Free video chat for broadband users as SightSpeed opens up shop

A competitor to Skype in the free video calling market has arrived in Australia

A new Internet application launched Tuesday allows Australian broadband users to video chat with one another for free.

The app, called SightSpeed, is a cross platform video and voice calling service that competes with products such as Skype Video. It offers video chat at 30 frames per second, with no delays whatsoever, the company claims.

To chat, customers need a broadband connection of 128Kbps and above, a 1Ghz processor or faster, 256MB of RAM and Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Macintosh OS X 10.3.9 or higher.

SightSpeed is available in two versions. It has a plan for Personal or Home Users which is a free service; and a service for Business Users which attracts a monthly fee of $7.95. Business users get multiparty video calls and priority tech support. Both versions require a Webcam and devices for audio input (microphone) and output (speakers or a headset).

The latest version of the product, SightSpeed 6.0, also lets users record brief video clips that they can send as messages or embed in blogs or other Web pages. The free version allows users to make clips of up to 30 seconds in length, while the Pro version permits 180-second videos. The Pro software lets users record live calls for later reference.

To help set up its operations in Australia, SightSpeed partnered with niche Queensland-based distributor NetOpt. Under the terms of the deal, NetOpt will be the public face of the company and will operate as SightSpeed Australia.

This will ensure the high quality of the product is maintained, said Rick Nand, manager of SightSpeed Australia.

"We have deployed servers in Australia to serve local customers. This ensures that we are not reliant on USA based servers or International trunks," he said.

In addition, SightSpeed Australia will be providing full local technical support. It will also provide input into current and future product developments, especially to incorporate any local requirements, he said.

Nand said SightSpeed has won numerous awards for its quality and its ability to adjust to line or speed conditions.

"We have tested the service on 64Kbps [connection] but we recommend 128Kbps. We also support High Definition video conferencing for user's who have 1.5 Mbps connections," he said.

(Additional reporting by Liane Cassavoy)

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