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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

LifeCam Cinema Final Thoughts

Overall, the little Microsoft LifeCam Cinema H5D-00001 was enough to impress me a lot. The recorded video quality at 720p was amazing. The color quality is definitely an improvement over older webcams, and where it isn't exact, you can always adjust the settings. I found that the best resolution for quality, clarity, and frame rates, was at 640x360. This provides a widescreen view while still maintaining smooth movements and quality that can't be found at the High Definition resolution of 720p.

I was quite impressed as well with the audio recording capability of the LifeCam Cinema. While using the Philips SPC710NC I was forced to use a secondary mic because the one built into the webcam couldn't clearly pick up many sounds. The LifeCam Cinema microphone picks up everything down to the lowest sounds and even uses noise cancellation technology to get rid of background noise. Unfortunately, you will suffer from a very quiet high pitch tone due to the noise cancellation.


The size of the LifeCam Cinema makes it ideal for portability, as does the flexible rubber bottom piece that allows it to easily sit anywhere or attach to any screen. Used as a portable device, you should have no problem with the length of the cord. The handy cable organizer attached to the cord works very well. However, for in home use, you may find that you need a hub or an extension for the USB cable. It is decently long, but not quite long enough. I believe that the LifeCam Cinema will open the way for a new generation of webcams that can provide widescreen, High Definition video for use in a variety of situations. Very soon we will be video chatting from our living rooms in HD with our family and friends.

Microsoft H5D-00001 Conclusion

The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema H5D-00001 far outperformed my expectations of it, especially after seeing how small it is. The camera lens is able to pick out small details, recognize faces, autofocus, and capture 720p High Definition video at an amazing 30 frames per second. Even filming in low light situations can't stop the LifeCam Cinema from performing beautifully. The only issues I found with the performance of the LifeCam Cinema was its tendency to wash out the background if there was too much light and the high pitched tone that is emitted when the microphone uses its noise cancellation technology. The wash out can be fixed by adjusting the settings, however, and the high pitch tone can be virtually done away with by avoiding background noises such as loud fans or power supplies.

The LifeCam Cinema was quite a bit smaller than I had imagined it to be. Even so, it looks very cool, with its smooth metal barrel design. It looks a lot like a actual movie camera, in a way, but on a much smaller scale. The LifeCam Cinema's appearance is conducive to its performance. Even as small as it is, it just looks like it should provide top notch video and audio. Coming in a large box may hurt the LifeCam Cinema on a retail shelf, where the size of the camera compared to the box is so small. Maybe a smaller, completely plastic packaging would show off the LifeCam Cinema better. Even so, it doesn't look like your typical webcam, which is good, because it doesn't perform like one either.

Even as small as it is, the LifeCam Cinema is build very sturdily. The barrel casing enclosing the lens and camera components is durable and tough. The metal mesh covering of the microphone looks like it could withstand a beating and come out ahead. I think the LifeCam Cinema could survive the drops and dings that portability might bring with it, even without a carry bag or case that is notably absent. The only concern would be scratching the lens, which is quite possible with no lens cover. Even the rubber base of the LifeCam Cinema is strong and durable. It's not flimsy and thin, as I would have guessed when opening, but is instead very sturdy, enabling it to hold the camera in place wherever you see fit to put it.

The LifeCam Cinema H5D-00001 offers the most functionality in its class for the time being. With 720p High Definition picture and a widescreen view, it makes for the most versatile webcam out there. The picture clarity and quality live up to the Microsoft hardware reputation. I even enjoyed the LifeCam 3.0 software, surprisingly enough. It's simplicity really amazed me. The main window only has three buttons, for the three functions of the webcam, video capture, still image capture, and audio capture. It also offered plenty of fun effects that take advantage of the LifeCam Cinema's features.

As of March 2010 the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD-webcam, model H5D-0001, can be purchased from NewEgg for $69.99. Other online retailers also stock the LifeCam Cinema, so make sure to compare prices before making a purchase. A webcam that offers High Definition video and widescreen formats is hard to find for such a reasonable price. Even my old Philips SPC710NC, which was valiantly destroyed by the superior performance of the LifeCam Cinema costs $30. I would lay down the extra cash in a second for such a top-notch product. Even faster if I were an avid youTube user or if I video blogged much. The quality of this camera is worth much more than the price being asked for it.

If you have ever wanted to create your own youTube channel, post video commentary to your blog, or add personal videos to a website, this camera is perfect for you. The price and performance has set a new bar. Even if you just love to video chat with friends and family and therefore, the High Definition function of the camera is somewhat mitigated, the widescreen quality and clarity offered by the LifeCam Cinema is still enough to warrant it's purchase. And I have a feeling that in the near future, more and more software will released taking advantage of High Definition video chat.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ 720p High Definition Capture
+ Widescreen View
+ Noise Cancellation Microphone
+ Good Software; Simple Design
+ Small, yet Very Powerful
+ Lighting, Quality, Clarity of Picture
+ Low Light Enchancement
+ Excellent Value at under $60


- Limited Video Chat HD Use due to Software Restrictions
- Very CPU intensive at higher resolutions
- Slight Washout with Bright Backlighting
- High Pitch Tone when Noise Cancellation is Used


  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.00
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 9.50

Final Score: 9.3 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

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# 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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