Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Webcams - what about them?

Television makes you look 10 years younger they say, and never wear stripes because it causes havoc with the cameras! No need to worry about that with a webcam! The only concern you need concern yourself with, is concerning the fact that it has to be plugged into the pc, and that you have the necessary software and physical ports to operate one.

A web camera (webcam), is a low resolution camera designed to send video or images to a computer, which in turn can be broadcast on the internet; used in chat programs like AOL, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Skype etc; They can also be used online games, online dating websites, and with video capture and editing applications. Webcams are controlled by software on the computer. The software will enable features such as continuous video (live) and still or timer based images at preset intervals.

Web cameras typically require a USB port on your PC, and software to install the proper drivers. This is included with the camera. Once you have the camera installed, you then must configure the camera to operate in the application you wish to use it with. MSN messenger has a camera configuration utility built in, as do Yahoo and several other instant messaging programs. Depending on the model of the camera, you may or may not also require a microphone to allow sound to be transmitted with your video.

Webcams are relatively inexpensive, and they can fit into small places, such as the computer desktop, the top of your monitor, or on a shelf. However, the quality of the video they broadcast is not suitable for professional use. Many camcorders and digital cameras have the ability to connect to a pc and be used as a webcam, if you require better quality than a standard webcam, you may wish to investigate these products.

Many businesses use webcams to monitor security, cottagers and travelers use them to monitor their homes and property. This is achieved using the internet, and having your webcam connected to a remote computer. Monitoring software allows you to simply type in a preconfigured website address that connects you to your remote web camera through the internet. Some security software suites have the option to be "woken up" when there is activity in your home or cottage.