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Buyer's Guide to WebCams

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Buyer's Guide to WebCams

by Answers 2000 Limited

What is a WebCam

A WebCam is a digital camera that you attach to your computer. You can use your WebCam (in combination with the right software) to send video and still pictures to the world, or of course, just your friends.
  • You could have video chats across the Internet with your friends or family. The other person will of course need their own WebCam too and the same (or compatible) chat software.
  • You could broadcast live video or publish automatically updating images on your web site.
  • You could use a WebCam for enhancing home security. Motion detection software can capture and photograph any movement in the room containing the WebCam.
  • You could even make your own Internet TV show. You'll need special software and a fast (broadband) Internet connection.
For most of these types of applications, you'll want audio as well as just the pictures, so of course, you need a microphone too.

Choosing a WebCam

WebCams can differ greatly in the quality of the images produced. One of the key factors to look at is the maximum "resolution" of the camera. A higher resolution means the camera can capture more detail (or alternatively larger images). However, be aware that if you have a slow dial-up internet connection, that you may find higher resolutions are unusably slow (or give jerky videos) because the images simply can not be sent from your computer fast enough to keep up with the camera.

Another thing that you will want to look at is the software included with the WebCam. Most of the models by two of the leading companies in this area (Logitech and Creative Labs) include some excellent bundled software.

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