Video Quality: Optimizing your video experience Bandwidth
While you probably already know that you need a broadband connection to use ooVoo,
did you know that not all broadband is created equal? Even on the same connection,
your bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of
time) may vary based on factors such as the amount of traffic on the network, the
number of people using your Internet connection, and whether you are downloading
or streaming something else. Below are three measurements of your connection speed
that will influence your video quality.
To test your bandwidth, you can visit one of the sites below:
- Downstream - This is the amount of bandwidth you have coming to
your computer from the Internet. Think of this as how wide the road is coming to
your house. The more downstream bandwidth you have, the wider the road and the more
traffic that you can accept. You should have a minimum of 180kbps downstream bandwidth
for the a one-on-one video call. For each additional call participant you need an
additional 130Kbs (i.e. for a 6 way call you need 700Kbs). For viewing High Resolution
video that you need a minimum of 310 Kbps download speed and to view HD video, you
need a minimum of 435Kbs. If you have more available bandwidth, ooVoo will automatically
use additional bandwidth up to a certain amount to increase the video quality for
the best possible user experience.
- Upstream - This is the amount of bandwidth you have going from
your computer to the Internet. Think of this as how wide the road is going from
your house. The more upstream bandwidth you have, the wider the road and the more
traffic that you can send. You should have a minimum of 180kbps upstream bandwidth.
In order to send your video in High Resolution
you need a 310 Kbps upload speed and to send HD video, you need 435Kbs.
The upstream requirements remain the same regardless of the amount of call participants.
If you have more available bandwidth, ooVoo will automatically use additional bandwidth
up to a certain amount to increase the video quality for the best possible user
- Latency (delay) - This is the amount of time it takes for the traffic
you send to reach its destination. To use the previous analogy, even if you have
a wide road going to and from your house, if your car is moving slowly on the road,
it will take a lot longer to get where you are going. If you notice it is taking
a long time for your friend to respond, or that you are talking over each other,
this is probably being caused by high latency. Your latency should be below 250ms.
Latency problems are often caused by network congestion, if you experience problems,
try ending the video conversation and starting it again.
- DSL Reports
- Speakeasy - Speed Test
- Webcam - While a webcam is not necessary to run ooVoo, your friends
will not be able to see you during your conversation if you don't have a webcam.
If you want to send high resolution video, you need a webcam which supports 640x480
resolution and if you want to send in HD, you need an HD webcam. Click here to view
webcams which are available in the ooVoo store.
- Headset - Although ooVoo uses echo cancellation software to improve
the sound quality of your conversation, the built-in speakers and microphone on
your computer may still cause some echo. We therefore recommend using a headset
(headphones with a microphone) for the best audio quality. Tip: If you
have a microphone built into your computer or laptop, just plug in a set of regular
headphones to get rid of any echo.
- Computer - Even if your computer meets the system
requirements for using ooVoo, you may notice problems with the video if
you are on an older computer, or have a lot of programs running at one time. Tip:
Close all unnecessary applications you may be running and if you are using a laptop,
make sure it is plugged into a power outlet.
A computer with a dual core processor is required to send high resolution and HD video.
Because cameras are less sensitive to light than the human eye, it is important
to have good lighting when you are using ooVoo. If your video looks dim, grainy
or washed out, try adjusting the location and brightness of your lighting. Below
are some common problems caused by lighting and some suggestions to fix them:
Dim video - There isn't enough light in your room. Try turning
on more lights, or move to an area where there is more light.
The room is bright but your image is dim - This could be caused
by having a bright light source behind you. The camera adjusts it's sensitivity
to the background instead of you. Try positioning yourself so the light source is
in front of you.
Grainy video - While this could be caused by a low quality camera,
it can also be caused (or made worse) by not having enough light. To compensate
for the lack of light, camera's often adjust their sensitivity which creates more
grain or "noise" in the image. Try turning another light on, or sitting closer to
and facing the light source.
Video looks choppy - This can be caused by not having enough light
in your room, but can also be caused by not having enough bandwidth. Try turning
on more lights and if you still have the problem, read the section above called
Your image looks washed out - This is usually caused by a light
that is too intense (example: having a light shine directly at your face). Try dimming
the light, or reflecting the light off a light colored surface, like a white piece
of paper on your desk.