Can You See Me now? Microsoft Suffering New Windows 10 Webcam Strategy

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.

After my initial post about this on 8/4 I dropped news of the trouble in the related support forums for OBS, vMix, and Wirecast. My thought was that people involved in the production of streaming media could possibly be impacted.

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.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update Breaks USB Camera Functionality

This afternoon I installed the Windows 10 anniversary update to my Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop. Since it’s not my primary machine, I always update the laptop first. Also, it’s 256 GB SSD is easily imaged to a portable hard drive, giving me a way back if required.

After the update was completed I went about assessing it’s behavior. I was particularly concerned by a report I had found in the Open Broadcaster support forum indicating that people were having trouble with webcam performance post-update. I’ve just now confirmed the problem that they reported.

Post update Windows 10 does not allow any USB-attached webcams to be configured for the delivery of MJPEG or H264 encoded video streams. While initially reported by someone using the Logitech C930e webcam, this also applies to the more common Logitech C920.

Wanting to explore the scope of the issue further, I tried the AVer Information VC520. This is an all-in-one USB-attached conference room solution comprised of a PTZ camera and conference phone, not unlike the Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e.

While the device is MJPEG and H264 capable, the updated Windows 10 system only offers uncompressed YUY2 encoding.

I confirmed this behavior in OBS Studio, vMix and SparkoCam. In all cases this limits the cameras to 720p30, where they should be capable of 1080p30.

This problem very likely applies to all USB-attached webcams. It seems that Microsoft has broken something their UVC driver or the related stack.