AT&T Video Share review: AT&T Video Share

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good AT&T Video Share is a video-calling service that lets you stream live video to your friends. With 3G, performance was quite good, with barely a second of delay in video transmission. You can adjust the brightness, mute the sound, turn the speakerphone on or off, and record the video for safekeeping. You can also start and end the video during a call without interrupting it.

The Bad AT&T Video Share only supports one-way video streaming at the moment, and the video quality is limited to the capabilities of your phone. It only works with certain 3G phones, and will only work when both phones are connected to a 3G network. Both phones will also need to be signed up to the Video Share service.

The Bottom Line While we love the idea of video calling, the limitations of AT&T's Video Share prevent us from calling it a must-have service. That said, it has plenty of potential.

Visit the carrier's Web site for more information about this product.

6.7 Overall

The future of video phone calls has arrived, or so AT&T would have you believe. Even though the idea of video phones has been around for awhile, it hasn't quite caught on with the general public. AT&T aims to change that with its new mobile video-calling service called AT&T Video Share. As the name suggests, the service lets you "share" live video with your friends with your cell phone. The service only supports one-way video calling for now, and it will only work when both of the phones are connected to a 3G network. Both phones also need to be signed up to the Video Share service.

Despite these problems, however, we think the potential for video calls is huge--imagine sharing video with your friends and family across the country no matter where you are, using live video to comparison shop, or real estate agents giving you a tour of a house without you having to be there. When 3G networks become more commonplace, and when AT&T removes some of the limitations of Video Share, we can see this becoming a very useful feature.

Currently, Video Share is only available on selected phone models: the LG CU500V, the Samsung Sync, the Samsung A717, and the Samsung A727. The Video Share service will cost you as well; it's $4.99 per month for 25 minutes of usage, or $9.99 per month for 60 minutes of usage. If you opt out of the subscription, it's 35 cents a minute. Only the sender will be charged.

We tested the service using two Samsung A727s in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Starting up Video Share couldn't be simpler. We made a call from one phone to the other, and once connected, a "Video Share" option pops up on the lower-right corner. Another way to start up Video Share is by going through your camcorder options, selecting the Video Share application, which then prompts you to call someone on your contacts list. When the Video Share option is selected, the recipient is prompted with a dialog box requesting for permission to accept the video. Once accepted, the video starts streaming immediately, absolutely live. You can change the video to full-screen or landscape mode if you wish, plus you can adjust the brightness, mute the sound, or turn the speakers off.

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