An online webcam is a camera that broadcasts video on the Internet, usually in the form of a live stream. Webcams can be standalone devices that connect to a computer or monitor or integrated cameras on laptop and desktop computers. Most modern web browsers support streaming of a webcam’s image. Webcams can be used for videoconferencing, online education, social media, and security.
A typical webcam has a built-in lens and a light source to produce an image. Some have autofocus and noise reduction capabilities that help deliver high-quality video and images. The lens and the supporting electronics can be separate components or integrated “on die” for lower cost and simpler assembly. The image sensor is a CMOS chip with supporting circuitry that converts the analog signal into digital data for transmission to a computer.
The most popular use of a webcam is to provide online video communication between family members or friends living in different locations. This also allows remote employees to join company meetings from home or while traveling abroad for business.
Several webcams are set up to broadcast a variety of natural and man-made wonders from around the globe. Some of these are free to watch, while others require a subscription fee to access the full feature set.
Streaming webcams are also commonly used in the educational realm to allow distance learners to experience teachers’ body language and other nonverbal communication cues that increase connection and understanding of course materials. Educators may also use the camera to display whiteboards or other material on the screen for dynamic lessons in real time. online webcams