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4 Ways to Use a Computer Webcam

A computer webcam is basically a webcam for a PC (personal computer). In this sense you probably would refer to a webcam for whatever you would use it for.

Maybe you may refer to it as a desktop webcam (specifically made for your desktop computer). Others would say laptop webcam (specifically made to fit laptops).

However, generally speaking when people say computer webcam, most of the time they mean a webcam for their desktop, PC, or laptop.

These days people sometimes include built-in cameras as webcams, particularly in reference to whatever videoconferencing application they are using, or App, such as Skype or Facetime.

On this page you'll find:

  1. How to choose a Webcam
  2. Ways to use a Webcam
  3. Computer Webcam Cover Information
  4. Computer Webcam Manufacturers

Computer Webcam

What is a WebCam?

A webcam acts as a video camera and is usually connected to your computer through either a USB (Universal Serial Bus) cord or Ethernet cord. But instead of actually being a video camera, it transfers live images between two people over a computer network.

This means you and your friend colleague or business partner can talk to each other through the webcam as if you were sitting in front of each other.

How to Choose a Computer Webcam

Knowing what a web camera is, is one thing. Knowing how to choose one is another. There are several criteria you have to keep in mind when looking at the connectivity to the pricing.

  1. Computer Connections

    When you buy a webcam you have to take into consideration what hardware you are buying it for. Some laptops and computers come with cameras installed in them already.

    For those that do not, you have to make sure that the webcam has an appropriate clip for the monitor that you are using. Most desktop monitors come tube shaped.

    Some have clips appropriate for laptops that simply connect to the top of the screen itself. You have to keep in mind what kind of port you have on your computer. There are USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports and Ethernet ports.

    If your desktop or laptop only has an Ethernet port you want to make sure that you buy a webcam with an Ethernet cord. There are some people that get so distracted by the latest features of a webcam that they forget to make sure that it is able to be connected to their computer.

  2. Frame Rate

    Frame rate may be very important when looking for a webcam. These rates range from 10 to 30. Do not just get a webcam just because you need one. Buying one specific to what you need may benefit you.

    For example, if you want a webcam just to see a person when you talk to them, a low frame rate such as 15 may be ok. The video may be choppy though.

    If you want to follow the action of the person you are communicating with in live time you would want a 30 frame per second camera.

Note: If you purchase a high resolution camera that produces up to 30 frames per second does not mean that it would produce that output. Factors such as your video conferencing system, connections, or lack of computer memory may make your camera appear to produce lower frame rates.

WebCam Uses

Since the invention of webcams in 1991 it has proved itself to be useful in a variety of areas including day to day activities. Webcams are useful in:

  • Pictures

    Computer Webcam: Web Chat

    Webcams can also be used to take pictures and short videos. Depending on the program that you use, you can store these pictures or short videos to be emailed at a later time.

  • Video Conferencing Web Chat

    Computer Webcam: Web Chat

    This is the most common use of the webcam with millions of users. Video conferencing is used for a variety of responsibilities such as meetings, interviews, trainings, and social calls.

  • Surveillance

    Computer Webcam: Surveillance

    Webcams are also used for surveillance. They are sometimes called wireless ip cameras. For surveillance purposes it would be wise to have wireless webcams. That way you can place them in needed areas without being restricted by wires or cords.

  • Childcare Facilities

    Computer Webcam: Childcare

    Webcams in daycare facilities provide increased security and monitoring of both children and staff. There are approximately over 1000 child care facilities who have implemented webcams in their facilities.

The computer webcam has impacted many lives as well as programs. It enables more effective online dating and telecommuting.

In addition, YouTube (the top 5 website in the world) wouldn't be where it is today without webcams.

Computer Webcam Covers

You may never take computer webcam covers into consideration. You may not even be aware of the purpose of one. If you are thinking that it is to keep your webcam clean when you're away . . . that's not the answer. It is needed to stop prying eyes from spying on you or your belongings when you're away.

There are many webcam hackers that spend the bulk of their time spying on you in their spare time without your knowledge. These are mainly pedophiles and child stalkers who like to spy on children in their room. There are two popular stories in circulation addressing this issue:

  • In Philadelphia a Merion school district was accused of computer webcam spying on their students using laptops that they issued to their students

  • In 2010 Dharun Ravi,a Rutgers University student, spied on his gay roommate by the name of Tyler Clementi and encouraged others to watch. Tyler Clementi committed suicide later because of Dharun's actions.

If you rent or borrow a computer you have to be aware that this happen just as easily.

You don't have to go out and buy an official webcam cover. You can get something as simple as a piece of paper or duct tape and place it over the webcam to prevent people from being able to stare into your residence.

Other ways to prevent spying without having a webcam cover is to:

  • disable your webcam through the control panel
  • disconnect your webcam totally
  • invest in an access detection camera like an i-sight camera which activates with visible light whenever the camera is activated.

When there is Spyware, Trojan Horse and Malware protection available, it may be wise to consider it for your safety and protection.

Computer Webcam Manufacturers

These days you aren't able to find a laptop or computer for sale that doesn't have a webcam installed. Since they are coming standard for most personal computers there has been an increase in companies that manufacture webcams for computers.

Here are 21 well-known computer webcam manufacturers :

  • Phillips
  • Intel
  • Kinwei Technology
  • UPO Technical Products
  • Shoppy Import and Export
  • Goldsun008 Industrial
  • Welldy Technology Co.
  • Star Technology
  • Telewell Electric
  • Relleek Electronics
  • Creative Technology
  • Logitech
  • Micro Innovations
  • Silicon-Power
  • Behavior Tech Computer
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • Zonet Technologies
  • Labtec
  • Shenzen
  • Richforth Electronics

As long as computers exist, there will be demand for a webcams.