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6/24/03 Tuesday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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Reader reports on iChat AV Public Beta
(Including reports from Mac owners below 600MHz requirements)
Posted: June 24th, 2003
Last Updated: Oct 21st, 2003
(for note on PL Bluechip G3/900 firmware update)

(NOTE: in Fall 2006 the same company that did iChatUSBcam has released Powerboost for iChat AV Check it out although I have not used it personally. Original page from 2003 follows...)
This page lists reader feedback on the public beta of iChat AV (download linked on the iChat page), and includes links to an Apple kbase doc on the beta version issues with G3 macs and DV cameras, firewall ports used and reports from owners of systems below Apple's 600MHz cpu speed requirements. (G4 owners below the 600MHz cpu speed 'requirement' have noted success.)

Powerlogix Bluechip G3/900 Firmware Update fixes ASP Speed Reporting: A Pismo (Powerbook G3 2000) owner noted in a CPU upgrade db report (on Oct. 20th, 2003) on the Bluechip G3/900 that he received a firmware update from Powerlogix that fixed the mis-reported CPU speeds in Apple System profiler. Which means that iChat AV worked with the iSight for video conferencing. (Previously it would not as the CPU speed was reported as 550MHz, under the G3/600MHz minimum for iChat AV video use.) If you own a Bluechip G3/900 - write Powerlogix to ask for the update if it's not on their website (www.powerlogix.com) by the time you read this.

Apple Kbase Doc on Public Beta DV Camera issue w/G3 Macs: For G3 owners, see this Apple doc titled iChat AV (public beta): Does not recognize DV cameras on Computer w/PowerPC G3 (http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n93206).
Hopefully this will be fixed in an update to the Beta - but no idea until then if a G3 CPU under 600MHz will be useable for video or if they will have a system/CPU speed check present. *Update* - an iBook G3/800 owner w/iBot Firewire webcam noted he was able to use Video conferencing. (Past reports from G3 600MHz+ owners all seemed to be using DV Camcorders)

Note on Ports Used for Firewall Users:

Regarding iChat AV, I thought your readers might want to know that you need to open a couple of port ranges on your broadband router's firewall, or else iChat AV won't work. The Apple doc with the exact port ranges is:

That doc notes UDP Port 5060 and for video conferencing, iChat AV uses ports in the range of 16384 to 16403.

Apple kbase doc on iChatAV intermittent Audio/Video with Wireless Networks Apple has a Kbase doc titled: "iChat AV (Public Beta): Intermittent Video or Audio Issues While Connected to a Wireless Network" for those using iChatAV and seeing the problem using Airport or other wireless networks.

I welcome other reports on iChat AV - include your full system/OS/camera details in reports. (There was an older news item here on workarounds for system installer checks with things like DVD studio Pro in the August 7th, 2002 news page, but that was an installer check mod.)

If you want to Uninstall iChat AV Beta: In the finder go to /Library/Application Support/iChatBetaReverter.pkg. Run that and it should guide you on removing the beta. (Thanks Jay.)
Another reader wrote:

In the iChat pulldown menu, there is an option to "Revert to iChat 1.0". I haven't tried it, but at least you don't have to go hunting through the Library...

Camera in Use Tip: Not a common problem, but two readers said the solution was to remove an ioxperts file:

" I am running Ichat AV on a beige G3 that has neen upgraded to a 400mhz G4. It works well now, but at first I got the camera busy message, it turns out that the problem was a file called -
(is the filename "Ioxperts..."? that's the name of the company that has released OS X webcam drivers in the past. I say that since one reader with the iBot "busy" error reported he could not find the "Ioexperts" file.-Mike)
This file was left over from an earlier attempt to make my Unibrain Fire I camera work on my system and was from the IOexperts firewire camera driver installation.
-Karl "

Reader Reports: (most recent first)

iSight + iChat AV Tip for under 600MHz G3 Systems: This is the first report of an under 600MHz G3 working with iChatAV and the iSight using software noted in the July 14th main site news page originally for USB webcams.

(added July 15th, 2003)
" Hi Mike, Installing iChatUSBCam(beta2) (see http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ichatusbcam-Mike) with the accompanying required programs (macam 0.8 and Application Enhancer) allowed the use of a USB webacm on G3's with less than the required 600 MHz speed. I tried it on an iBook 500. The video was choppy but liveable. (Performance is primarily why Apple requires a G4 or a faster G3)
When you first launch iChat, only the audio icon comes out beside your name. You have to go to the Video menu and click on "Enable Camera". The camera icon then comes out and clicking on it will allow you to see a preview and set up preferences. You do have to enable the camera everytime you launch iChat.

