In the last installment in this series I examined the role of USB 2.0 as the primary means of connecting a webcam to a host computer, and the inherent limitations involved. But USB 2.0 is just so 20th-century…what about the newer, SuperSpeed USB 3.0? Doesn’t this lightning-fast (5 Gbps!) bus promise to allow real 1080p or even 4K webcams? Cheap-as-chips!
The answer to that question is a definite maybe (many thanks to Ray Davies.) However, as a practical matter, USB 3.0 webcams basically don’t exist. Even so, it’s worth having a look a the relatively brief existence of USB 3.0.
Webcams have come along way in the past decade. They’ve gone from a geek-inspiring novelty, producing puny pictures to, in some cases, inexpensive sources of real HD video. Moreover, as their capabilities have improved they have gained acceptance as serious business tools, taking on a significant role in unified communications suites from all the major UC vendors.
All of this implies that a better understanding of webcams can help us to more optimally leverage their capabilities. It can help us to discern the bad from the good, or even great products offered. This can improve how we use video in our daily lives.
So I have set about an exploration of webcams and their ilk, from past experience to present day, and across a variety of use-cases. As always, I approach this with the reckless abandon of an enthusiastic early-adapter.