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Zoom Review

Best Video Conference Service for Many Participants

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

After conducting extensive research and analysis of video conference services in 2019, we recommend Zoom as the best video conference service for large audiences.

We chose Zoom from a pool of more than 30 video conference services. To learn more about our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of video conference services, visit our best picks page

If your business hosts meetings for large audiences, there are two big factors you need to consider when choosing a video conference service: How many people can participate in a single meeting, and how many video feeds can be displayed at one time? 

Zoom is a perfect solution for businesses that host large meetings because it allows anywhere from 100 to 1,000 participants to join. Even Zoom's Basic service plan, which is free, can host meetings with up to 100 people. 

What makes Zoom even more appealing is that there is no limit to how many participants can be on camera at one time. Many of the other video conference solutions we examined had caps on the number of video feeds that could be displayed at once. 

Businesses that require a video conference service for large audiences also want a solution that can provide all of the tools needed for video rooms. They want a service that can easily transform a conference room into a meeting space that allows those in it to participate in video conferences. 

Zoom also provides all the hardware businesses need to turn any room into a space for video meetings. In addition to software, Zoom can suggest equipment such as microphones, display screens and speakers to create meeting rooms of various sizes – from an executive office or huddle rooms for up to seven people to conference rooms for up to 15 people and training rooms for any size audience. 

All things considered, Zoom is an excellent video conference option for large audiences because each service plan can support hundreds of people at one time and display unlimited feed videos.

Editor's note: Looking for a video conferencing solution? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

Zoom video conferencing offers four service plans – something for businesses of all sizes and budgets. 

Zoom has a free plan and three paid plans. The paid plans each include different features, and they’re set up on a per-host basis, which means you must purchase a host license for each employee you want to host meetings. You do not need to purchase host licenses for those who are just joining a meeting, but multiple host licenses give a business the ability to host multiple meetings at the same time. 

Here is a breakdown of each plan: 

  • Cost: Free
  • Minimum number of hosts: 1
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 40-minute limit on group meetings
  • Features: HD video and voice, simultaneous screen share, dial-in options, desktop and application sharing, instant or scheduled meetings, local recording, Chrome and Outlook plugins, host controls, group messaging, presence indicators, and whiteboarding 
  • Cost: $14.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 1
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Basic plan, plus advanced administrator meeting controls, reporting, custom personal meeting IDs, the option to let other people schedule meetings for you, and 1GB of cloud recording 
  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 10
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Pro plan, plus dedicated phone support, an administrator dashboard, vanity URLs, options for on-premises deployment, managed domains, single sign-on, company branding, custom emails and cloud recording transcripts 
  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 50
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Business plan, plus unlimited cloud storage, a dedicated customer success manager, executive business reviews, and discounts on webinars and Zoom Rooms  

With the Pro, Business and Enterprise plans, you can boost your allotted number of meeting participants to 500 or 1,000 for $65 to $110 per host, per month. 

These are some other available add-ons: 

  • Extra cloud recording storage: Starting at $40 per month
  • An H.323/SIP room connector: Starting at $49 per month
  • Zoom Rooms: Starting at $49 per month
  • Join by toll-free dialing or Call Me options: Starting at $100 per month
  • Video webinars: Starting at $40 per month 

There is a lot to like about Zoom. One of our favorite perks is the unlimited video feeds. The flexibility to have everyone's camera on at one the same time – whether you have 10, 50 or 100 people in the meeting – is a nice feature. 

Many of the other services we examined limit the number of cameras that can be on at one time. Even though it would be hard to pay attention to 50 video feeds at once, it still makes things easier on the meeting's host to be able to see everyone. With other services, the host has to decide who is on camera and who isn't. When someone off camera needs to be on camera, the host has activate their video feed. Without that responsibility and distraction, the host is able to focus on more pressing items during the meeting. 

We were also impressed Zoom’s range of features in addition to the standard video conference fare. One unique feature is the breakout rooms, which gives you the option to split your video conference into up to 50 separate sessions for discussion and projects. Another feature that not all services offer is the simultaneous screen share where multiple meeting participants can share their screens at the same time. 

Honestly, there wasn't much we didn't like about Zoom. One potential negative is the minimum number of hosts required for the Business and Enterprise plans. It may mean that features unique those plans are unavailable to smaller businesses. That being said, the Free and Pro plans offer a wealth of features that provide small businesses with a top-notch service. 