An added bonus : With iChatUSBCAM installed, you can use your iSight camera on G3's with less than the required 600MHz speed!
Jose L.
(Since the iChatUSB cam page had a note that about reports it didn't work with Firewire cams with under 600MHz G3 CPUs, I asked Jose to verify he actually tried it with an iSight and he wrote)

Yes, I am using an iSight with an iBook G3 500. I have also successfully used iSight on a PowerBook Pismo G3 500. You do have to enable the camera from the menu every time you launch iChat though.
Jose "

This may not work with every configuration since the iChatUSB Cam page has a note:

    "FireWire cameras on an "unsupported" G3:
    Although iChatUSBCam Beta 2 enables video conferencing on "unsupported" G3's for users of USB webcams, many beta users have reported that FireWire cams are not enabled. We are working on this problem and hope to have it resolved in the next release."

But if any other G3 owners under the 600MHz requirement find it works with an iSight or other Firewire camera, let me know (include system/camera, etc. details in reports).

USB WebCam Tips/Drivers: There were a couple of reader reports on USB webcams working with iChat AV from the past here (below) but they both noted having to keep a DV camera connected (and on) to be able to use the USB webcam (Logitech Quickcam's). A reader mail today noted some drivers used with a Kensington USB VideoCAM that may help avoid that requirement (as well as working with -USB- webcam video with under 600MHz G3s):

(added 7/14/2003)
"Hi Mike, I've had success getting my USB cam (Kensington VideoCAM VGA) to work with iChat AV with a new utility called iChatUSBCam (beta 2) from http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ichatusbcam along with the Quicktime USB Cam driver MacCam 0.8 http://webcam-osx.sourceforge.net/. This USB cam picture looks every bit as good as my friend's Sony VX200 on a 17" Powerbook G4/1GHz!
My configuration is a G3 Blue/White w/ 500MHz G4 upgrade (My 500MHz G3 wouldn't work. Couldn't find a way around the processor check). I hope this helps others.
Anthony S.
President, VMUG
(The Las Vegas Macintosh User's Group)"

Anthony later wrote:

" Just a little follow-up on that last post I sent. I didn't try this utility with my 500MHz G3 since I purchased the G4 prior to finding it. iChatUSBCam is also supposed to fix the > 600MHz G3 situation also.
Anthony "

He later wrote that he verified (with his 500MHz G3) that the USB webcam worked with the http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ichatusbcam driver/plugin - but their page says that Firewire cams (like the iSight) still need a G3/600MHz or better (any speed G4 CPU seems to allow Video conferencing however as noted here before in reports below). The iChatUSBcam page notes they're going to try to work around the Firewire cam G3 CPU speed check in a future update. (I know many readers with G3s under 600MHz wish there was a fix for that requirement that worked with the iSight Firewire camera.)

Pismo w/Bluechip G3/900 CPU Upgrade: (*Update* see Oct. 21st, 2003 post at top of page for info on a firmware update from Powerlogix for correct speed reporting to fix this issue.)

" iSight does not seem to work with the upgraded G3/900 Pismo - I have one (PowerLogix), and the iSight says that I am not equipped to run the iSight. In the manual it says that third party CPU upgrades are not supported, but it also looks like it is hackable... (the problem with the G3 might have to do with System Profiler reporting it to be a G3/550). Hopefully someone in the community can find a way. I don't know about the G4 one though... (the G4/500 upgrade works - see below)
William S. "

The iBook G3/900 uses the same CPU and bus speed (100MHz) and does have accurately reported CPU speeds of course. I also wonder why the G3/800 ZIF (same CPU type) was reported corrrectly (800MHz) in my B&W G3 under 10.1.5 in my older review (but was not reported accurately by OS 9.2's ASP - notes from Powerlogix on that in the review specs page I believe back then.) With some 7455A/7455B (G4) CPU upgrades, certain ratio settings (Bus/CPU ratio that determines CPU speed) are not accurately reported - but 9x isn't one of the 'reused' older ratios that are the reason for the misreported speeds with the 7455A/7455B G4/AGP upgrades. (See notes on the specs page of my G4 reviews of Giga Designs G4 CPU upgrades for more info/list of ratios affected, etc.)

Pismos with G4/500 Upgrade:

"I have a Pismo with a G4/500 upgrade (one of the early PowerLogix models), and it works fine with iChat AV and the iSight.
I've only tried one-way video conferences so far (both incoming and outgoing). I assume that two-way should work as well, but I can't confirm this yet.
-- monroe"

Another G4/500 upgraded Pismo owner wrote confirming success:

" Mike, I already sent you that long review on testing iChat AV with several machines, which included my experience using iChat AV with my Pismo laptop upgraded with the G4 500. In short, it worked great...no issues. See the complete report for details. (past report on the iChat AV feedback page here)
Steve "

iBook G3/500 working with Copied App/Prefs from supported machine?

