Cheap Video Conferencing Solutions

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: July 05, 2011

As businesses look to trim costs but be more efficient in the way they do business, one area of interest is video conferencing. Being able to do a video conference with a fellow employee or a prospective customer who is on the other side of the country is much less expensive than buying plane tickets and sending a contingent of one or more to do a face-to-face meeting. Video conferencing, though, can tend to be pricey depending on the services that you want to have. Full-fledged installations can cost in the thousands of dollars. What’s a small company or a cost conscious CFO to do? Thankfully, there are cheap solutions available that will get the job done.

Options available

Here are some of the cheap video conferencing options available. They’ll be discussed in depth a little later on.

  • Skype and Skype Premium
  • iChat
  • Sightspeed
  • Yugma–Free, P Series, A Series

Skype and Skype Premium

If you’re looking to do a 1-on-1 video call, Skype can do it and do it for free. The software needs to be downloaded from the company’s web site, and you’re ready to go once it’s installed. If you need to do a conference that involves more than one person, then Skype Premium is available for a very low monthly rate or for the cost of a daily pass. Besides offering support for three or more people, Skype Premium also offers help in the form of live chat support. Skype isn’t the prettiest solution out there, but it will get the job done without costing much money.


iChat is Apple’s chat client that comes available on the Macintosh. It works with AIM, Jabber, and Google Talk so you can collaborate with PC users as well. Apple has been working to beef up the features of the client. It can handle text chat, Internet calls, video calls, screen sharing, and document sharing. For video conferencing, this client is perfect for multiple users who all run on Mac OS X. If Apple were to add a whiteboarding function to iChat, it would be considered a basic competitor to Webex, one of the best video conferencing solutions out there.


Sightspeed is a great alternative to Skype. You can collaborate with up to 9 locations at one time. In-Call File Sharing is offered. There are administrative tools that can be used to customize the Sightspeed experience as well as offer reports for how the software is being utilized. Sightspeed’s technology offers high-quality, full-motion 30 frames per second video with clear audio and no delay. The company offers a free 30 day trial for anyone looking to check out their solution.

Yugma–Free, P Series, A Series

Yugma is a direct competitor with Webex. It’s free version allows you to collaborate with up to 2 attendees with 15 minute meeting limitations. If you move to the P Series, you can collaborate with up to 500 people. The A Series offering allows collaboration with only 30 users, but it also offers VoIP Audio Conferencing. There is also Yugma SE (Skype Edition) that adds instant desktop sharing and collaboration functionality to what Skype already has. Up to 2o users can conference in.

In Conclusion

The solutions listed here are not meant to be a definitive list of the cheap video conferencing options that exist. Many other products are out there, and a savvy business manager can spend some time researching to find the product that will work just right for them. This list is meant to offer a flavor of what is out there, and set you on your way to low cost video conferencing. Take the time to check out the solutions highlighted. Some might work just fine for you, others might not be what you need. The bottom line, though, is that you don’t have to spend big bucks to be able to collaborate with others via video.

Featured Research
  • Why Q4 is the Perfect Time to Invest in Video Conferencing

    If you’re currently relying on an outdated video conferencing solution - or if you don’t have one at all - you’re in luck. While any time is a good time to invest in video conferencing, Q4 may be the best. One big reason is that Q4 is when you can get the best deals, but there are also other important factors like increased access to seasonal employees. more

  • Video Conferencing Showdown

    If you feel overwhelmed by the video conferencing options available for your business, you aren’t alone. There are dozens and dozens of different solutions, ranging from no-cost options to software that will cost thousands. The question is which one is right for your business and how can you get the most value. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • 9 Ways Video Conferencing Supports Business Growth

    90% of information is transmitted in the human brain is visual, and people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Video and video conferencing is fastly becoming the new must-have business tool for generating profits and successfully growing your business. In fact, over the past four years, the percentage of companies utilizing video conferencing has jumped from 41% to 58%. more

  • 9 Tips for a Compelling Video Presentation

    Face-to-face communication is the most effective way to collaborate and bring ideas to life in your business. Because of this, many businesses invest heavily in travel budgets so they can meet in person to create and nurture business opportunities. However, video technology has become more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly over the years. In fact, the enterprise video business market will reach $36.5 billion by 2018. more