What is a Webcam?
A webcam, or web camera, is the loosely used term for any camera that generates images that can be accessed by and displayed on the world wide web through a server. A webcam is essentially just a camera that is connected to a computer, either directly or wirelessly, and gathers a series of images for remote display elsewhere. Webcam technology is widely used by all sorts of people for all sorts of different reasons.
In 1991, the first webcam was up and running at Cambridge University's Computer Science Department, but since then, webcams have crept into homes, businesses, public streets and buildings. Webcams are often used for personal use in the home by parents who want to give distant relatives visual access to their children or want to monitor what goes on in the home while they are at work. People might also use webcams in the home to keep an eye on things while they are out of town or even just to see what their pets do all day. The uses of a webcam are limitless. Businesses often use webcams for video conferencing, and webcam technology is used by numerous other entities to give the public access to a variety of information, from weather and traffic to the feeding habits of the most recently acquired zoo animal. Some schools and day care facilities use a webcam to allow parents to see what their children do at school.
The webcam basically works by capturing a series of digital images that are transferred by the computer to a server and then displayed to the hosting page. There are even sites that allow users to upload and store their webcam images for free, which many individuals choose for personal use. Webcams vary in their capabilities and features, and the variances are reflected in price. Some webcams capture a still image only once every 30 seconds, while others provide streaming video by capturing 30 images per second. A webcam can be purchased at any computer store and most major electronics retailers, as well as online. A knowledgeable sales associate should be able to help any consumer choose the right webcam.
I love it when shops, restaurants and other businesses will set up a webcam somewhere that you can tune into at any time of the day. It is especially interesting when the webcams are placed someplace exotic.
What an amazing opportunity to have, to be able to peek into thousands of places around the world instantly. The tyranny of distance is over.
I have seen people that seem to be talking into laptop webcams and they get really great picture. Are they actually talking into cams on a tripod, or can you actually get good video with a webcam?
This could also be a good idea if one of your pets is sick and you have to go to work. You could use a webcam to check up on your pet and make sure they're OK.
@SunnySkys - Another way you can quickly figure out if your laptop has a webcam is to download some video chatting software like Skype, or just try out the video chat that comes with many email services. If you have a webcam on your computer, the program should recognize it and offer it as an option on the menu for you to use.
If you want to figure out if your lap top computer has a webcam built in, just look at the top part of your computer, right above the screen. You should see something that looks like a camera. Then check in your accessories or programs folder, and you should see a program to take pictures or videos with your webcam.
thank you very much. I understand now what a webcam is.
Can I use webcam to record and store videos on a hard disk or only transmit through internet?
get us some more brief details about web cameras, like how they actually look and like how to connect a web cam to computer. how is the information transmitted through a wireless web camera?
Thank you for helping me understand what a webcam is.
thank you, very well written and easy to understand by someone not very computer knowledgeable.
Very direct, informative, and clear .... thank you! Now I don't feel like a fool when asked "do you have a webcam!"
Post your comments