kichat: FAQ 3 How to Get Video & Audio Chats with PCs?

Version 1
Last Modified: Feb 22, 2011 5:52 PM
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How do I get Video and Audio Chats with PCs ?

Broadly applies to iChat 3 as well

This piece is designed for those trying to connect Mac to PC for Video and Audio chats. Any iChat version Panther and up.


This bit is designed for clarity.

Video is the sending and /or recieving of pictures and sound.
Audio is the sending and or receiving of sound only.
One-Way is the ablity to start either an Audio or Video chat from one end to a receipient who can not match your capabilities (or Vice Versa)

What is needed

At the Mac end

1 Mac running OS 10.3.x and iChat AV ver 2.1 or 10.4 plus iChat 3
A DSL (Broadband) connection of at least an up link speed of 256kbs.
An AIM or account name.
(hosting Multiple person AV chats requires higher specs and broadband uplink speed).

At the PC end

1 PC running windows XP (home or Pro). THIS A MUST
AIM 5.5AIM is here Currently at ver. 5.9 at that link.
Some need the file from item 2 Here
An AIM account/screen name (AOL or Nescape count as well)
Service Pack 2 info. scroll down to second item. (Edited 2/12/2004)

Between both of you.

At least one camera (Mac end)
A sound input device (the camera, if it has one is ok)
Your Buddies screen/account name in each others Buddy Lists

Other tweaks

For some people, using AIM on a PC, may also have to make sure their preferences are set in the AIM Buddy list, for their camera and /or MIc.
This is an icon button lower right on the Buddy List marked "Prefs". This leads to the Preferences. Drop down the list until you read Live Video. Click on this. In the new window that opens click the button that says Tuning Video and Audio. Follow the instructions in the wizard that opens up.

To Start

You should now be able to chat to each other.

If each of you has a camera it can be full Video , as described in the Glossary at the top.
To start from the Mac end, select (highlight) your Buddy with one click. His camera icon should be dark. Click on the icon near his name or the one at the bottom of the Buddy List. (You do not have to start a text chat).
To start from the PC end you need to start a text chat, then select the Video icon at the bottom of the chat window.

If one of you has a camera and the other has a Mic then you will be able to chat One Way but have sound returned to you.
To start this type of chat from the Mac end you will have to go to the menu item "Buddies" and drop down to the item "Invite to One Way Video Chat"
To start this from a PC follow the directions in the pargraph above. You may need to change the tab to the incoming Video at the back of the two to see the Video. These tabs are added when the Video chat starts and the front one normally states you do not have a camera and shows a connection to buy one.

It is also possible to chat One Way if the other person does not have a Mic: replies will have to be typed in a Text chat.


For any sort of sound (Talk in PC or Audio in iChat) the Mac will need a camera. The other person can have a Mic and then live chats with sound both ways and Pictures (Video) the other.

NOTE: At This Time It Is NOT Possible to Audio (sound only) between Mac & PC with AIM & iChat

Another explanation of the set up can be found Here

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