With the right software and the right web cam you can turn your Home Theater PC into the perfect video conferencing tool. Or just make cool, convenient video calls using Skype or AOL Video Messenger.
Either way, the right web cam will make your HTPC the envy of every friend you have. You don’t need to gather your family around the desktop computer to make a video call with a web cam enabled HTPC.
A good quality web cam is an essential piece of equipment for your HTPC. It will make your video calls more fluid, providing a better image and more fluid conversation between you and the person you are talking to.
Improved capability is well worth the extra cost
The better quality the web cam the more expensive, of course, but the improved capability is well worth the extra cost. If you are interested in making your HTPC more video cam friendly you not only need a good camera, you need a decent microphone, too.
A bluetooth enabled microphone and headset are a great combination with your new web cam. When it comes to excellent web cam hardware Logitech has been an industry leader for the past few years.
The Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac users is a top of the line web cam designed with quality in mind. The QuickCam boasts an autofocus feature, has a hardware based operating system, 2-megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss lens.
Logitech cameras have consistently scored high with users. Their latest model overcomes some compatibility issues their cameras have had with the Mac operating system, making them a better hardware match for HTPC users with a Mac O/S.
Which one delivers the best video quality?
If you are looking at capturing the very best video you can, and have a PC based HTPC system, you might want to look into a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 with 1080p Video. The Webcam C910 is Logitech’s top of the line video camera.
It captures high definition video, features a 5-megapixel lens and special light enhancing technology for low light situations. Users say the Logitech software package is what makes all their video cameras vastly superior to their competitors.
Lower price option
Microsoft offers the Lifecam VX-5000 video camera with comparable hardware at a lower price, but reviewers say their operating software is hardly in the same league as what you get with the Logitech Webcam C910.
Camcorder as a web cam?
HTPC users might also want to consider adapting a camcorder for use as a web cam. Camcorders offer better image quality, zoom and autofocus, plus have a better low-light sensitivity than almost every web cam on the market today.
Most MiniDV camcorders have a resolution of 30 frames per second, about twice the resolution of most web cams.
If your old camcorder has a USB or FireWire connection that is all you need. It offers superior image capture quality and more functionality than a web cam with no need to find compatible software to make it work.
Not everyone has an unused camcorder laying around, however. If you do, or if you can find one at a local garage sale or online, you are all set.
If not, there are some very effective web cams available for a reasonable price that will make your video chat better and your HTPC even cooler.