A typical low-cost webcam (a Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000) for use with many popular video-telecommunication programs (2009)
A typical low-cost webcam (a Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000) for use with many popular video-telecommunication programs (2009)

This list of video telecommunication services and product brands is for groupings of notable video telecommunication services, brands of videophones, webcams and video conferencing hardware and systems, all related to videotelephony for two-way communications with live video and audio.

The products below are listed by their normal and intended purpose, even though their names or descriptions may differ from the categories shown here (refer to terminology within general article pages).

Hardware, software and related product brands

Videophone hardware brands for person-to-person (point-to-point) use

Stand-alone videophones are point-to-point units not employing Multipoint Control Units (centralized distribution and call management systems). Earlier models make video calls utilizing older analogue POTS telephone lines, while later models use newer, higher quality, ADSL, ISDN or cable broadband technologies. Some videophones also employ Internet calling (IP) capabilities which can dispense with the need for telephone service.

Videoconferencing and telepresence hardware systems meant for multiple participants

A high resolution telepresence system and a developer in Colorado, U.S. using telepresence to coach a teacher in Utah during research for Project thereNow.

Video conferencing systems allow multiple participants by use of a Multipoint Control Unit (a centralized distribution and call management system) or via a similar non-centralized multipoint capability technology embedded in each unit. Some multiple party systems utilize Web-based bridging service providers, which can incur slight time delays.

Some cameras have a 360-degree video image, so that all participants on one location can be recorded with one camera.[1][2]

Videoconferencing hardware systems meant for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, telemedical and other institutional services

Videoconference bridging service providers

Webcam hardware brands for use on personal computers

A pre-2006 Apple iSight webcam, with software drivers written specifically for Apple's operating systems and a 2009 LifeCam Cinema USB video device for use with standard drivers.

Software clients

With video and VoIP

With video, VoIP and instant messaging

Browser based – does not require software downloads

Software clients for deaf and hard-of-hearing VRS/VRI facilities

Server software

Video telecommunication services

Video telecommunication services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

See also: Video Relay Service § VRS deployment worldwide

Medical organizations employing video telecommunications

Public videoconferencing facilities

Defunct brands and services

Brands, manufacturers and other services listed here are no longer in production or no longer exist, and are listed for historical or research purposes.

Defunct videophone hardware brands

Defunct videoconferencing system hardware brands

Defunct software brands

Videotelephony descriptive names and terminology

The name [videophone]is not as standardized as its earlier counterpart, the telephone, resulting in a variety of names and terms being used worldwide, and even within the same region or country. Videophones are also known as videotelephones (or video telephones) and often by an early trademarked name "Picturephone", which was the world's first commercial videophone produced in volume. The compound name "videophone" slowly entered into general use after 1950,[5] although "video telephone" likely entered the lexicon earlier after "video" was coined in 1935.[6]

Videophone calls (also: videocalls and video chat),[7] differ from videoconferencing in that they expect to serve individuals, not groups.[8] However that distinction has become increasingly blurred with technology improvements such as increased bandwidth and sophisticated software clients that can allow for multiple parties on a call. In general everyday usage the term videoconferencing is now frequently used instead of videocall for point-to-point calls between two units. Both videophone calls and videoconferencing are also now commonly referred to as a video link.[citation needed]

Webcams are popular, relatively low cost devices which can provide live video and audio streams via personal computers, and can be used with many software clients for both video calls and videoconferencing.[9]

A videoconference system is generally higher cost than a videophone and deploys greater capabilities. A videoconference (also known as a videoteleconference) allows two or more locations to communicate via live, simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. This is often accomplished by the use of a multipoint control unit (a centralized distribution and call management system) or by a similar non-centralized multipoint capability embedded in each videoconferencing unit. Again, technology improvements have circumvented traditional definitions by allowing multiple party videoconferencing via web-based applications.[10][11] A separate webpage article is devoted to videoconferencing.

A telepresence system is a high-end videoconferencing system and service usually employed by enterprise-level corporate offices. Telepresence conference rooms use state-of-the art room designs, video cameras, displays, sound-systems and processors, coupled with high-to-very-high capacity bandwidth transmissions.[citation needed]

Typical use of the various technologies described above include calling or conferencing on a one-on-one, one-to-many or many-to-many basis for personal, business, educational, deaf Video Relay Service and tele-medical, diagnostic and rehabilitative use or services. New services utilizing videocalling and videoconferencing, such as teachers and psychologists conducting online sessions,[12] personal videocalls to inmates incarcerated in penitentiaries, and videoconferencing to resolve airline engineering issues at maintenance facilities, are being created or evolving on an ongoing basis.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ A Microsoft RoundTable 360° camera
  2. ^ V.360° camera on vsnmobil.com
  3. ^ Dolcourt, Jessica Cisco Umi brings HD telepresence to the living room Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  4. ^ Straits Times newspaper clip about P2P from 1993
  5. ^ Videophone definition, Merriam-Webster Online, retrieved April 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Video definition, Online Etymology Dictionary
  7. ^ PC Magazine. Definition: Video Calling, PC Magazine website. Retrieved 19 August 2010,
  8. ^ Mulbach, 1995. Pg. 291.
  9. ^ Solomon Negash, Michael E. Whitman. Editors: Solomon Negash, Michael E. Whitman, Amy B. Woszczynski, Ken Hoganson, Herbert Mattord. Handbook of Distance Learning for Real-Time and Asynchronous Information Technology Education, Idea Group Inc (IGI), 2008, pg. 17, ISBN 1-59904-964-3, ISBN 978-1-59904-964-9. Note costing: "....students had the option to install a webcam on their end (a basic webcam costs about $40.00) to view the class in session."
  10. ^ Lawson, Stephen. Vidyo Packages Conferencing For Campuses, IDG News Service, February 16, 2010. Retrieved via Computerworld.com's website, October 27, 2017
  11. ^ Gomez, Al. Live Streaming Vs Video on Demand Al Gomez, March 24, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2010;
  12. ^ USA Today. "Video Chat Growing by Light-Year Leaps", USA Today, March 31, 2010, p. L01d.

Further reading