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The Wireless Webcam is Dead, Or is It?

The Wireless Webcam is Dead, Or is It?

The Wireless Webcam 

Wireless webcam is a term which is not so popular in the tech industry. Everyone is used to wired USB cameras for video chats and since every new laptop has a built-in webcam, only professionals purchase webcams for video conferencing. Professionals most often use specialized video conferencing cameras with IP streaming or UVC or HDMI streaming. 

Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam

Wireless webcams were introduced in 2012 but due to negative reviews they didn't see the light of day. Logitech the renowned manufacturer of webcams launched Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi webcam developed for Mac devices. The webcam was specifically designed for broadcasters who use cameras for live streaming on platforms such as UStream. It offers many features including: 

  • One-touch live broadcasting on UStream
  • Dual-camera recording using both Mac's built-in webcam and Logitech camera
  • Multi-view webcam calls
  • Wireless range up to 50 feet
  • Supports all major apps such as Skype, FaceTime and iChat
  • 720p video recording
  • H.264 encoding
  • Logitech Fluid Crystal technology

The major factor fueling its downfall was not being compatible with Windows PCs. The majority of people use Windows PCs and if your webcam does not support them then you are unable to take advantage of a major chunk of the industry. Since it was first of its kind, it needed some major improvements in terms of video quality and wireless setup.

A smartphone camera produced better video quality compared to Logitech's Broadcaster Wi-Fi webcam. This was highly disappointing for the user because Logitech is known for making excellent webcams and it did not produce the quality they expected. A tripod and a smartphone app can help users stream live videos on any platform so this webcam needed to be superior in order to be successful.

Transmitting video wirelessly is no easy task and requires expensive wireless equipment to operate. Most cameras with built-in wireless transmitter are not great performers because the video stutters or lags due to interference in the wireless network. At that time only 2.4 GHz wireless networks were available which had a slow data speed and major connection issues due to interference in the network. Yet another reason why wireless webcams failed to impress potential users. Given the price point of wireless webcams and non-availability of wireless technology they failed to capture the attention of the industry.


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InfoComm 2015 - New USB Cameras

InfoComm 2015 - New USB Cameras

InfoComm said that "97% of all attendees main goal is looking for new products". HuddleCamHD came to InfoComm with 4 new USB Pan Tilt Zoom cameras and the worlds first ever Wireless USB conference camera. In the video below Paul Richards, Business Development and Matthew Davis, Lead Engineer, take you through the "Huddle Tree" of USB PTZ cameras. 

After seeing the Innovation Stage presentations of the HuddleCam Air there was certainly a lot of excitement in the air. Wireless video conferencing opens up a lot of possibilities for anyone who needs the flexibility to go wireless with the cloud based online meetings using a USB 3.0 video connection to your computer. 

"97% of all attendees main goal is looking for new products"

InfoComm 2015
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Logitech vs HuddleCamHD

Logitech vs HuddleCamHD

Logitech ConferenceCams vs HuddleCamHD

HuddleCamHD designs professional video conferencing cameras with complete solutions and integration friendly options for the Professional AV market. Logitech designs compact cameras for small group chats with Bluetooth and NFC pairing options. Both companies manufacture cameras that are capable of delivering 1080p Full HD video at 30 FPS. Logitech gains an advantage because it also offers a speaker and a microphone for communication along with a control hub while HuddleCam only produces cameras not the control unit. HuddleCam HD cameras do include a remote control for pan, tilt and zoom but no speakers or microphone are available on-board.

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USB Cameras with RS-232 Control

USB Cameras with RS-232 Control

 

We will name off a few USB PTZ cameras that include RS-232/RS-485 control and include them in this article. Breaking through this barrier of USB PTZ Cameras and Serial Control will lead to a higher adoption of web conferencing with traditional audio visual integration companies who rely on control systems to provide full proof "we can do anything" solutions. Large Audio Visual integration firms such as Whitlock, AVI/SPL and Carousel Industries are going to want to keep their highly skilled crestron and AMX programmers designing systems while at the same time remaining relevant in the world of "web video conferencing". To do this they need products that support USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 while at the same time support RS-232/RS-485 serial control they use. 

Here I will list a few USB Pan Tilt Zoom cameras that have both USB and RS-232.

  • HuddleCamHD 3X
  • HuddleCamHD 10X
  • HuddleCamHD 12X
  • HuddleCamHD 20X
  • HuddleCamHD 30X
  • PTZOptics 12X-USB
  • PTZOptics 20X-USB
  • Vaddio RoboShot 12X
  • Vaddio ClearVIEW

Until the HuddleCamHD camera line came out the Vaddio ClearVIEW was one of the only cameras with this capability. That was a tough sell at times especially for smaller applications because the price tag is $4,000! Now we have options from HuddleCamHD and PTZOptics. In Fact, PTZOptics has a nice little comparison between the Vaddio RoboShot and the PTZOptics camera line I will show below.

PTZOptics RS-232 and USB camera line vs Vaddio ClearVIEW and RoboShot

Serial control can also come in handy for production studios. As live broadcasting and now "Web Casting" become more and more popular the demand for high quality USB pan tilt zoom cameras increase. Many of these production studios are accustom to using PTZ joystick controls that operate with RS-232. So being in the industry I have seen the eyes pop when the customer sees a product with both USB and RS-232 and the combination has been something of a success as of late. 

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