PDT

You may have to download the latest updates for the webcam, but I doubt it as you are running Vista.

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RE: WEBCAM PROBLEM NOT BUILT IN?
by aloneinelcajon / July 27, 2013 9:00 AM PDT
No problem! I upgraded my Logitech Pro 900 cam to Logitch HD C920 cam I got BRAND NEW on Ebay for $40, sure was 1/2 the price of the 1st one!
Just download the software to operate it on the website? PIECE OF CAKE!
Plus, I have D-TV/PC/Monitor combo now, WOW, what a difference!
~Ms. Pat B.
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Skype \ webcam

I would use Skype and a simple web cam.
Skype is the software that will enable you to make the contact. It is free and you can download it from http://www.skype.com/
create an account and you are on.

The webcam is very cheap, most of them now are plug and play so only need to connect them to the computer, skype will recognize it and you will be able to see the baby.

The other side should have the same setup of course.

Congratulations for the great grandchild :o)

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Online solution to see my great-grandchild in real time
by saddlewood / July 27, 2013 2:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Skype \ webcam

Besides Skype, Yahoo Messenger would allow you to do the same thing. Just create an account with Yahoo Messenger and you need a $5-7 plug and play videocam bought on e-Bay website. The videocam is sold on e-Bay auction when you type in your browser the phrase "videocam".

When ready and connected, not only can you view your great-grandchild but you can talk to the baby or listen to his loving laughter and his dad and mom's as well.

It is easy and simple like that.
Thank you and congratulations on your family happiness.

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Free Long-Distance Video & Chat

It's one word... 'Skype'

End

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Seeing great-grandchild in real time

I am a great grandparent raising our great grandson and, use Windows Vista on my PC. I solved this issue by purchasing the least expensive web cam I could find [mine was about $20, but if you use Ebay or Craig's List or a similar program, you might find one for less]. After installing the web cam which is practically "plug & play," sign up for a free Skype account. The web cam & Skype together will allow you to see your great grandbaby. The instructions for web cam setup & Skype are fairly simple, but on-line assistance is just a phone call away. Welcome to great-grandparenthood!!

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One-Word Answer

Skype

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on-line solution for live viewing.

This probably not be the ideal answer for you but here ges. I also became a great great grandparent recently and I need to sse how my GGchild is growing. My daughter and granddaughter (mother) have Blackberry Playbook's. So I have obtained one also. They call me (with playbook) and If I'm at home I answer and then I see my GGGson whatever he is doing. Yesterday I spend around 15 minutes playing with him and I got some respone, it was great. There is no cost to this on-line setup except the use of my wi-fi. 'll be in Europe later this year and I will take my playbook with me. I'm not saying you have to purchase a Blackberry Playbook, I'm sure other pads will do the same thing using Skype. First of all contact the parents and see if they have anything. Good luck. Ron

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seeing my great grandchild.
by msfig / July 26, 2013 4:02 PM PDT

thanks rongeee..this seems like a simple solution..and congrats to you too..

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see ur great-grandchild in real time

download skype, it's free!

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realtime

obvious choice is Skype, but the simplest is to buy an iOS devices for yourself and your great-grandchild's parents. iPads are the best choices and the cheapest way is to use iPod Touches. Using Facetime is the best way to do realtime video communication among consumers who aren't computer savvy. iPad/iPhone are the easiest to learn for older folks. Plus the video is in HD.

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Video chat in real time

I use Face Time and it works very well.

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Apple user?

If you use any of the many Apple products you can use Face Time!

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If you don't mind spending some $...
http://www.belkin.com/us/p/F7D7602

We have two of these and will probably get more soon. They're easy to setup, the image is very clear, and we can view them from any device that has internet access.
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Advice for ultimate viewing your grandchildren

I have a fiance in Saudi Arabia we talk every night. Ive tried many sites SKYPE ETC ETC and webcams. This is my best advice, as mentioned a good Broadband connection but ..having a good connection with a fair camera and an ok server like SKYPE..will give you a just ok live experiance..im 54 a Professional Photographer and use Car Zeiss lenses Logitech makes a c920camera with Carl Zeiss optics..check ebay or amazon for best pricing..secondlyy I think Skype. Is junk when compared to google video chat..go to google.com..download google chrome abd look for video chat..it will promt you to install plug in..do so..combination of broadband..logitech with carl zeiss and google videeo chat..will bring your grandkids to life like they were in front of you..they need to install google chrome as well..but trust me optics is crucial to a splendid experiance.im speaking from both everyday experiance talking to KSA plus being a Carl Zeiss lens user for 30 years..anything I can help you more with please email shaun at. Irishties@yahoo.com..best of luck.. Shaun

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RE: Logitech HD C920 Webcam
by aloneinelcajon / July 27, 2013 9:04 AM PDT
YES! I got the Logitech HD C920 2wks. ago for
$40 on Ebay, BRAND NEW in a bidding war...LOVE IT!
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My parents love us having an IP cam set up

Using an IP camera takes a little more expertise to set up on your grandkids side, but once it is set up on their end all you have to do is type in a web address and there will be a live view. This is the setup I went with so my parents can pull up and view their grandaughter anytime we are in the family room. If your grandkids are not too technically inclined then purchasing directly from a company like Foscam will allow the setup to be performed for tphem. My parents have smartphones and an iPad, which I went ahead and installed an app on so all they have to do is touch an icon and up pops a live feed of video and audio of my daughter playing or watching TV. They love it and say it really helps having their daily fix of seeing her despite being far away. I enjoy it myself when missing her while away at work.