" I have no Idea if you can dupe this again, my wife installed ichat AV on her ibook 500 G3 by draging my ichat (I have a 600 ibook) over the airport network, and it works great, I even double checked her machine it's a Ibook dual usb 500 G3 with 640 megs. It works Great even on the video, audio works fine.
The only thing that might help you out is she took the preferences from my machine as well.
(I asked what camera he was using)
I have the isight, and a Ibot, the isight rocks, Let me mess with it, I am going to run back up then kill it and try it again, I want to see if it works again, As well as I am testing it on dial up, just to see how it works.
Paul "

" With my router (Draytek Vigor 2600WE) I had to do the following to get Audio and video conferencing to work:
Open UDP Ports 5060 and 16384-16403 to the local Private IP of my Macintosh. (this was noted previously here above, per the Apple kbase doc.-Mike)
If you are running the built in Mac OS X firewall (System preferences: Sharing) then either turn it off or allow ports 5190 and 5298.
Some routers appear to work without opening these ports, but mine certainly did not. I had to restart the router after making the above changes before they took effect.
David A. "

" Here's a data point with regards to the use of iChat AV beta with a Pyro 1394 camera: it works. (Earlier reports from iBot FW cameras also noted success)
The platform in use is a PowerMac 400 MHz AGP (Sawtooth) with 1 GB RAM running OS X 10.2.6. Video is on an Apple 23 inch Cinema Display driven by a Radeon 8500 with audio input by a USB microphone and output by USB speakers.
Note that the 600 MHz requirement given by Apple is not really a requirement at all. (G4s under apple's 600MHz clock speed requirement for video conferencing have been noted as working in earlier reports here - but G3s under that speed generally get the error message when trying to do video.-Mike)
=Steven "

" Dual G4 running Mac OS X v10.2.6 with Sony DCR-VX2000. Video preview works, but all connections are dropped immediately. Both Rendezvous and .MAC/AIM accounts tried without success. Yet, from another box to mine with the exact same camera (I brought it over) works fine via Rendezvous. Audio chat works fine in all cases.
Bummer man, I want to send video!
T. "

I asked if he had a firewall enabled (see port info noted above).

" Hi Mike-
My initial attempt to use my Sony DCR-TRV50 DV camera worked halfway, with the microphone picking up but a black video screen. Later that day I tried again and it worked like a charm. It was a pain to have my camera shut down when idling in Standby Mode for too long, but taking the tape out of the camera allows me to have standy on for as long as I want it.
I read a report that someone used iSight with the iVisit application (http://www.ivisit.com) but I wasn't able to do that successfully. But iChat works great.
Jerrod "

I asked if he had tried iSPQ (which has support for adjusting some features and controls of the iSight that iChat doesn't -see the screenshots and report from a reader on the iSight feedback page here.

"...I thought some of your readers would want to know that the (Logitech) USB headset that comes with the Sony Playstation 2 game "SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALS" works wonderfully with iChat.
It's plug and play, the OS (10.2.6) picks it up as soon as you plug it in, no driver install needed. You may need to change your preferences in the Sounds Preference Pane first though. Sound quality is fantastic (both ways), even though it's not a stereo headset.
Michael H."

" Hi there, Thought I would try to clear up the confusion about why Apple is saying no DV cams on G3s, while readers are indicating that firewire webcams work fine. The reason is that firewire webcams are sending uncompressed video to the Mac, while DV camcorders are sending compressed DV video to the Mac and this needs to be uncompressed before it is useable by iChat AV.
There are two different video standards used over firewire - the DV one is used for camcorders etc and has about 5:1 compression already there (this is what gets recorded to tape, but even if you use the camera live, you still get the compressed video). The other standard- the AV one, as used by firewire webcams like the iSight, streams uncompressed video and doesn't need any decompression.

Apple already has a G4-optimised DV decompressor, so that works great for iChat AV, but for a G3 it is too much work to try to decompress the DV AND run iChat AV I assume. (Note the reports of G4s below the Apple 600MHz requirement are doing video OK)
Observant readers will already know that Quicktime Broadcaster already has a 'G4 only' limitation, I imagine for exactly this reason.
P.S. this is also the reason that the iSight cam will not work with iMovie. iMovie is expecting DV video, not AV video, and so won't work with the iSight.
The workaround here is to use Quicktime broadcaster to record the stream to disk, and then you can convert the video to a DV stream and import it into iMovie.
Hope this helps. -Dave "

(reports from June 25th and before follow)

" Mike, I've played A LOT with iChat AV over the past couple of days (> 12 hours of constant use), and I've cleared every hurdle I encountered! This thing works so well, it's hard to understand why someone else didn't implement it sooner. I have sent all three forms of data (text, audio & video) to a friend in PA flawlessly and between two different machines in my own house. To send video between two Macs in the same house is especially impressive since both directions of network traffic had to pass through the same cable modem (I assume the data went out to the internet and returned rather than staying within my LAN...do you know?).

