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Chapter 22. Webcams > Webcam Basics

Webcam Basics

You'll need a few things to set up a webcam: a computer, an Internet connection, a webcam, webcam software, and a Web server. Fortunately, webcam technology does not discriminate between PC users and Mac users—the required hardware and software are available for both operating systems. However, there are a few differences. Table 22.1 overviews the hardware, and Table 22.2 overviews the software.

Webcams

When selecting a webcam, pay attention to cost, quality, and ease of installation. You should expect to pay between $49 and $150 for a webcam, but the simplest webcams have dropped to below $100. However, as you would expect, higher-quality cameras cost more. Depending on how much use you'll get out of the camera, you should buy the highest-quality camera within your budget. The cheapest cameras will provide a poor to good quality image but won't be very versatile in image size, color, contrast, and editing features. Midpriced webcams have more features to adjust images and editing. They may still have a grainy image quality and may not allow much flexibility on how you structure your page. The higher-priced webcams have the best packages. They offer editing, adjustment, and flexibility. Another decision is between a webcam and a digital video camera. The difference is portability. A webcam is stationary. It will sit next to your computer with a six-foot cable, but a digital video camera can be taken with you to film events and the tape duped onto your computer when you return.


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