Monday, August 8, 2016

Bad Skype video quality from my PC but not from the phone?

    Skype

AI live in Australia, so I have to keep touch with family back in Sri Lanka via Skype. Ever since moving here, I had been getting complaints about the video they receive being terrible.

The obvious culprit is the internet connection at my current apartment. It is using ADSL2+ and practically I get a bandwidth of about 16Mbps down and 1Mbps up. While it is substantially slower what I got in Japan, it is still similar to the speeds your get on the family package back in Sri Lanka.

But the video I get from the other side is clear!

To make matters more complicated, they say the video is clear if I take the call from the phone, for example from my old Nexus 5. What's weird about this is that both the Nexus 5 and my desktop PC  (which I usually make the calls from) are connected to the same Wi-Fi network via same the 802.11ac SSID. In fact, the desktop connects at double the data rate (866Mbps vs 433Mbps) compared to the phone. So, how come the video is much clearer on the phone than on the PC?

The webcam I am using is the Logitech C910 (which I had been using for a long time) whereas the webcam on the other side is the Logitech C270. As far as I know, in Skype, both can only do 720p. So I don't understand why there is a difference between the Skype video output. Perhaps my C910 has gone bad?

I posted about this on the Skype Community but so far nobody has replied. I wouldn't expect anyone to reply really, because people go there looking for solutions and not to provide them like in a general discussion forum.

There are a couple of things I can try though.

  • Call my desktop PC from the phone over the 3G/LTE data network to see if this issue can be reproduced. If so, at least then I can narrow down where the problem is. If it is local, then it is at least easier to resolve.

  • Hook up the C910 to my MacBook Air and see if the complaints go away. But the issue with this is that the MacBook Air cannot connect to the Wi-Fi network at a decent speed. If it works well, then we can surely say that the webcam does not work well with my desktop PC. But if it does not work well, then we cannot conclude anything. It could be the network, the webcam (either hardware or software) or both.

  • Of course there is another thing I can do. That is the get the C270 webcam and see if it works well. it would be an inferior product to the C910, but that's probably what I need with this crappy internet connection. While the C270 sells for dirt cheap in Japan (about AUD15), it sells for almost 4 times here, so that is not a solution either. 

So, what do you think is it? Is there any thing other than what I have mentioned above that I can do to either fix it or pinpoint the culprit?

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