Anyway, here were the configurations and various scenarios tested:

- Mac #1: G4 550MHz (PCI Graphics) in my home with PlainTalk mic
- Mac #2: Powerbook Pismo 500 (upgraded with G4) also in my home with built-in mic
- Mac #3: Remote Powerbook G4 12" in Pennsylvania with built-in mic
- Sony TRV-103 Digital 8 camcorder in my home (no camera at remote end)
- Cable modems at both ends (about 2.5Mbs max throughput)
- Latest OS and iChat DV Beta

Scenarios and Results:

1. The two machines in my home were connected to the internet using a cable modem. The Pismo used an Airport connection (limiting throughput to 11Mbs max) and the desktop used a 100Mbs direct connection. The remote Powerbook in Pennsylvania was connected to the internet via a direct connection to a cable modem. My machines are about the slowest possible G4s around, so they represented "old" technology, while the remote computer was the latest Apple laptop.

2. Text chat works fine between all locations and computers (of course). Great new features include easier changing of ID pictures and access to emoticons.

3. After opening the appropriate ports in the router/firewall (important tip!), audio chat worked virtually perfectly between all machines (local and remote). Connecting with the remote computer was reliable, although the connection would drop once in a while. Re-establishing it was usually very easy. It was also possible to text chat while audio chatting, which was very helpful in troubleshooting the audio connection during disconnects.

4. The sound was crystal clear at first (sounded like a regular speaker phone) with no apparent delay or duplex problems. Amazingly good sound, actually. However, after a short time the sound would usually become muffled, which I determined was a by-product of iChat's automatic echo cancellation. Echo cancellation is intended to stop the feedback howl created by the mic sensing the sound from the speakers. When the speakers volume was lowered, the sound remained clear longer, indicating that the echo cancellation wasn't kicking in as easily. It wasn't possible to eliminate the effect totally, since the laptop at the remote end used built-in speakers and mic (so feedback was hard to avoid).

4. Since the remote user in Pennsylvania didn't own a DV video camera, video chat was tested only using the one-way video chat feature. Many folks have experienced trouble finding this feature, I'm told. Here's the secret: In your Buddy List, right-click (or control-click) on the name of a buddy, and the pop up menu will include the option to "Invite to one-way video chat." Before sending the invite, I used iChat Preferences to set up the camera and confirm the computer was receiving a signal through the firewire cable. I also told iChat to use the mic built in to the camera rather than my Plaintalk mic.

5. As I waited for the remote user to accept the invite and the connection to be established (about 10 seconds), a small window popped up on my screen previewing the image I was about to send over iChat. It looked good and would get jumpy only when I moved the camera quickly. Interestingly, the image was mirrored. I couldn't find a way to fix it, so it must be a bug.

6. Once the other person accepted my video chat invitation, a similar video window popped up on their screen with - surprise! - my face on it! Video worked as smoothly as the audio. I was amazed. Even on my relatively slow G4, performance was very acceptable. The image remained fairly fluid (about 20-25 fps), and both machines had plenty of spare CPU cycles available for other tasks. On my 550MHz G4, I could even browse the web simultaneous with little or no change in page loading speed (which also shows that my cable modem bandwidth wasn't saturated either)! This is really remarkable, I think.

7. iChat also gives the option for each viewer to switch to full screen mode, which worked great (we only tested in one-way mode, however). It was absolutely awesome. It was like having a remote security camera! Sound was also as good as the audio chat feature (and even better because the echo cancellation never kicked in for some reason.) By the way, I discovered another use for iChat during this time: troubleshooting computers remotely. I was able to point my video camera at my own computer screen during the iChat session and transmit a real-time picture while describing to the remote viewer how to change various menu options in the program. They could follow my instructions and repeat the steps I showed them. It was too cool!

8. The video session was only slightly more prone to disconnects than audio, but even so, I had an uninterrupted video session that lasted over 30 minutes with no disconnect or serious disruptions. That's more reliable than my employer's corporate video teleconferencing sometimes! This is truly something everyone can use immediately and reliably, especially if you have fast computers and a professional internet connection (vs. just cable modems or DSL).

9. One last test involved playing a video tape over iChat. I wanted to see if I could play a pre-recorded tape over the video connection. On my camera, if I switch between camera mode and VTR mode, I must pass through the "off" state, cutting the connection between me and the remote viewer. Consequently, I had to disconnect the iChat session first, then change camera modes, and then re-establish an iChat video session while in VTR mode. No big deal, and other cameras might not have that limitation.

