How to choose the best webcam to use with Skype

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Choosing the best webcam for Skype is pretty much the same as getting the most webcam for your money in general. Skype recommends using their video call and video conferencing software, which will work with any webcam. Follow these steps to choose the best webcam to use with Skype.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Internet access
  • Skype account

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  1. 1

    Consider your budget. No program is going to deliver pristine video, so do not overspend. An excellent webcam can be found for as low as $50 and a merely functional one can be bought for less than $20.

  2. 2

    Look for good resolution. Most webcams will have either 320 x 240 or 640 x 480. Megapixels are for stills and have little effect on video.

  3. 3

    Understand frame rate. Thirty frames per second is typical and will deliver a good picture.

  4. 4

    Look for extra features. Pan, tilt and manual focus are features that will let you frame the best shot. These features are particularly useful when you do not have a lot of space at your computer desk or workstation.

  5. 5

    Get a glass lens. Glass is better than plastic in lenses.

  6. 6

    Make sure your computer can handle a webcam. Most webcams have minimum system requirements listed on the box, so know your computer's specifications and read the box before buying.

  7. 7

    Make sure that the cables are included with the webcam, and that your computer supports the camera's connections.

Tips and warnings

  • Skype recommends a machine with 1Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, a video card with at least 16MB of memory and a 512/256kbit Internet connection.
  • You cannot change the resolution on Skype video, but you can tweak the settings on your webcam drivers.
  • You may have to download DirectX drivers to use with Skype and a webcam.
  • Higher frame rates will require more bandwidth, so make sure your Internet connection can handle it.

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