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A guide to purchasing a web cam

laptopwithwebcamera45381702.jpgIt seems like almost everyone has a web cam these days. Web cams are great for many people because you can send images to a web site that can be viewed by friends, relatives, and business associates. Several companies use web cams to talk to their customers. Oprah is a big supporter of the web cam and often uses the web site, Skype, to speak with her audience. Before you run out and buy a web cam so you can talk to Oprah, you need to know a little bit about this technology and what makes one web cam better from the other one.

A web cam has a small camera that captures the images and broadcasts them to another web site where other viewers can see them. The images you see are considered "live" although they do tend to have a short delay. Typically web cams work with 2 different types of broadcast signals, streaming images or Java. Streaming images work similar to using a video camera and Java will take little pictures and send them, causing the delay.

When you are trying to find the right type of web cam to use, consider what the web cam is going to be used for. Do you want this to interact with your business associates or customers? Are you going to use it to upload videos to YouTube and other sites? Do you plan on videoconferencing with your family members that live away from you?

Almost every web cam requires that you install some video capturing hardware. The hardware will interact with the camera and allow you to actually record and upload videos to the internet or connect to other users.

Since there are so many web cams out there, you don't need to worry about finding the "name brand" camera. Almost every web cam you get will do the same thing and upload close to the same quality. If you want high quality videos, just use a nice camcorder to upload them to the internet. If you want to videoconference with others, get a dedicated web cam. Some computers and laptops come installed with them, while most others will attach to the computer with a USB device.

One of the most important aspects of owning a web cam is to check your internet connection. If your computer is prone to freezing or you have a slower internet connection, it will be difficult for your web cam to portray clear images and videos to your viewers. If you want your videos to be fast, you need to have a fast bandwidth. Broadband services are the best solution. Most web cams will work with wireless devices like cell phones and PDAs. They can even connect to the internet with them and you can host a videoconference from practically anywhere. Always check the web cam to make sure it compatible with wireless LAN devices.

The cheaper web cams usually have lower frames-per-second. The frames-per-second refers to the number of pictures that are taken and then broadcast through the video, giving your viewers the feeling of moving pictures. To get a better video, look for cameras that have more frames per second. Be aware that this normally means you will pay more and you will need to upgrade your internet service and install more memory on your computer as it requires more memory to process the images.

It is important to pick a good videoconferencing software program like Skype if you want to talk to your viewers. Some of the software programs delay your videos, causing the viewer to look at a slideshow versus a "live" video.

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