10. Once I had the connection up again, I was able to play a tape while the remote viewer watched. Since my camera's internal mic is disabled in VTR mode, I had no way to talk to the remote viewer while playing the tape (although I could still send text chat). If I were to changed the mic setting in iChat to use my Mac's mic instead of the camera's mic, then the remote viewer lost the sound from the playing tape. I want to test this further, but for now it seems you can only send sound from either the camera (whether from the internal mic or off tape) or from the computer mic, but not both. All things considered. it was trivial to play a video tape over the internet for Grandma to watch on her computer. Expect to see Apple to demo this feature in a commercial, I'm sure.

11. Better yet, you could just set up the camera during the birthday party, and let her watch it live! Mind boggling capabilities. I'm predicting that hundreds of fascinating uses for this technology will pop up almost immediately (e.g., remote medical consultation, remote security, remote job interviews, and certainly the porn industry will have a field day with this one!).

Hope this report helps someone. When I have updates, I'll send them.
Steve "

PowerBook G4/667 w/Logitech USB webcam:

" I too was disappointed that my Logitech camera and my ioExperts driver were non functional with iChat AV. However after i read about one of your readers having success with his USB Quickcam Pro 3000 by starting with his dv camera first (earlier report below), I though I'd give it a go.
My experience is a little different than his however. Yes, I can get my Logitech camera working, but the dv camera needs to be on all the time. iChat can not see the dv camera feed, just the Logitch cameras feed. if I turn the DV camera off the image from the Logitech stops and I get the message that no camera is attached...strange, but better than nothing.
Almost forgot...I have a powerbook G4 15" 667 (DVI) attached to a 17" studio monitor with 512meg of ram. "

Busy User Tip: (in reply to an earlier report below)

" I have run into both issues:
Flipped video: seems to be only the preview (or when you look at yourself). The person on the other end of my chat saw everything okay (ie, not a mirror image). I wonder if this is intentional, since the camera is pointed directly at you (so when you move left, you move left on the screen, too). (I think it is intentional - I was not clear from the first reports that they were talking about their image, not the remote person's video image.-Mike)

Busy User: I ran into this as well--where iChat said that the user was busy in another conference (my test buddy quit and relaunched iChat and it worked fine afterwards).
--Tim "

Tip for "Camera in Use" message: (in reply to an earlier report)

" I am running Ichat AV on a beige G3 that has neen upgraded to a 400mhz G4. It works well now, but at first I got the camera busy message, it turns out that the problem was a file called -
(is the filename "Ioxperts..."? that's the name of the company that has released OS X webcam drivers in the past. I say that since one reader with the iBot "busy" error reported he could not find the "Ioexperts" file.-Mike)
This file was left over from an earlier attempt to make my Unibrain Fire I camera work on my system and was from the IOexperts firewire camera driver installation.
-Karl "

Another reader sent a similar suggestion:

    (copy of earlier reader comments)
    "I have downloaded iChat AV and tried to get the video portion working. I have an iBOT FireWire cam, but when trying to get the video to work on iChat, I get the message that the cam is in use by another application. I have tried every means possible to figure out where else the cam is running, but have no luck. Any suggestions? -Jake H."

"Remove the file containing "IOXperts". Restart.

Not sure if that earlier reader had that driver installed. (one USB camera user said he did - but not the one with the Camera in use message.)

Reversed/Mirrored Video Image: I received about a dozen similar mails about the 'mirrored/flipped' video image some readers commented on earlier (I didn't realize they were talking about their image, not the person they were communicating with). Here's a sample that explains why:

" Hi there. The image is supposed to be flipped when you are viewing yourself. This way it acts like a mirror, so you can make sure you look good before you begin a chat. The person on the other end will not see a flipped image.
PS: one thing i thought was really cool, is that on my powerbook g4 when you go full screen, the image becomes fish eye in order to fill the screen... this way images in the center are not stretched, but are stretched when something moves to the side. "

I wasn't clear from the previous reports that the flipped image they referred to was a preview of their image (vs. the video of another person they were conferencing with).
Another reader explains:

" I have also experienced flipped video on iChat AV. I think that this is a real feature, though, and not a bug. In most video chat applications, it can be difficult to center yourself in the screen when you look at the normal output since it has a mirror-like effect. For example, if you think you're a little too far to the right based on what you see on the screen, your instinct is to move to the left. However, when you move to the left, you are actually moving to the camera's right which means you are actually further to the right on the screen than you were before! It is very difficult to overcome this instinct - so when I saw reversed video, I figured this was a clever way Apple chose to implement and ease video chat. On the far end of your video chat, the image comes out in the normal orientation (not left-right reversed).
I could be wrong about this being intentional, but I think it is wise to have the functionality. It may be a good idea to make it user selectable, though.
FYI, I do not have a camera, but I used a VCR connected to my Sony DVMC-DA1 Analog A/V <-> FireWire converter, which was recognized instantly by iChat AV. My machine is a Dual 1.42GHz G4 Tower running 10.2.6.

