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Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-Webcam E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: WebCam | Camera
Written by Hank Tolman   
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-Webcam
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: LifeCam Cinema
Microsoft H5D-00001 Detailed Features
Microsoft LifeCam Software
Webcam Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Microsoft LifeCam Software

The Microsoft LifeCam Software installs much like any other program, with a little bit of a catch. Microsoft throws a little present in there in the form of a Windows Live Essentials download. So if you don't already have Windows Live Essentials, which includes Windows Live Call, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Windows Live Writer. Even if you already have the non-Live versions of these programs installed (which is likely if you are running Windows Vista or 7), you will get the Live versions from this install. This isn't really a big deal if you already use Messenger or Windows Live in any sort of a capacity. And if you don't, then you can skip the download and installation. Just make sure you are quick, as it can sneak up on you in a hurry and you will have all these extra programs before you know it!

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_Install1.jpg

During the installation of the LifeCam Software, Microsoft makes sure to give you some tips for using the LifeCam for various functions. I didn't pay much attention to them during the install, but now I wish I would have. Those first two avoids on the list below are key to maintaining good audio and video quality, whether it be for recorded video or a video call. The LifeCam Cinema is excellent at picking up small sources of light and adjusting accordingly, but if your light is behind you it will drown out picture somewhat. Especially if the light is a lamp or other type of light with a small bulb that doesn't illuminate the entire room. Room lighting is easily adjusted for.

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_Install2.jpg

Also, while the microphone on the LifeCam Cinema is very good, and even adjust for noise cancellation, that noise cancellation can be troublesome. If you have any semi-loud background noises, such as a loud PSU or system fan, the microphone will pick up on that noise and try to cancel it. It actually does a great job at canceling the noise, but for some reason, it replaces it will a high pitched squeal. The squeal isn't overly loud or obnoxious, but it is annoying. It exponentially less distinguishable when you ensure that you have no background noise. Also, when using the webcam in Linux, the squeal isn't there. This is probably because the drivers are generic webcam drivers and they don't utilize the noise cancellation feature. You can't get to 720p in Linux either, unless you have a program you can force to go that high.

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_Install_C.jpg

In the instruction manual, and during the install, Microsoft asks that you don't plug the LifeCam Cinema into your computer before installing the drivers. It will cue you at some point during the installation, and you won't be able to continue until you plug in the device. I did try, however, just plugging the device in, before installing the software on my HTPC. It is running Windows 7 Home Premium. The LifeCam Cinema installed perfectly as a plug and play device and I automatically recieved an option to download the latest Microsoft LifeCam Software and Windows Live Essentials. I declined, then removed the hardware completely and reinstalled it the way the manual suggests.

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_Software.jpg

Pictured above is the Microsoft LifeCam Software. It provides you with the ability to take still photographs, record audio, and record video. The settings tab allows you to choose a webcam, even though I believe it will only allow you to select a LifeCam product. With the Philips SPC710NC also installed I was unable to choose it from the drop down menu, even though other programs did let me select it. Here you can also select the microphone volume and pick a resolution. There are a wide range of resolution options for the LifeCam Cinema, they are 160x120, 320x240, 424x240, 640x360, 800x448, 960x544, and 1280x720 HD. The settings tab also lets you adjust brightness, gamma, and color levels, as well as set the frequency to that of your monitor to reduce flicker.

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_Software2.jpg

By clicking the stars, the settings page is replaced with an effects page. Both of these pages can be closed by clicking the arrow next to the capture image. The effects aren't anything extraordinary, but they were a lot of fun to play around with. My daughter found them to be quite hilarious when she herself on the TV with silly hair, a cat face, or wearing a cowboy hat. There are a lot of distortions and add-ons, which really take advantage of the LifeCam Cinema's impressive ability to find and pick out a face. Even with multiple faces in the picture, unless I was turned sideways, the LifeCam Cinema was nearly always able to pick out my face. This is a plus for the autofocus feature as well as the effects.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-WebcamDon Cox 2010-02-27 16:53
My dad has just installed a microsoft lifcam that I sent to him.
I have a logitech system and we can't figure out how to get him to accept my invitaion. The logitech logo invite show up on his screen but he has not indicator to accept. What should we do?
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# FixJames 2012-01-15 12:14
i dont kniw :) bt you need to suck it up and fix it urself u can do it just reed and research
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# RE: FixLes 2012-01-27 10:44
Rude comment and you also need to learn how to spell....
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# "Functionality"Warren Hurd 2010-03-17 06:56
For an HD WonderCam, the design and software seem to be deliberately limitting; ie the blue light, the glass over the lens preventing any adaptations that would otherwise be very simple.
The software is extremely limitted, except for the silly stuff.
I am sorry I bought this camera, and am offended by the level of its limitations given its potential, as these limitations could not possibly be missed by a design team and are quite obviously planned obsolescence.
Pretty shameful device, given what it Could de, and Not worth the hype Microsoft gives it.

