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Webcam Information and Tips-
1) What is a webcam?
a) A webcam is a small digital camera that works with your computer and uses real time video and audio streams that can be accessed via the internet, instant messaging or with video conferencing applications.
2) What are the different types of webcams? There are two main types of webcams:
a) Dedicated webcam: The most common type of webcam, they connect to your PC via a USB connection. They are easy to install and use. Most Windows operating systems will automatically pick up the device as long as it is a recognizable brand. If you purchase an off brand webcam you may have to install the software. All webcams can and do have certain limitations such as poor resolution and a potentially low number of frames per second.
b) Integrated webcams: These come as pat of your computer hardware, most often seen in laptops. Most laptops these days have a webcam integrated into their design.
3) What are the different webcam features?
a) Frames per second – This is probably the most important aspect of a webcam. The number of frames per second that are recorded will determine your image quality. At minimum you should consider a camera with 30 frames per second. But keep in mind that other factors such as modem speed, internet connection and internet traffic will also contribute to your image quality. As the general rule applies, the faster the better.
b) Resolution – Most webcams have resolutions of 160×120 and 320×240 pixels. There are higher quality cameras with resolutions of 640×480 and above but they are going to be quite a bit more expensive. You can always expect a better quality of image with a higher resolution. Another thing to consider is a camera that can adjust to variable lighting situations; this will also help with a better image quality.
c) Zoom – There are two different zoom options to look at with a webcam. Digital zoom, which simply increases and decreases the size of an area and Optical zoom, which will actually change the lens position. The ability to zoom in on things is a great feature.
d) Microphone – Most webcams come with built-in microphones so you can enjoy live conversation as you view and chat, but there are some that don’t, so you have to take in to consideration that if your webcam doesn’t have a mic, you will have to purchase one separately.
e) Portability – How your camera is fixed on your computer can be important. Most cameras these days give you the option to clip in on to your monitor or to semi permanently fix it in place.
4) What are the main uses for webcams?
a) Keeping in touch with friends and family around the globe via face-to-face chat using services like Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, and AOL Instant Messenger
b) Most schools incorporate webcams as instructional tools in the classroom or for online classes.
c) Videoconferencing for work, to hold meetings with other employees and clients across the globe.
d) Used in gathering information such as keeping an eye on your kids or your pets.
e) Playing online games
f) Sign language communication for deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech impaired individuals.
g) Can also be used as a still camera to take photos
h) One-on-One Training
5) How much do webcams cost?
a) Depending on their features they range from about $20 to $150, most are fairly inexpensive and will meet the needs of the average user.
b) Fairly inexpensive and for the average user a good webcam ranges from about $20 to $60.
Here at Geek ABC we strive to provide you with the best information possible. Geek ABC offers on-site, in-home computer repair and services for Home and Business computer customers in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. We serve customers and clients in Virginia (VA), Maryland (MD) and Washington, DC in areas such as Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, McLean, Great Falls, Oakton, Springfield, Vienna, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Germantown, Rockville, Olney, Potomac, Chevy Chase and Washington