I have a friend from Ireland who came over to visit us for a couple of weeks and while he was here he showed us his little ACN video phone. It’s basically a netbook with a built in VOIP phone and webcam and a phone interface and keypad in place of a regular GUI and keyboard.
He was really jazzed about these phones, but I wasn’t that taken with the idea of seeing the person you’re talking to. He brought his phone from Ireland with him so he could use it to call Ireland and people in Ireland could use it to call him. For the most part the kids left it alone, and then a couple of days before he left our middle boy (4) decided the phone looked dirty and he would help out by cleaning it off. He then proceeded to use a water pistol to squirt water all over it and that shorted out all the electrical stuff in it and it was dead as a doornail.
We were unable to revive the phone before he left to go back to Ireland. We offered to buy him a new one and the deal we arrived at was that since he wanted to get one with a US number, he would sign up for a US one and we would pay for the phone and the initial setup.
The phone arrived at our house yesterday and I decided to set it up so that we could use it to call him in Ireland until we got it to him over there. My opinion of the phone has gone up since using it, particularly with the setup. It worked right out of the box without having to refer to the instructions. I just plugged the Ethernet cable into the router and the power cable into the outlet and turned it on and after a few minutes of setting itself up it was ready to use.
When they say you need a broadband connection you really do. If you’re in audio-only mode it works fine with crystal clear sound. If the video is on that sucks up most of the bandwidth and unless you’ve got a really fat pipe it winds up looking like an old Japanese monster movie where the lips are out of sync with the voices (when you can hear the voices at all). Our friend thought the bandwidth issues was on his end and he was going to call BT and see if there was something they could do before calling us back this afternoon our time.