As it turns out, OEMs and carriers have taken matters into their own hands for video chatting. Some carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and others have video calling built into every phone sold by the carrier. You can quickly and easily video chat with anyone else on the service. Thus, someone with a Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile and someone with an LG V20 on T-Mobile can video call each other directly from the dialer app like you were making a phone call. They're a bit restrictive, but they tend to work pretty well when you can actually use them. We hope these options are expanded over time.
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of t... See Full Bio
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One caveat to all this is for business users, and that's because working with any video streaming service can be tricky over a corporate network. While basic setup is enough to get one session running, be sure to work with your IT staffers to test what happens when multiple streams are open. You're looking for artifacts or excessive buffering that disrupts the stream which can happen if the video stresses the bandwidth limits of your network or your Internet connection. Also, if you have remote users that connect to the Internet using a virtual private network (VPN), be aware that these services often also cause bandwidth problems that can affect video streaming performance.
Other features I look at include the number of participants allowed on a call and the number of video feeds allowed simultaneously. The most generous is Adobe Connect, which is unlimited, but some offer as few as four participants at a time. Consider how important this is to your company. Most services let you record meetings, and a few let you edit the recording right within the software. These recorded meetings can then be used for your records or as webinars for anyone who missed the meeting or for new employees.
Nothing makes an impression like moving pictures with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—phones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever-more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with newer formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and 360-degree VR video, and it has to be able to handle 4K and higher resolution.
Several of the products here (Adobe Premiere Elements is a notable exception) still support 3D video editing if that's your thing, though the this has been replaced by 360-degree VR footage like that shot by the Samsung Gear 360 as the current home-theater fad. As is often the case, our Editors' Choice, CyberLink PowerDirector was the first product in this group to offer support for this new kind of video media.
Viber began life as a voice calling app. You used to be able to call people on the service along with regular phone calls. It has since evolved into a full-fledged messaging service. You can still make phone calls like you could before (for a fee). You can also text chat, video call, and more. It also features encryption on voice, text, and video calls between Viber users. There are a few extra fun features like hidden chats as well. It's a little bit heavier, similar to Facebook Messenger. However, it's otherwise not bad. The app isn't overly popular in the United States, but it's quite big Internationally. The in-app purchases are for things like stickers and other personalization items.