It seems that others have now encountered the change in how Windows 10 handles webcams after the Anniversary update. Many applications simply never try to go beyond 720p30, so it wasn’t clear to me how many people would be impacted by this change.
How ironic that in the two weeks since there’s been a flood of complaints about the Anniversary Update breaking webcam access in Skype. It hadn’t occurred to me that Skype, a Microsoft product(!), would also be impacted.
Yes, I want a new webcam! The idiocy of that statement doesn’t become apparent unless you’re familiar with my home office, which is littered with various webcams. They have become something of an obsession. Yet, none of them does quite what I’d like.
My reference for a simple USB attached webcam is the venerable Logitech HD Pro C920. One sits, a near permanent fixture, atop my left-side monitor. It’s a solid product. It’s affordable. Makes great video under various lighting conditions. It can deliver MJPEG or H.264 encoded streams, which makes it capable of 1080p when used with suitable software.
“The code, the code, my kingdom for the code!” – Richard III
My apologies to Will Shakespeare but I find myself thinking this way about Logitech’s BCC950 Conference Cam. You may remember it from when it was featured in a VUC session back in November of 2012. At that time the BCC950 was newly released but I managed to buy one to have some experience with it for the occasion of their appearance.
Since then it’s been a fixture on my desk. in fact, I find a lot to like about the BCC950. It’s long stem puts the camera at a nice height so that it’s gaze is not looking up or down at me. In that regard it’s actually better than the Logitech C920 webcam sitting on top of my monitor, although both create fine quality video streams for UC or vodcasting applications.
What it lacked was any kind of integration of its pan, tilt, zoom control with application code for any common soft client. I’m told that one of the enterprise video conference clients (Vidyo?) has included far-end camera control that was aware of the BCC950.
Prognosticator extraordinaire Dave Michels recently post some observations of things he saw at InfoComm. In so doing I think that he may have coined a new buzz-phrase, “DIY Room Systems.” I must admit that I am smitten with the concept.
For those not versed in enterprise video conference jargon a “room system” is a video conference end-point of the sort that might be found in a meeting room. That covers a broad swath of territory, basically everything between desktop video conference clients and telepresence suites.
For quite some time I’ve been looking for a way to leverage things like Skype video calling, Google Hangouts or Citrix GotoMeeting with HD Faces. However, I don’t want to use a webcam as the video source. I want to use a real, high-quality video source….preferably an HD-SDI video source.
Clearly I’ve got my own reasons for this sort of requirement. I work with equipment that outputs production grade video. By “production grade” I mean entirely uncompressed video. That’s 270 Mbps for SD and 1.459 Gbps for HD. It’s very clean video.
There are times when I need to be able to stream this kind of video to a remote site. Of course it’s not practical to send the uncompressed stream wholly unaltered. Well, it could be done, but for a hefty price.
Since the far end is typically an ad hoc location what I really need is a way to use an uncompressed HD-SDI source, but deliver a decent quality, sensibly compressed stream to something handy at the far end. It would be most ideal if it didn’t require an installed app to receive the stream. Finally, it should handle firewalls and NAT without flinching.