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You are in: Section - Webcameras FAQ

So what's a Webcam?

A Webcam allows you to send live (or live-ish) images to a page on a web site. If the Web page is generally available then the image the Webcam places on your Web page can be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection!

Your Webcam will in most cases also allow you to video conference / chat - using software like Netmeeting or CuSeeMe. If you connect to someone using the same program than you will be able to see and chat to them over the Internet. You will find that Microsoft Netmeeting is pre loaded on most new PC's these days.

OK, but what use is it?

A frequently updated Webcam image could be an ideal addition to a business web site. It could also be a useful enhancement to your personal pages:-

As more and more businesses move into online purchasing if you can offer your customer or client a sense of security when dealing with you then you have an edge. With a Webcam in your office they can get a feel for how your office is run or even a view of what your business looks like. It gives them the sense of being there and conducting business in person.

Other possibilities could include overseeing remote business operations without leaving the office or letting your customers see your call center in action.

At night or during the weekend you could monitor the security of your office premises from home.

On a more personal level if your at work all day you could keep an eye on your kids at the local nursery.

Do you commute? Then why not check out the rush hour traffic before you start your journey. The are an ever increasing number of traffic cams hooked up to the internet.

It's said the British are obsessed with the weather, why not set up a webcam to show the weather at your location. You could even display an ever changing view of the local hills or the people on the street from the window of your office or home.

The possibilities are endless, check out some of the webcams in our directory for ideas.

Sounds interesting, how does a Webcam work and what do I need to set one up?

There are both Hardware and Software elements to running a Webcam enabled site.

The Hardware consists of a Webcam to generate the image, in some cases a video capture board to process the image, and a PC.

With the introduction of cheap USB Webcams the need for a separate video capture card in addition to a camera has been greatly reduced. However capture cards are still useful if you want to use the video generated by something more sophisticated like a Camcorder or even a VCR on your website. Check out our Webcam Hardware Page.

(NB If you have something like a Happauge TV card in your PC then you will probably find it has a "video in" socket that will take a video signal from an external source like a camcorder or VCR and allow you to capture it).

You will need some software that will trigger the collection of an image from the camera at specific times, this may range from just once a day to every few seconds, (often referred to as streaming video). The software will then transfer the captured image to an area on your website where the image will be available for use on your web pages. Check out our Webcam Software Page.

It sounds complicated but it really isn't. If you buy one of the latest Webcams you usually get not only the camera itself but also all the software you will need to regularly update an image on your web page.

Streaming video can be a bit more complicated but there are now plenty of software packages that will do most of the hard work for you. Check out the software from INETCAM which we think is amongst the best and easiest to use for streaming video.

Do I need a dedicated connection to the Internet?

No you can use a dial up connection. If you want to update your image say once every few minutes then you don't have a problem with this method. A "live" refresh rate, i.e. under a minute, maybe for streaming video, is now possible if you have an "always on" Cable or ADSL connection. Remember though that live video feeds will consume lots and lots of bandwidth!

Can I register my Webcam on the UK Webcameras directory?

We would positively encourage you to add your Webcam to our directory! Click here to add a Webcam.
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