Last night at ShowStopper at CES 2012 Logitech was demonstrating its newly announced HD Pro Webcam C920; it sets some new performance standards that open up a much larger market for HD video on Skype:
- the first Skype-certified webcam to deliver 1080p video
- the minimum required upload speed is 1 Mpbs
- dual stereo microphones
It also now supports H.264 encoding which reduces the load on the main PC processor and allows HD Video calling on more PC’s. Standard Logitech features such as autofocus and Carl-Zeiss optics are also included. All for $99.99.
The reduced minimum upload speed (as opposed to the previous requirement for 1.2Mbps upload speed) opens up HD video calling to anyone with the most common broadband connections which are most often capped at a 1Mbps upload speed. (I have recently had calls from the earlier C310 and C910 where the caller’s video went to HD yet their upload speed was capped at 1 Mbps.) And supporting 1080p allows “telepresence-like” images on much larger displays in full screen mode (720p video does a great job on up to 22” displays).
In their demonstration they had two PC’s on a Skype video call where one (in the right) used its native webcam while the other(on the left) used the C920. The image quality difference shown in the photo was definitely real. (Because it’s a video call the transmitting webcam on the left shows its image on the receiving PC on the right.)
At the moment it only supports Windows® XP (SP3 or higher), Windows Vista® and Windows® 7 (32-bit or 64-bit); it requires Skype 5.7 beta for Windows to support the 1080p video. The 1080p video can be received on any Skype client.
Bottom line; Logitech has a long history of supporting Skype Video calling (going back to the launch of Skype’s High Quality Video VGA calling) and appears to continue to have leading edge offerings. It should be available in retail stores and the Skype Store by the end of January. At that time I’ll look to do a more thorough review.
Update – The Review: Logitech C920 Webcam: for a Superior Skype Video Calling Experience
- Logitech C920 first webcam with 1080p video calling (ces.cnet.com)
- Logitech outs C920 HD webcam, lets you Skype with your mates in 1080p (engadget.com)