Logitech’s Brio 4k Webcam Pro

There’s a new webcam in the house…errr…home office! Yes, I have received a sample of Logitech’s latest, the Brio 4K Webcam Pro.

Even before the sample arrived I had a great conversation about the Brio with Dave Michels. Dave captured that discussion for publication on his blog.

I’ve put the Brio through a few simple experiments and learned a few things. At least superficially, it does what it says. Connected via USB 3.0 it delivers a 2160p30 (aka 4k) stream using MJPEG encoding to vMix and OBS.

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Coming Soon: A Pair of New USB 3.0 Webcams

You might recall my ongoing lament about the lack of innovation in what we now laughably call webcams. If not, here’s a brief refresher…the current state of the art in consumer webcams (IMHO, the Logitech C920 & 930e, released in 2012 & 2013 respectively) are getting quite vintage. Where are the newer models that address current technological front lines, like USB 3.0, 4K resolution, VP9, HEVC, etc?

Well, there appears to be some movement in this area. Although, while interesting, it’s probably not what you expect. Continue reading “Coming Soon: A Pair of New USB 3.0 Webcams”

Conference Room Systems Preach Looking Good on Video

CRS web site on hdx4500My long and continuing exploration of the evolution of webcams has reliably turned up a small set of companies that are doing interesting things. Conference Room Systems is one such company. An AV reseller in Pennsylvania they seemed to recognize that A/V tech was evolving beyond its traditional boundaries. It was moving into live streaming, in applications from corporate to churches, schools and community groups.

However, a sales organization is just that. They exist to sell things. Having spent many years in such an organization it’s familiar territory for me. Sometimes they are genuinely knowledgeable, occasionally less so.

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Webcams in 2016: Where are the USB 3.0 models?

roboshot-12-usb-front-300pxIt may seem like my long, winding exploration of webcams has stalled, but I assure you that’s not the case. I’m moving as fast as the industry will permit. The fact is that the industry just isn’t moving very quickly.

Back in October 2013 I first penned something about my hunt for a USB 3.0 webcam. At that point there were basically none to be had. A few months later when Vaddio presented their Huddlestation product on VUC472 they mentioned that USB 3.0 capable chip sets for such devices were anticipates later in 2014.

Well, it’s now well into 2016 and where are the USB 3.0 webcams? I actually get asked this question quite a bit, most recently in a tweet from George Ou of ZDNet.

While I responded to Mr. Ou, the question comes up often enough that I’d best address it here in the open.

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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.

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ClearOne Launches UNITE PTZ Camera with USB 3.0 & DVI Connectivity

ClearOne-UNITE-100-PTZ-Camera-300pxA year ago I was looking around for signs of webcams that leveraged the faster USB 3.0 connection to a host computer. They seemed to be strange and rare items at the time. We had Vaddio appear on VUC472 to present their Huddlestation product. They hinted at a coming wave of USB 3.0 cameras, expecting to see them in the summer of 2014.

It wasn’t until Q4 that I found a USB 3.0 capable webcam-ish thing trumpeted as available. In a press release issued December 9, 2014 ClearOne announced that its new Unite 100 PTZ camera was shipping.

I say webcam-ish as the UNITE 100 isn’t directly comparable to a common webcam, like my tiny-but-trusty Logitech C920. With a 12x optical zoom lens and PTZ mount, it’s something more akin to the CC3000e. In fact, it’s probably better.

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