(the first reports on flipped/mirrored video follow)

" It appears that the video image displayed on iChat AV is flipped horizontally. I am connecting this using my Digital Audio G4 with a DV converter using my analog camera. Do you have anyone else who reports this symptom?
FYI: I am running 10.2.6 with QT 6.2 (afraid of FCP compatiblity problems). "

See above (assuming Jake is talking about his own image)

"G4 Gigabit 2x450 MHz, Sony DCR-DRV120E PAL Digital 8 camcorder. Work ok but image is mirrored (reversed).

(Again see later report above.)

" iChat AV (as mentioned on your website) uses the following UDP ports
It should be noted that 5060 is the officially registered port used by SIP (which is an official standard used by some voice and video conferencing systems). This therefore confirms that iChat AV uses SIP as an underlying technology.
Cheers, John L.
IT Manager
AMTEC Consulting "

iBook G3/500 with iSight Camera:

" Just tried iChat AV with iSight camera on a 500Mhz dual USB iBook and receive the "This computer does not support video conferencing" message.
The camera mount for laptops also works poorly on the iBook, it doesn't feel at all secure. Everything works fine on a 667Mhz PowerBook of course.
marcus "

If anyone figures out how to disable that system/cpu speed check, let me know.

G4/450 AGP and Pismo G3/400 Owner:

" Success with two different cameras on my G4/450 AGP. iBot worked fine, as did a Canon ZR10 MiniDV camcorder. When using the camcorder I had my choice of using either the regular external Mac microphone or the camcorder's microphone. I did not attempt to plug in both at the same time to see how to choose between them. One bug, if I was videochatting with someone using one camera, and unplugged the camera, iChat disconnected the user even though the audio should have continued to function. During one of the switches iChat crashed.

One interesting side-effect of using a camcorder is you can play a videotape through to the other user by setting the tape to VCR mode.

In my test, both connections were limited by the ISP to 128K upstream rate. Audio was excellent, video was fine with a talking head, but not very good with fast-moving objects (moving a soda can into view of the camera took several seconds to stabilize).

Both users were behind DHCP/NAT routers, and in neither case were any ports specifically redirected. That impressed me, since router configuration would be a dealbreaker for many multi-computer-home users. It appears Apple's server plays some role in starting the communication process, then gets out of the way. OS X's built-in firewall was off on both systems. The computer at the other end was a PowerMac G4 of some variety in the 500-600 MHz range.

CPU usage was extremely high during the video chat, 60%+ on the G4/450, making the rest of the system quite sluggish.

My Pismo PowerBook G3/400 reports "This computer does not support video conferencing" when my iBot is attached. I did not try with my ZR10, as it appears others have tried with no success. Audio conferencing was fine.
-Mitch "

Beige G3 with G4/500 CPU Upgrade, Sony TRV-38 Camcorder:

" Some notes on using iChat AV:
First, my setup: beige G3 tower upgraded to 500 MHz G4, a Radeon PCI card (can't remember model number, but only a yr old), 512 MB RAM, Sony TRV-38 mini-DV camera. I also have Quartz Extreme enabled.

I have been able to use the video portion of iChat AV successfully (albeit only a brief test--I don't have any friends with a camera setup). Video was somewhat choppy, but overall pretty good. I'm looking forward to more usage.

One final note: I did not open any ports on my router and it appeared to work alright, although that was only on connections that I had initiated. I've now opened the ports, so I'm not sure if they were needed only to receive incoming connections, but that does seem likely.
Chris "

Camera in Use Message: (didn't note system info)

" I have downloaded iChat AV and tried to get the video portion working. I have an iBOT FireWire cam, but when trying to get the video to work on iChat, I get the message that the cam is in use by another application. I have tried every means possible to figure out where else the cam is running, but have no luck. Any suggestions?
-Jake H. "

Reader Tip (from later report above)
"Remove the file containing "IOXperts" and Restart."

iBook G3/900 w/iBot FW Webcam:

" I have an iBook 900MHZ with an iBot. It works just fine and the camera definition is superior to that of iVisit. I didn't have to change any settings at all, or open any ports. Zero configuration as Steve said at the WWDC.
Paul R. "

USB Quickcam Pro 3000: (Didn't note system info)