Zoom isn't an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. However, the company does have an A+ rating and has had only five complaints closed against it in the past three years as of May 2019. 

Zoom’s software makes it simple to schedule, host, join and participate in video conferences. You can host and join meetings on a desktop or mobile app, and there are available apps for Mac and PC, as well as for Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Zoom also works with room systems. 

Once you launch the app, you have two options: join a meeting or sign in. If you are attending a meeting (but not hosting), you click on the Join a Meeting link. If you are hosting a meeting, you need to sign in using an email address and password, a Gmail or Facebook account, or a single sign-on. Hosts then have the option to start an instant meeting or schedule a meeting for a later date or time. 

You can schedule meetings from the desktop or mobile app, from the Zoom web portal, or via Chrome or Outlook extensions. When scheduling a meeting, you set the date and time, then send the web link to participants. To join the meeting, all the host and meeting participants need to do is click on the link. 

While in a meeting, the host and participants can perform a wide range of actions using links at the bottom of the screen. These include inviting more people to the meeting, starting a group or private chat, sharing their screen, recording the meeting, muting or unmuting audio, turning video feeds on or off, and leaving or ending the meeting. 

One aspect of the service we like is the active speaker feature. With this, the video feed automatically switches to whoever is talking. This ensures that everyone attending the meeting can see who is talking at all times. There are also several options for seeing smaller video feeds of everyone else attending. 

If anyone is unable to attend via video feed, they can call into the meeting from any phone. While they can't see what is happening, they can listen in and contribute to the discussion. 

Zoom is one of the most feature-rich video conference services on the market. Depending on the service plan, Zoom offers more than 50 video conferencing, group collaboration and security features. 

These are some of the most valuable features: 

  • Unlimited meetings: You can host as many video meetings as you want.
  • HD video: Zoom supports HD video up to 720p.
  • Active speaker view: During video conferences, the software automatically detects which person is speaking and displays their video feed.
  • Gallery view: Participants can see up to 25 video feeds at one time.
  • Simultaneous screen share: More than one participant can share their screen at one time.
  • Dial-in: Participants who are unable to join by video can call into a meeting by phone.
  • Integrations: The software integrates with Chrome and Outlook. This allows you to schedule meetings straight from Google Calendar or Outlook.
  • Recording: Depending on your service plan, you can record meetings and either save them directly to your computer or store them in the cloud.
  • Host controls: The meeting host has total control of the video conference. They can control each participant's audio, video feed and screen-sharing capabilities.
  • Raise hand: Participants can alert the host when have a question, even if they are muted.
  • Group messaging: Your team can send group texts, files, screen captures and pictures to one another.
  • Presence: You can see which of your team members are available for a meeting and which are busy.
  • Reporting: Administrators can run reports to see how many meetings are taking place in their organization and details on those conferences, such as the days they take place, how many people are attending and how long they last.
  • Assign scheduler: You can assign someone else to schedule your meetings for you.
  • Cloud recording transcripts: You can receive transcripts of your meetings that are recorded in the cloud.
  • Virtual background: Zoom offers user the option of using a virtual background without a green screen. 

Other features available include whiteboarding, single sign-on, breakout rooms, SSL encryption, company branding and vanity URLs. Zoom also integrates with more than 50 programs and services, including Hubspot, Slack, Zendesk, Google Drive, LinkedIn Sales and Theta Lake 

We were extremely impressed with the customer service we received from Zoom. To test the quality of support, we contacted the company over the phone, posing as a business owner interested in Zoom. 

Our call was answered immediately by a very friendly representative who said she could answer any questions we had. She gave detailed answers and never once tried to pressure us into signing up for the service. 

During our call, we discussed a number of topics, including participant and video feed limits,  costs, annual contracts and conference room capabilities. We were very pleased with the call and the overall customer service. 

Be aware that the service plan you select determines the type of support you receive. Basic and Pro plan users receive online customer service, Business plan users have dedicated phone support available to them, and Enterprise customers have a dedicated customer success manager assigned to them. 

In addition to the personal assistance available, the Zoom website has a number of valuable training materials, including user guides and a variety of help videos.

Ready to choose a video conference service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage: 

Editor's note: Looking for a video conferencing solution? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer with more than 20 years of media experience. A graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff as a senior writer. Currently, Chad covers a wide range of B2B products and services, including business phone systems, time and attendance systems, payroll services, and conference call services. Before joining Business News Daily and business.com, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. Chad's first book, "How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business," was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.