As a user of live video online communication for over 10 years I think I'm a good candidate to provide an unbiased review of a new easy to use site that provides such services: TokBox.
The first service I ever used to talk to my parents and in-laws in Brazil was Eyeball chat and it was pretty good, except that it was not very easy to install. Then we moved on to Skype, which we still use. Both of these programs require that you download them to your computer and we've encountered problems in the past depending on our relatives' internet connection in Brazil and even ours. Sometimes their computer would not show our image and vice versa, and sometimes the sound was of poor condition. So I was curious to find out whether TokBox would outperform its competitors.
Last week, when I learned that I would be participating on the blog tour I emailed my mom and told her to registr in the TokBox site so we could talk the next day and test it. That she was able to get registered and that we quickly got in touch with each other as soon as we were both connected to the site is a definite advantage of ToxBox over the other services. It is quite easy to use, even by people who are not as experienced internet users like my mother. In the past she sometimes needed help to download and install the other programs.
Although TokBox is very convenient to use and calling a friend is straightforward, we did encounter some problems in the several times that we video-chatted in the past week. My mom's image would freeze after some minutes, and so did ours. And the sound quality was pretty poor -- not very clear, a bit fuzzy and not loud enough. The sound in Skype (which we used on the first day, right after we tried it) is clearly better. Oh, and just so you know, my mom has a high speed (DSL) connection there, so the problem is not with her internet connection.
TokBox has some other clear advantages, namely, the fact that it can be embeded in facebook, MySpace and other sites so you can have video chats with your contacts there without asking them to add you as contacts in other programs such as skype. You can also create public video posts. All in all, I would recommend the site for the ease of use and convenience and I hope that its sound and video capability can improve with time. If that happens, I will probably be using it again since we rely quite a bit on online video communications so the grandparents and aunts and uncles far away can see the boys.
Note: I will receive an Amazon gift certificate for writing this review.