" ... just in case anyone is interested, I stumbled into getting my USB Quickcam Pro 3000 (using ioxpert driver) to work with iChat AV. If I connect my DV camcorder first, then turn it off, the next time I fire up ichat, it recognizes my USB cam. Works well too. My guess is that USB functionality is possible but they'd like to sell a few iSights first. So ... hold on to your USB cams ... it's a matter of time ...
Matt K.
I'm using a G4 1.42 DP/ 1.5 RAM. "

G4/500 AGP w/Formac Studio:

" BTW Mike, iChat A/V works fine on my PowerMac G4 AGP 500. I can use my Formac Studio as the camera and it is recognized fine. The resolution (image quality) is not as good when even viewed on my machine as say that of BTV at the same sizes, and the inverted horizontal video is a little disorienting. I think there is little doubt that a G4 is more than capable at any clock speed of handling the compression needed for iChat A/V as others have had success too. It looks like the G3s are SOL though.
For comparison check also, I installed iChat A/V on my iMac Rev A that has been upgraded with a Rev B motherboard and the NewerTech iMaxPower G4 (433MHz). The app installs fine and appears it would support a FW camera if I could connect one. No error messages pop up stating the computer isn't qualified to run the video portion (even when selecting the control panel, it just says no camera is connected) like others have gottten, so I assume it would work. Of course, this machine doesn't have a firewire port and it doesn't appear that switching to the Sonnet Harmoni upgrade would work either as it is only a G3 600. (Apple states a G3/600 as the mininum CPU requirement, so it might work at least in a non-beta version.-Mike) Unfortunate because I would LOVE to be able to use the iMac as a sort of video server over iChat :( Hopefully this will be fixed in the final release, but probably not. And I can't seem to figure the reason for this limitation. I imagine iChat A/V is using H.263 or mp4 compression or some variant, but the G3 400 should be capable of at least doing that in real-time at 320x240 with a DV camera, so...
-Charles "

One reader noted very high CPU usage w/video (one of the reports above).

G4 1.2GHz w/iBot webcam:

" G4 Gigabit with PL 1.2Ghz card, JB1200 WD drive, 1024MB Ram iBot Camera, Labtec USB mic

Works amazingly well. Totally blown away! A good 20fps with audio between cable modems.
-D "

PowerBook G4 1GHz w/Panasonic PV-DC152 Camcorder:

" Mike
iChat works great for me. I have a Powerbook G4 1ghz running 10.2.6. I have my Panasonic Palmcorder PV-DC152 hooked up to it and can do video conferencing just fine.
JAustin "

G4 Cube w/Canon Eulera 10 Camcorder:

" Hi...Cube with 1000mhz processor; 10.2.6; Canon Eulera 10 DV camera.
iChat AV recognized camera instantly. Pretty neat. Unable to actually try conferencing until I can get an iSight for my wife's computer at work. Looks promising.
I have screen shots showing Eulera camera window in iChat if you want them.

PowerBook G4/400 w/Sony Digital 8 Camcorder:

" I have a PB G4/400 with a sony Digital 8 camera. I get audio but no video. Actually I get a red screen with some green lines here and there and what seem to be shadows of Aqua windows. Very odd indeed.
-sondjata "

User "Busy in Another Conference" Message: (See tip from reader repeated below)

" G4 533 Digital Audio/OS 10.2.6/OrangeMicro iBot Firewire Webcam
I get a message saying the other person is 'busy in another conference' when they're actually not. I haven't gotten it working yet, and I've tried with two other people using iChat/Firewire webcams. If anyone has or had this message and gets it working, please post the solution. Thanks!

No, neither of us have a firewall enabled. "

A reader replied to this post with a tip:

" Busy User: I ran into this as well--where iChat said that the user was busy in another conference (my test buddy quit and relaunched iChat and it worked fine afterwards).

Conflict with Apple X11?:

" Hi Mike I have downloaded the Ichat AV mainly to see whether it supported other "protocols" like MSN, ICQ, Jabber... no luck!

But the primary concern I have at the moment is that it appears to have a conflict with Apple's X11....
Focus from the X11 applications disappears for no particular reason.... And as this happened after the install of Ichat AV I naturally have my suspicions ...
Any way to uninstall Ichat AV ?
-Niels "

In the finder go to /Library/Application Support/iChatBetaReverter.pkg. Run that and it should guide you on removing the beta.

iBook G3/800 Owner w/iBot FW webcam: Glad to see this report - maybe a webcam like the iBot works with faster G3s (where DV camcorders don't):

" I downloaded and installed the iChatAV Beta on my 800mhz iBook last night. It recognized my iBot firewire webcam right from the start and I experienced no problems during a video call to my friends in the Virgin Islands. The video was a little choppy and the sound dropped out at times, but that may be due to 'net connection problems in the islands. Once odd thing happened: the video was a reversed as a mirror image. A strange problem, but not unworkable. Hopefully, Apple will iron this bug out in future versions. Thanks for a great site!
Brett S."

