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6/14/2012
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Logitech ConferenceCam BCC950: Easy, Quality Videoconferencing

With the exception of a few fixable design flaws, I am very pleased with the Logitech ConferenceCam BCC950. Pair it up with any 40+ inch 1080P HDTV with a VESA mounted fanless embedded computer running Skype and the solution could rival some business class "telepresence" solutions. Not only will you save a ton of money, you will be able to easily reach beyond your own corporate Intranet and avoid all the protocol incompatibilities plaguing the expensive telepresence systems.

In this era of glorified videoconferencing solutions, marketed as "immersive telepresence" and being sold for the price of a home, many businesses and organizations simply want an easy and affordable solution. Logitech's ConferenceCam BCC950, a combination webcam and speakerphone, addresses this market. The ConferenceCam largely delivers on the promise of being easy and affordable but it comes with some minor design annoyances.

Video quality

The most important feature in a product like this is the video quality, and the $249.99 ConferenceCam delivers some of the best webcam video I have ever seen. Though not movie-grade 1080P, it's amazing for a package this small.

In a room well lit with natural light, the camera delivers minimal noise and reasonably detailed 1920x1080 resolution video with smooth frame rates. In low light, the frame rates drop, but the 1080P video still looks good.

The ConferenceCam BCC950 delivers smooth, sharp video.

At $250, the ConferenceCam seems expensive compared to 1080P webcams that are a quarter of the price. But those cheaper alternatives offer less detail or have artifact problems. For instance, as you can see in the sample video below made with my own personal camera, the Creative Live! Socialize HD 720p, the video is nowhere near as sharp as the ConferenceCam's. It's even too pixelated to be considered 720P. (I have not tested the Creative Socialize 1080P.)

The Creative Live! Socialize HD 720p could have smoother video.

Based on the review below, the detail, frame rate, and rolling shutter artifacts of the Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080P all seem inferior to my Logitech sample, but some of that might be due to inferior lighting. Still, the Logitech ConferenceCam seems to deliver cleaner results in low light and contains the rolling shutter effect better. I will update this comparison when I get a chance to test the Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080P myself.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080P seems inferior to the Logitech ConferenceCam, especially in low light.

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