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IP cam

Using an IP camera takes a little more expertise to set up on your grandkids side, but once it is set up on their end all you have to do is type in a web address and there will be a live view. This is the setup I went with so my parents can pull up and view their grandaughter anytime we are in the family room. If your grandkids are not too technically inclined then purchasing directly from a company like Foscam will allow the setup to be performed for tphem. My parents have smartphones and an iPad, which I went ahead and installed an app on so all they have to do is touch an icon and up pops a live feed of video and audio of my daughter playing or watching TV. They love it and say it really helps having their daily fix of seeing her despite being far away. I enjoy it myself when missing her while away at work.

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Just Use Your Browser with Google Plus

Somewhat baffled that the all-around best solution in my opinion only has a halfhearted mention thus far.

"Google Plus Hangouts" allow up to 10 people to talk at once, with nothing to install -- maybe a browser plug-in, but that's 30 seconds.

If you have GMail, you're in. If you don't, it takes about 2 minutes to register.

It's been available for more than 2 years and all the bugs are worked out. It automatically adapts to all ranges of bandwidth and processor speed -- I use Firefox on a 2007 Mac and a terrible DSL connection. It's just as free as any other Google service.

Once you're on it, you'll start to notice an assortment of built-in tools that make "hanging out" even more fun, including the ability to save all your videos directly to YouTube.

Google Plus Hangouts wins against ALL OTHER OPTIONS.

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simple and mobile

do you have a smartphone or tablet? if yes, that would be the simplest. and its mobile so neither party will be tied down to the pc's location.

if its an Android phone, you can use Hangouts, Vonage, Skype and many more free apps. I dont know about iphones, but I'm sure it has similar ones.

on wifi networks, these calls will be free. phone data plans would further extend your range to the 3g network.

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Use Google Hangouts

I have twin grandsons across the country and we have tried various methods for real time viewing. Skype works but it stalls out a lot and often is a very fuzzy picture. We have had better luck with Google's Hangouts. Everyone at each end needs to have a google account. Very easy and free. Go to Google.com and sign-up. You have to have
a camera equipped computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone at each end as well. I find it easiest to use a laptop for screen size and portability. Then do a Google search for how to use Hangouts and you are good to go.

It is easy to use, voice and video picture are clearest with fewer pauses and stutters. My son's family uses their
Apple laptops and/or ipads while my husband and I use our Windows laptops and one of them uses Vista.

Enjoy those babies!

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Have you considered ...."BISCOTTI" ???

Visit www.biscotti.com and see if this video chat system is one youd like to consider?

You didn't mention finances, and many of the suggestions Ive seen so far, try to keep the cost low or at least refer to being "user friendly" from a grandparents perspective.

Being a grandfather myself, I heartily endorse the Biscotti video chat system for the following reasons:
(a) It has a setup wizard, which is helpful in guiding you to attach it to your tv set.
(b) Its camera is shaped like a biscotti bisquit (ya know, the one we use for dipping into coffee? hence the name
(c) Its got videoconferencing capability should you want to talk to more than one family online simultaneously.
(d) Its got video recording capability to let you know someone phoned while you were away from home.
(e) The cost is about $149 for a biscotti model and $199 for a biscottiXS model.
(f) The built in microphones are functional and clear for the whole family to understand
(e) Theres no charge for using biscotti on a per minute basis since it connects to the internet via WIFI.

Finally, ... instead of sitting at the computer room tinkering with a videocamera, why not relax in the living room and let Biscotti bring your a fresh perspective: It leaves you feeling like your grandchild is sitting in front of you, not more than 5 feet away, big as life.

As with all "communications driven " systems, I cant stress the issue of compatibility enough and that both end users are encouraged to have the same "device" at both ends (in this case, for convenience's sake, I'd encourage a "Biscotti" established at your home -and- at your grandson's home)

But the video chat experience on biscotti is what makes this system worth using over Skype and Google oriented video delivery systems because of Biscotti's (a)consistency, (b)ease-of-use redundancy (c) video-quality and (d) responsive customer service, for us senior citizens!. The biscotti customer service folks are knowledgable should you have troubleshooting questions.

If you should desire to invest into a Biscotti videochat system, I recommend purchasing the XS model because it comes with a wireless keyboard, guaranteed to reduce your hassles from using a remote that youd have to employ, one letter at a time... seriously... who wants to input their wireless keycode one letter at a time?

again, look it up at www.biscotti.com

my three (grown) children truly enjoy the opportunity to use this often, as all three of my "kids" live in a different state.... one has to go where the jobs are being offered you know? .... and Biscotti keeps them "close" especially over the holidays and unwrapping presents in their (and mine) living rooms.... What fun!

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iPAD or iPHONE...as simple as answering the phone

We are new grandparents also, and our grand baby is half-way across the United States. We use an iPad and our kids use ipads and or iPhones to FaceTime (video and audio in real time.) It is great, as we can interact with our grand baby frequently. I think this is the best solution for the grandparents who were described as "not too tech savvy" because it is truly as simple as answering the phone. When the kids want to face time us, the press the FaceTime button on their phone or ipad....we hear our ipad "ring" and know that they are wanting to Facetime with us. It is just that easy going the other direction...We have one button to press on our ipad, and if they are home, they can just "answer." Then our grand baby's face pops right up on the ipad. It is amazing! Another benefit to having it on the ipad instead of a computer is that you can have it anywhere in the house with you (not tied to a computer, desk and chair.) It can't get any easier than this!

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Skype and FaceTime with iPhones

Skype is probably the best and easiest video call program, and it's free, for computer to computer video communication. However, if both sides have iPhones, a fantastic alternative is FaceTime.

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