Using a webcam, a computer user can communicate with friends or family members in a video conference to strengthen long-distance relationships. Webcams are also used in the education and retail industries to stream live video of products or services to customers via the Internet.
A webcam can be either a built-in camera on a laptop or desktop screen, or an external device with a USB connection. Most webcams use CMOS image sensors, with supporting electronics typically integrated “on die” to save on space and manufacturing costs. The sensor is read out digitally over USB to a host computer by the camera controller and processed to produce an image, such as a JPEG file.
Webcams can be configured to operate at varying resolutions, depending on the needs of the user. Generally, 720p or 1080p resolution is sufficient for videoconferencing and home office use. Higher resolutions, such as 4K, are often overkill for these applications but can be useful in video editing and green-screening.
Some people create public web cams to record their daily activities and make them available on a website. These sites can be interesting and informative, or they can contain adult content.
Some people also create live webcams to provide a view of tourist attractions, such as museums and zoos. Others set up cams to monitor wildlife, such as penguins in Antarctica and bald eagles in Washington, D.C. There are even webcams at Loch Ness to watch for the legendary plesiosaur. online webcams