How to Troubleshoot Skype Video Calls

by Kay Ireland

Skype allows you to video chat and make low-cost calls to friends and family around the globe. Occasionally, your Skype video chats may be slow, choppy or nonexistent. You can remedy the problem with a few troubleshooting tips that can ensure your video chats are running with optimal functionality for the best possible experience. Whether it's your webcam driver or your Internet connection, you can adjust settings to better chat face-to-face with those on your Skype contact list.


Check your video settings before you attempt to connect via video chat. Click "Tools," then "Options," then "Video Settings." Immediately, you should see video playback in the same manner you would while in a video chat. If you don't see any playback, your webcam may not be turned on or your drivers may be installed incorrectly or not at all.


Close all programs that may be using your webcam. Your webcam can only be used by one program at a time, so if you were using it online or with MSN Messenger or another program, you'll need to shut the programs down in order to use the webcam for a Skype chat.


Start a video chat and click "Check Settings" within the video chat window. This will give a brief snapshot of your current call conditions, including the speed of your connection. Look for green bars beside the connection settings. If the bars are yellow or red, they could be contributing to a choppy, slow or delayed video chat.


Test your Internet speed by loading your Web browser and surfing to a few different pages. If your Internet is working fine but your video is still slow and choppy, it could be the result of a poor quality webcam. Depending on the brand and cost of your webcam, it may give you less-than-stellar playback, which could be interrupting your video chats.


Adjust your webcam settings by clicking on "Tools," then "Options" and "Video Settings." Click "Webcam Settings" and toggle the brightness, contrast, sharpness and other settings for the best picture. A dark video picture may simply be the result of a dark room, so ensure you have optimal lighting when you're ready to video chat.


Check to see your webcam driver is properly installed by navigating to the Control Panel, then clicking "Hardware and Sounds," then "Device Manager" and select "Imaging Devices." You should see the name of your webcam there. If not, you may need to reinstall the driver from the CD or through the manufacturer's website to restore the webcam's functionality.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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