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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > General iSight Experience

General iSight Experience
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Nov 17, 2003, 12:40 PM
I am buying my parents a 1 GHz eMac for Christmas with an iSight. I have a 12" PB rev A with an external monitor and an iSight. We both have cable for Internet access. Both machines will be running 10.3 with 640 RAM.

I am curious as to the experiences others are having with a similar setup.

How does the video work? What resolutions do you get? Audio quality?

Cable is notorious for capping upload speeds, and I am wondering if anyone has noticed that their cable company's cap influences how iSight and iChatAV work.

12" PB G4 867 MHz - 640 MB RAM - 40 GB HD - SD
15" PB G4 1.5 GHz - 2 GB RAM - 80 GB 5400 RPM HD - SD
20 GB 4G iPod
4 GB iPod mini
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Nov 17, 2003, 09:44 PM
I use the iSight/iChat combo to talk to a few people around the world and it works great for me. The setup as is follows. I'm currently in the UK with a 17"Albook/1 Gig and a 512/256 ADSL line. My other half is in Seattle with a Tibook 667/768 and a 2Mb/512 cable line. My parents are in Malaysia with a G4 iMac 700/640 and a 384/128 ADSL line. I speak to both parties on almost a daily basis.

The video works amazingly. As you've probably read before, the iSight camera does require a lot of light. It doesn't look that great in a dimly lit room. The image looks very washed out and grainy. Once there is an abundance of light, the image quality improves significantly. According to the Apple website, the native resolution is 176x144 on anything slower than a dual processor G4. The frame rate can be 15/30 fps depending again on the processor. The video is very smooth and the audio is always in sync with the video.

I usually run the conference in full screen mode. The image is a little more blue having been expanded to such a large size from the native resolution but it still looks great. The frame rate is sustained and the audio is always in sync. There will be a fair bit of pixelation when there is very fast motion but only in the area where the motion occurs. The audio quality is excellent depending on the source and the speakers which are used to playback the sound.

The inbuilt mic on the powerbook do not work well as they don't cancel out noise like the iSight one does. There is a lot of feedback. The inbuilt mic on the iMac works a lot better since it's placed a lot further from the speaker. The iSight speaker works great but I can't help but wonder how much better a headset would sound.

The inbuilt speaker of the 17" PB sounds terrific. I can hear the other party very loud and clear even at half volume. The TiBook speaker is very soft and is pretty useless without a pair of headphones or external speakers. The inbuilt iMac speakers are acceptable, somewhere between the PBs.

Despite the fact that we've all got different broadband connections ranging from very high speed to relatively low, video conferencing on iChat is terrific and the quality is sustained throughout the conversation. It's a far cry from the days of CUSeeMe and even with its more modern counterparts like iVisit and Yahoo Messenger. Quality is of course mostly dependent on who's doing the observing. I find the iSight/iChat combo amazing and I wonder how I've ever lived without it but YMMV.
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Nov 17, 2003, 10:45 PM
Works just great. I bought one for myself and for my parents who live out of town, so the kids can see the grandparents. I'm using a G5 and they're using an 800MHz 17" iMac. We both have fairly generic cable modem service, and it works just fine.
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Nov 17, 2003, 11:04 PM
I was playing around with iChat AV over a reasonably fast DSL connection (me) and a buddy on cable (Hawaii) and found that quality improved if you do put a cap on the bandwidth within iChat preferences.

Video quality on my buddy's side of the world went from downright shoddy (major pixelization, etc) to reasonably viewable once it was set to a max. of 200kbps instead of maximum.


Originally posted by pdsphil:
Cable is notorious for capping upload speeds, and I am wondering if anyone has noticed that their cable company's cap influences how iSight and iChatAV work.

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Nov 18, 2003, 02:59 AM
Maybe try and do a search on this. You should find a lot of the answers you're looking for

Personally I love the iSight. It is worth it for the excellent microphone alone which is just brilliant. I tend to route the sound from my 12"PB to the stereo and it is like the person is in the room with you. It really is amazing. We use iChat to talk to our developers and it has cut down our international telephone costs to almost nothing.
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