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Webcam or alternative?

So we, my father-in-law, and brother-in-law have these videophone thingies
from a company called 8X8 that bit the dust.  They hook up to your TV and
phone line instead of a computer and a phone line.  Well, they frequently
drop connections, and they're just no fun anymore.

Now that my brother-in-law is more computer-literate than in the past, we
would like to go with some sort of webcam solution that would let us talk
and see each other at the same time.  They seem pretty cheap these days,
but I don't know much about them.  Can anyone give me some feedback on
hardware or software that would suit our needs?  One more requirement is
that the picture has to be fairly decent, and capable of viewing three or
four people at the same time.

I have another thought for my side.  I have a very old but excellent
camcoder with a dead viewscreen.  If I could put a low-end video capture
board in my computer and use that camcorder for the input, I'm sure the
quality would be much better and more flexible, and I could use it to
digitize other things, like stuff from the VCR or TV.

Then I have to decide whether to hook this up to a Windows box (where I
could do it in another room of the house than the office), my Linux server
(where I could use it for security purposes too), or my old 486/50 laptop
via PCMCIA card (where it would be portable).

What I would _LOVE_ to do (and why I'm posting it here) is somehow use my
Linux box on my side, and let my brother-in-law use his Windows box, and
the other brother-in-law use his iMac.  And they all talk to each other
via CuSeeMe or something like it.

Thanks in advance for your input.

DDDD   David Kramer         
DKK D  If Bill Gates had a dime for every time a Windows box
DK KD  crashed...
DDDD                           ...,Oh wait, he already does.

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