Webcam Consumer Guide
Web cameras have grown into an important part of many people's technological lives. A webcam lets you stay in touch with faraway friends or allows you to watch over a room while you are away. If you are not yet on board with trends in video yet, this webcam consumer guide can bring you up to date.
Basic webcam applications
Webcams can either transmit video or capture still images, although you should not expect perfect quality with either of these applications. If your webcam has a microphone and audio capabilities, you can video chat by using software like Yahoo! Instant Messenger, Skype or Microsoft NetMeeting.
Many web cameras are very easy to install. Most devices plug into your parallel, USB or FireWire port, and some models are even wireless. After you attach the webcam to your computer in the appropriate way, just install the drivers and related software that came with it. You may want to update the drivers for the best performance results.
The price range for webcams is large, beginning from as low as $30 up to $200. Higher-end cameras provide better image quality and extra features. If your computer is older, you may not benefit from a high definition camera; make sure to read the label before buying! Consider your display type as well. A webcam that fits well over an LCD screen or a laptop may not work as well with a CRT, and vice versa.
Two things affect the quality of a webcam image: frame rate and resolution. 15 or 30 frames per second (FPS) is common for webcams, with 30 delivering a better image. Resolution is measured in pixel count, with common webcam resolutions being 320x240 and 640x480. Again, the higher the better. You should also consider whether color images are important to you; there is no point paying for color webcams if you really need only black and white.
Webcams are a great asset to most computer systems. With today's applications like Skype and video instant messaging, choosing the right camera is important. Refer to this shopping guide to find your ideal device.