To use a network camera with programs like Windows Media Encoder, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! For one, there’s Link2Cam (free from which is a Direct Show filter that effectively tricks Windows into thinking your remote camera is just another video source. If the free software doesn’t cut it, there are commercial alternatives.
The IP Camera Direct Show Filter from supports MPEG, H264, MJPEG, and JPEG streams, and is discussed in the previous section.
Then, from any other computer on your network, type the first PC’s IP address in the address field followed by ) to view the live video feed right in the browser.
Now, the “video” shown on the webcam XP web page is merely a constantly updating still image, which works on any browser and any platform—it’ll even give you live video on an i Phone via Safari.
Once you’ve got a webcam that works, check out the following sections for ways to use it in Windows 7.
An IP camera can transmit a video stream over a network connection, allowing you watch video from a remote location and even embed the video in a web page.
(How often will you be taking still photos with an eyeball-cam tethered to your laptop?
) But the sexier features, like motorized face tracking (enabling video chat without having to sit perfectly still), autofocus, network streaming (for surveillance, baby monitoring, and web publishing), and high frame rate (for smooth, blur-free video) are often mutually exclusive, making compromise inevitable.
As a result, many are quickly discontinued, making it extremely difficult to find up-to-date drivers for older models.
These are typically standalone devices that either plug into your router or connect wirelessly over Wi Fi, but you can turn the ordinary USB webcam you already own into an IP camera with a spare laptop and the right software.webcam XP (which, despite the name, works just fine on Windows 7) is available free for personal use from
Once you install and start it up, right-click the video box and select your camera from the list of video sources.
(For this reason, avoid IP cameras that require proprietary software.) See Use an IP Webcam for Videoconferencing for more on network cameras.
Finally, read online reviews—not surprisingly, they’re plentiful at You Tube—to see how well a particular model actually renders an image.