Webcams 8: Vaddio RoboSHOT 12 – A USB 3.0 Webcam

roboshot-12-usb-front-300pxVaddio has today announced that their RoboSHOT 12 camera is now shipping. This device is notable for supporting both streaming H.264 over IP and delivering uncompressed 1080p60 over a USB 3.0 interface. It also has an HDMI output. All three output methods are simultaneously live.

The various specifications of the RobotShot 12 are all top-of-the line. The camera is aimed at enterprise installations. It will surely find it’s way into video conference suites, surveillance/monitoring, and even tele-production.

It was a couple of years ago that I set out to find a USB 3.0 webcam. At the time there basically none to be found, so little reason to consider their merits. Now that there are a few such cameras on the market, you may be asking, “what does it get me, exactly?” Good question.

Remember that to deliver 1080p video* any USB 2.0 attached webcam must compress the video using either MJPEG or H.264. Only by compressing the stream in-camera can it deliver the that resolution over the 480 Mbps USB 2.0 connection. Once the video is delivered cross the USB link, in many cases it must be decompressed to allow further manipulation before final delivery to it’s ultimate destination.

If you are using video production software such as Wirecast or vMix, you may find it convenient to be able to accept a 1080p uncompressed video stream, without resorting to the use of an HDMI capture card. In theory that eases the burden of the host by eliminating the need to decode the compressed stream before mixing, which also improves the quality of final delivered stream.

In reality, the use of the USB 3.0 interface is a convenience. It allows the camera to be used with existing programs that were written to access a humble webcam.

Vaddio has a range of USB connected offerings aimed at making unified communication & collaboration (UCC) easier.

*My definition of “video” implies a frame rate of 24 f/s or greater.