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Video:How to Use Skype

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Use Skype to connect with loved ones who live in distant places. See these easy instructions on how to use Skype to keep in touch with family and friends.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use Skype

Keeping in touch is easier than ever these days, even if you don't consider yourself to be all that computer-savvy. With some simple hardware and just a little patience, you can talk to and see loved ones just about anywhere in the world.

Reasons to Use Skype

Skype is a popular and easy-to-use internet platform that allows people with a computer and a web camera to communicate with another computer and webcam, all with just a few clicks of a mouse.

The best part is that from computer to computer, Skype is free to use on an unlimited basis. Most new computers these days come with webcams built in, but even if you have an older machine, buying a new camera is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up.

Buying a Computer to Use Skype

When buying a webcam for your computer, look for three main things: 1) make sure the camera's resolution is at least 640x480 (the higher the numbers the better), 2) be sure your frame rate is at least 15 frames per second (the higher the better here, too) and 3) make sure your camera has a built-in microphone, which is increasingly standard.

If your camera connects via USB or firewire, it's usually not much harder to install than popping in the install disc that comes with it, or simply just plugging it in if you have a mac (hint hint).

Connection to Use Skype

Next be sure you have a solid hi-speed connection to the internet, and go to skype.com to set up an account. Fill out your name and email address, choose a profile name and password that's uniquely you, and be sure to write these in a place where you won't forget them. Download and install the Skype software and you're now ready to make your very first call.

If you run into any trouble getting set up, don't be afraid to ask for help. Relatives, neighbors, and even tech support folks where you buy your computer or webcam can be life-savers when it comes to getting you off the ground.

Starting to Use Skype

Finally, start up your skype software, login with the information you used when signing up, and enter the user name of the person you're trying to contact in the search bar. Once you've connected, you can easily include them on your list of contacts. Next, click the video call button, wait for the other person to answer, and you're good to go.

It's a good idea to set up a time beforehand when you'll both be online, and remember that just like anything, once you give it a try, it only gets easier and easier as you go.

I'm Jonathon Stewart with About.com.
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