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Setting up a Live Webcam Feed

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Unless you are telepathic, it is difficult to find out what's happening on the other side of the earth without technology aiding you. Instead of telepathy, you and your audience can now broadcast and tune into the live feeds over the Internet. Kulvir Bhogal shows you how to set up a live web camera feed with some free software.

Although I don’t have a child myself, I recall my sister having one of those baby monitors that relayed the sounds heard from her baby’s room to her baby monitor receiver. I found the idea to be pretty neat, but that was a few years ago. In the tech world, a few years equates to eons. Nowadays, with just a few bucks, some free software, and some know how, you can set up something much more functional than those arcane baby monitors. In this article I’ll show you how to set up a web camera (webcam) to your computer so you can broadcast video and audio over the internet. Without further ado, let’s begin.

What You’ll Need

For this webcam experiment, I assume that you are running Windows XP. Also, because I am demonstrating how to set up a webcam that broadcasts over the internet, you will also need a web camera. Your local electronics store probably has a number of these. I would suggest a USB camera instead of a serial one. I picked up a pretty basic one for $15. Each camera will vary in its setup, so I won’t delve into the setup of your PC to your camera. However, before we get started, make sure that your camera can work properly with the software that was bundled with your web camera.

Besides the USB web camera, to broadcast the web camera feed over the Internet you need some software to facilitate things. I chose to go with Microsoft Windows Media Encoder version 9. Windows Media Encoder is a free download, which captured my vote. You can download it here.

Last but not least, you need a broadband Internet connection if you plan to broadcast your webcam feed over the Internet for others to watch.

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