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Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD-Webcam E-mail
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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

Webcam Testing and Results

Testing Methodology

Considering the fact that I couldn't pick up my other webcam through the Microsoft LifeCam 3.0 software, I had to use some other software items to get conclusive results. I ended up using Windows Live Messenger, Skype 4.1, and Google Video Chat. The two webcams I used were the LifeCam Cinema, of course, and the Philips SPC710NC webcam. The LifeCam Cinema costs $57.99 at Newegg.com and the Philips runs about $30, but it is pretty old and difficult to find.

I will explain the results of each of my tests, but I have only included two pictures showing the differences between the cameras. I did this on purpose. Although the differences that I will detail were very clear, when I tried to capture screenshots of them put them together for this review, I noticed a distinct lack of clarity on the edited screenshots. I deliberated and finally decided that I would not include the pictures as they might construe a different effect than what is really offered by the LifeCam Cinema. In many cases, the pictures looked nearly equal as I looked at the screenshots, when side by side on the screen during live capture, the LifeCam Cinema clearly provided superior quality.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Intel BOXDG41MJ LGA775 Intel G41 Mini ITX
  • System Memory: 2 X WINTEC AMPX 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium E5300 Wolfdale 2.6GHz LGA775 65W Dual-Core
  • Audio: Realtek ALC888VC
  • Video: Intel GMA X4500
  • Disk Drive 1: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s
  • Optical Drive: Panasonic DVD/RW Slim Drive
  • Enclosure: SilverStone SUGO SST-SG06B
  • PSU: 300W
  • Monitor: Olevia 227V 27" HDTV
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium x32

Results

I started off the testing by making quite a few calls through each of the video chat programs listed above to various friends and family. During the call I would switch from the LifeCam Cinema to the Philips SPC710NC and ask them to detail the difference in picture quality. I started with Windows Live Messenger, which surprised me by being the most difficult to use, in my opinion. During the call, at a resolution of 320x240 for both cameras, everyone I talked to was quite surprised by the wide field of view on the LifeCam Cinema compared to the Philips webcam. When I started with the LifeCam Cinema, no one really noticed that they were seeing much more of me and the room, but they definitely commented when I switched cameras. Overall, the lighting was better while using the LifeCam Cinema, as was the picture quality and detail.

As I moved on to the other two video chat programs, Skype 1.4 and Google Video Chat, I found the same consistencies in the performance of the LifeCam Cinema over the Philips Camera. Every person that I talked to was amazed at the difference in picture quality and the level of detail. The most exciting factor for everyone was, however, the increased field of view. Skype offered me the highest resolution, letting me go up to 640x480, but it took some tweaking. I found a third party app for skype as well that would let me bump up to 720p, but just as I had suspected, it was a very unpleasant experience for the person on the other end of the call. The frame rates were well below 30 FPS, probably somewhere around 5. But at 640x480, they were very good.

So, since Skype offer the best chance and showing the true power of the LifeCam Cinema, I took the screenshots below from that. I'm sure without saying anything you can tell which is the LifeCam Cinema, if only from the wider field of view. Also, these pictures were both taken with no lights on in the room. The only light coming into the room was from the window to my left, which had the blinds pulled halfway shut. As you can see, the LifeCam Cinema does a much better job of filling the room with light and even lighting my face and other features in the room. If you look at the I Love Lucy calender hanging on the wall behind me, not only will you learn something about my wife, but you can see that the detail is much clearer in the picture with the LifeCam Cinema.

Microsoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_SkypeLife.jpgMicrosoft_Lifecam_Cinema_Webcam_SkypePhil.jpg

Looking at that back wall you can also see that the colors are kept much more natural by the LifeCam Cinema. The wall is white, but the Philips webcam almost makes it seem blue. As you can see just above desk behind me, the LifeCam Cinema really takes advantage of all the extra light, as I mentioned earlier. It really washes out some of the features behind me because of where the outside light was hitting.

As far as the High Definition function goes, it really performed great when I was recording video using the LifeCam 3.0 software. However, even though my computer meets the minimum requirements of the LifeCam Cinema, High Definition video calls were certainly not feasible. I have to blame my internet connection in part for that, as well as my less-than-enthusiast speed computer. Still being able to record videos for youTube, blogs, or websites in High Definition and widescreen without breaking your wallet is an excellent achievement for the tiny LifeCam Cinema.



 

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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