If you like to Skype with family and friends but find it inconvenient to plan the call so you can be in front of the computer when the call comes in, the Logitech TV Cam HD I reviewed this week is for you.
Here’s my Logitech TV Cam HD Review …
Despite its privacy issues, I am into Skype. I think it is wonderful. I have used it for years to talk with family and friends all over the world. Skype connections and broadband Internet service are getting better and better.
Yet Skype has a few drawbacks. And that’s where this TV cam comes in.
If you’re like me, you don’t always want to leave the computer on all the time to receive Skype calls. If you have your computer in a bedroom or home office, it’s also inconvenient to be stuck in that same room when you want to Skype.
Also if you have more than one person in the same room wanting to talk, they all have to adjust positions to share the small camera on the computer. Logitech has come out with a great solution to all of these problems.
The Logitech TV Cam HD turns you television into a Skype machine. In other words, it lets you take and receive Skype calls as you sit in front of your TV. There is no need to have your computer on. You view your Skype call on a screen that is probably a lot larger than your computer screen.
I found the TV Cam is easy to set up. You just plug one end of the included HDMI cable into the back of the unit and the other end into a free HDMI port on your TV. Then plug the power cable into the wall. Turn your TV to the proper input and the on-screen instruction walk you through the rest of the setup.
The unit itself is solid and sturdy. It is approximately 9” x 2” x 1”. Although it is made of black plastic, it feels substantial. The device can be placed on top of the TV or it can sit below it. The hinged holder on the device folds back to allow it to sit firmly even on a thin TV. If your router happens to be near the TV or your TV has an Ethernet connection, you can use that Ethernet connection for your Internet access. Most of us, however, will be connecting via Wi-Fi.
The Skype software and Wi-Fi is built into the TV Cam. You simply follow the on-screen directions to connect through a wireless connection and to log into Skype. Within 15 minutes you can unpack the device and be Skypeing your friends.
The Skype software has a clean and clear interface. It allows you to do most things that you can do with Skype on a computer. But a few things, like the ability to text from Skype,are not supported.
This little cam brings the Skype experience to a new dimension in several respects Instead of being cramped in front of the small camera on your computer, you now are able to roam around the entire room.
This device comes with a remote control that lets you control the field of vision. You’re able to zoom in and out to show just how much of the room you want your callers to see. The remote has a 2X digital zoom — plus pan and tilt. It is perfect, too, for allowing children to simply be themselves — that is, free and untethered when they’re on camera with the fam.
You use the remote and onscreen controls to navigate the Skype functionality as well as to freeze a frame, mute a call or answer and hang up.
The TV Cam has a 720p resolution and uses Carl Zeiss optics. That makes for excellent image quality. The image is even optimized for low light, so even in the evening there is little graining in the picture.
Logitech has also made the audio a priority. They included four microphones so that everyone in the room sounds good.
The Logitech TV Cam HD is fully integrated with Skype even when the TV is off. At first it can be a little disconcerting to have your TV ring like a telephone, but of course, this is a very useful feature. There is also a flashing light that tells you when someone is calling and a message light that illuminates when have missed a call.
To use the TV Cam, you have to change the input on the TV to the HDMI port that the TV Cam is using. This is generally no problem when making a call. However, if a call comes in while you are watching TV, you have to change the input and if a call comes in when the TV is off, you have to turn the TV on then change the input. Depending on your TV and your remote, this can be inconvenient when rushing to answer a call.
Retail Price: $199
The Logitech TV Cam HD is easy to set up and easy to use. As long as you have a good broadband connection it produces excellent video and audio. You can think of it as a comfort device. It lets you Skype from the comfort of your couch or lounge chair. Get one for the inlaws so they can relax in front of the TV and get one for the children and grandchildren so the grandparents can see the kids and grandkids in a more natural environment.
- Carl Zeiss optics provide excellent video
- Four microphones provide excellent audio
- Onscreen controls for freeze frame/mute/answer-hang up
- Well-designed for mounting on thin TVs
- Good notification system
- HDMI cable included
- Can’t use it to text
- Changing the TV input is cumbersome
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