Sincerely, I want my money back.
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# RE: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-Webcammarko 2010-03-19 06:36
This camera does not support 30fps at 720p. Or well, that hardware does but the software doesn't. If you want true 720p 30fps video, you have to uninstall the LifeCam software. After that you can choose 30fps when using MJPG format.
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# RE: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-Webcamluce 2010-03-25 06:36
The drivers don't support 720p at 30fps, but it's still alright except for the mic. Video and pictures were still a lot better than your average webcam, but I would always go back to using my earphones with built-in mic to talk with. Overall, it's really good and I really like the build. Certainly better than the usual plastic. For the price, I'd say it's worth it.
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# Just bought camera cannot make it worksKarin 2010-05-14 23:59
Just bought WebCam Cinema. installed everything but it doesn not capture image.
I cannot make it work, I am sure must e something to enable on the computer but I don't know what.
I have Windows Vista. Any uggestions??
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# MrsOdette Fowler 2010-06-18 20:05
Please let me know where I can download the manual for this LifeCam
Cinema 720 HD that I own.
Thank you
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# Lifecam CinemaErnest Brownlee 2010-07-31 17:25
I have two of the Microsoft Lifecam Cinemas. The picture is very good and even in poor light the color stays sharp. I would like to use it for a security camera, does anyone know of a converter that would take the USB to AV output so I can connect it to VCR Or TV?
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# webcamAndrew 2010-09-03 06:28
i not sure if you can get usb to av but i know if you get a usb extension
and "jumicam" from the app store you can view the webcam from afar if you decide to do that and have problems just reply back ok.
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# Webcam 720p HDboris 2010-09-05 02:05
Habe sterben Cam angeschlossen , Hut Sich Allein Die installierte und gut funktioniert . Müsste SIE Nochmals Deinstallationsprogr amm ! Jetzt funktioniert SIE trotzdem, hab keine Verknüpfung ABER Auf dem Desktop und Unter Programm finde ich sterben Cam Auch NICHT MEHR . Kann auch keine einstellungen vornehmen ! ! Wer Kann helfen?
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# lifecam cinemabilal 2011-05-23 03:13
i would like to say that i have lifecam cinema hd,i try to install after installed,it shows me your cam is not connect plz can you help me about this i really don't know what i do
hope you can help me
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# RE: Lifecam CinemaDennis 2011-07-23 20:48
Google search Yawcam. Download the program and use your computer as a image capture. Program has motion detection and you can set where you want it to detect. You may have to get some extra cable for your web cam so that you can move it,or on a laptop no problem good luck, Love mine
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# RE: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-WebcamAndrew 2010-09-03 06:31
what i meant to say was if you get jumicam for your iphone or ipod touch and install the jumicontroller on your pc you can view your webcam from anywhere if you have internet connection on your iphone or ipod touch
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# It's a piece of junkMarcel 2010-09-22 10:27
Despite all the features that are promised and all the hype thingies this webcam performs like crap! The picture it gives is blurry and not even in focus. The autofocus seems to be on holiday cuz it just aint working.

Oh well, with Windows (whatever version) in the back of my head, what else could we expect from a product coming from Microsoft????
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# Poor software compatibilityGreg 2010-09-25 20:39
I have tried several video chatting and remote webcam viewer programs with this camera. None of them has been able to display the camera image in anything other than 320x240 resolution. It will not even operate in the standard high-quality resolution of 640x480. If only they had added 640x480 compatibility, then most of these programs would work. Very disappointed with this camera.
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