Video conferencing with 20 people for 2 hours at no cost

  • #1
harborsparrow
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TL;DR Summary
Looking for a best vid program that will let us have a group video call for more than an hour at no cost; expected max participation would be around 20
Looking for a best vid program that will let us have a group video call for more than an hour at no cost; expected max participation would be around 20. The ones I know about, off the top of my head, are Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts. We are not a school or non-profit, just a bunch of friends.

Looking for things like, does group vid call need a paying account? (i.e., Zoom requires that to go more than 40 minutes). Can the recipient use a browser without needing to make a logon account for the provider company, or install anything on a desktop? Does the phone/tablet app behave well, or ask you sign away your life rights to your own soul? Is advance permission required from all participants to let a call be initiated (I think Skype does this)?

What experiences have people had? What do you like, dislike about each program? Thanks much in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #4
harborsparrow
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Thanks for the links. I was also hoping for some personal experiences with the various programs.
 
  • #5
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Nothing personal, when my company did teleconferencing they did mostly audio-only as video was way too expensive at the time maybe 10 years ago. Now I imagine the price has dropped since you can do face-to-face on phones.

You just need to watch for videobombing or in the case of Zoom zoombombing where someone co-opts your feed usually for the lesser good.
 
  • #7
Kranzu
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You can use video conferencing solutions like Zoom, R-HUB HD video conferencing servers, Webex, Gomeetnow, Gotomeeting etc. They all will allow you to conduct video conferencing with 20 people at no cost.
 
  • #8
harborsparrow
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Unless you pay them, Zoom will limit you to 40 minutes. I haven't tried the others. Google Duo or Google Meet is looking possible. But right now, Google Duo requires phone number; I've read that's going to change to email only.
 
  • #9
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The ones I know about, off the top of my head, are Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts. We are not a school or non-profit, just a bunch of friends.
I'm getting familiar with Zoom and I have used MSFT Lync in the past, when I worked at MSFT.
I'm teaching a class in computer architecture at a nearby two-year school, that feeds a software engineering program at state university. With schools being shut down in my state, the class I'm teaching has been done exclusively through Zoom. My school has a site license, so I'm able to use Zoom for my 2hr 40min classes.

Unless you pay them, Zoom will limit you to 40 minutes. I haven't tried the others. Google Duo or Google Meet is looking possible. But right now, Google Duo requires phone number; I've read that's going to change to email only.
For the free Zoom accounts, they say that they will limit a session to 40 minutes, but it doesn't seem that they actually enforce it. I was in a Zoom meeting with family members this weekend, that was hosted by my niece with a free Zoom account. We thought the session would end after 40 minutes, but it didn't. Possibly with so many new Zoom users, they're not as organized as they would otherwise be, so they aren't able to keep track of session length for free accounts.
If it turns out that Zoom does get a handle on the session length, an option is for the session host to send out two invites that overlap, getting you around the 40 min. hurdle.
 
  • #10
phinds
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I used GoToMeeting a about 10 years ago. It was good then, presumably better now. I don't think we ever had more than about 12 people on but that wasn't because of any app limitation.
 

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