Past reports from >600MHz G3 owners later noted using DV Camcorders - so maybe the Apple kbase doc issue with the first public beta isn't an issue with cameras like the iBot (?).

G4 Upgraded B&W G3 w/iBot FW Camera:

iChat AV is working with a BWG3 with PL G4 550, ATI radeon and 2 monitors. I haven't tried to actually conference but I do get a video window from my iBot firewire. Much less live latency while viewing myself than watching live with the mfgr suppied software.
Mike Beck"
camera type noted (but I wrote to ask).

Dual G4/500 Gigabit User:

" Mike,
No problems here with iChat AV and a Dual 500 G4 GigE system.
(below the 600Mhz requirement -but a G4 dual system)
- David.
It probably doesn't matter on a G4, but I asked David what camera he was using.
I'm using a Sony Firewire camcorder - TRV103, I think. It's a 1998 or 1999-era Digital8 Camcorder. "

A PowerBook G4/500 user also reported it working - see below.

" Regarding your question about whether it will work with G3 machines, the following cryptic tech doc from Apple explains it somewhat:

At debate seems to be whether this includes all Firewire cams/camcorders or just camcorders. Also at question, does this include G3 machines that meet Apple's own posted specs (600 G3 or above.) The doc seems to me to indicate that all G3 machines (no matter the speed) shouldn't be able to do the videoconf. Someone pointed out that maybe the doc means that G3s just can't do videoconf with DV Camcorders. But Firewire webcams should be fine. This doesn't make much sense as to why Apple would limit DV Camcorders, as their NTSC resolution is only 80px more than the iSight's resolution. And everywhere on Apple's site that mentions requirements states that all is needed is a G3 600.

So far, the only reports it seems you have gotten have been from those who don't meet the system requirements (Pismos). It would be interesting to hear from someone who owns a G3 600 or better and their experiences w/ iChat videoconf and different cameras.
Charles S. "

See below for other reader reports (later ones will be added above) - including one from an iBook G3/700 owner (but although I requested it - he did not include camera info).

iBook G3/700 User:

" Mike -
Forget the hack - iChat AV beta does not work on ANY G3 PowerMac. Tried for a while on my iBook 700 Dual USB until I found this:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93206 (same doc as linked above-Mike)
(Although it may not matter with a G3, I asked Dan what camera he was using)
I was using a Canon ZR10 - works fine on my G4 Quicksilver but no-go with my iBook 700. "

(Please include full details including camera used in reports to save us both time - Thanks)

PowerBook G4/500 and iBook G3/800:

" My brother has a ibook 800 and was not able to to use the video function.
how ever, my g4 500 powerbook was able to use it.
His says nothing about being too slow, or not supporting it, just that there is never a camera connected. However, the setup does work in imovie.
When installing, he had a kernel panic, but did reinstall ichat-av.
Anyone having trouble using it with an ibook?
Any suggestions?
-Adam M "

I suspect this is not fixable based on the Apple Kbase doc linked above.
Although I saw no iChat AV related corrections after the PB version install, I still recommend running repair permissions after any OS X or X apps install/update.

Another PB G3/500 (Pismo) report:

" I tried the new iChat AV on my machine, and it wouldn't let me use the video portion of it.
"This computer does not support video conferencing." appeared on the first launch. The message also appears under "Preferences...->Video", though the audio portion seems to work fine (firewall issues aside).
Machine: Pismo G3/500, 768 MB RAM, Mac OS X.2.6
Camera: Sony TCR-DV17 Mini-DV, connected through FireWire/iLink.
-Wil "

First Pismo G3/500 Owner Report:

" Hi Mike, Yeah, I tried on my G3/500 Firewire 2000 Pismo, it says "This computer does not support video conferencing".
The audio conference works great, it's duplex and excellent quality.

Regarding whether the computer supports video conferencing, of course, it does. I have an iBot that works with iVisit, iSpQ Video Chat and ohphonex perfectly. The exact same camera on my Dual G4/1Ghz works fine so it's not a camera problem.

I hacked all the ichat files that I could find with my hex editor but I couldn't find the code that is checking the computer.
I would deeply appreciate any assistance our community can provide to allow the use of this software on my G3/500 Pismo.
Thanks! -Jim "

If anyone finds a way to disable the check for iChat AV, let me know. (There was an older news item here on workarounds for system installer checks with things like DVD studio Pro in the August 7th, 2002 news page, but that was an installer check mod.)

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