Philips Consumer Electronics
Web cameras are small video cameras that are used for video conferencing over the Internet, sending small video greetings or even for creating live web broadcasts of whatever you choose to point the camera at.
As this camera is a USB device, installation is a breeze. Although the camera is supplied with little rubber feet for it to sit on, which are sufficient, there is also a screw hole so that the camera can be mounted on a tripod.
The camera is able to capture images at resolutions up to 640 x 480 pixels, although lower resolution images can also be captured. Frame rates can reach 15 frames per minute, which is normal for this type of camera, although the video may seem jerky to new web camera users.
The included SmithMicro VideoLink Mail software will allow you to create self running video clips, which can be sent out to friends and family via email. VideoLink Mail integrates itself with Microsoft Outlook so that sending video clips just requires a couple of clicks on the mouse. For compatibility, clips can be exported in a PC or Macintosh format. But beware, large smooth video clips may look nice but take longer to send or download. You may prefer to compromise the quality of the video and capture video at lower resolutions and slower frame rates for the sake of smaller file sizes.
You can also use the camera to take snapshots. To help you to produce and manipulate still images, Philips have provided Ulead's PhotoExpress 2 SE. The software is very easy to use and a novice user will be able to produce images in no time at all. Pictures can be edited and manipulated in many different ways. As the resolution of the camera is quite low, the still shots taken will not equal the quality of the latest digital cameras, but they're quite sufficient for using on web pages or sending to friends. Snapshots can be created at a resolution of 640 x 480 or enhanced in software to a resolution of 800 x 600.
Video clips, taken at rates up to 15 frames per second, can be converted into the standard Windows video format, AVI. As this is the base standard, all video editing software should be able to read these files, although no editing software is included.
Microsoft's NetMeeting is also in the box. This lets you talk to other people in other countries via the Internet or an office network. Of course this works best when each user at either end has a web camera. Unfortunately the quality of the moving picture will depend on the speed of the Internet connection.