We currently live in an age where watching a video is as easy as removing your smartphone out of your pocket. Streaming a video is social and a necessity. We are surrounded by tons of content created by vloggers who record precious moments of their lives in the hopes of relaying their message to us via this live streaming medium. If you happen to be one of these people who record themselves or others live for the world to see, an option for doing so is to use a WiFi IP camera.
WiFi IP cameras are known for their surveillance capabilities. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. They record in high definition, a format which is possible to stream to a remote location. This scenario is perfect for both beginners and experts looking for a great way to live stream their videos, be it gaming or university lectures. But not all IP cameras are created equal. Let’s take a look at a few features to consider when choosing the best IP camera for live streaming.
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Cables and Connectors
WiFi IP cameras have various connection options available. Two of the most commonly used connections are Ethernet cables and Wireless (via a WiFi connection). The use of an Ethernet cable brings an extra amount of versatility to the camera because of the availability of PoE (power over Ethernet). This means that you will be able to transfer data and power through a single cable. So no need for a separate power source.
Most of the latest high-end IP cameras have built-in microphones and speakers. This makes it possible to communicate remotely with people within proximity of the camera. In cases like this, the audio and visual data is delivered to the network via an Ethernet cable. Some IP cameras may not come with built-in microphones, but they do support XLR inputs. This gives you the option to connect external microphones to your camera in order to receive higher quality audio.
Other connection options available on most units are SD card and HDMI slots. If you are looking to save your video stream onto a hard disk, a simple option can be to make use of the SD card slot. You will be able to store your recorded video onto an SD card for later uses like video editing. Having the option for an HDMI port will allow you to hook up a separate HD monitor with an HDMI cable. This will give you a secondary high definition video feed.
Pan and Tilt
Most modern WiFi IP cameras make use of wide-angle camera lens. There are some models out there that boast a 180-degree wide angle view. This is great in terms of capturing a whole lot of content into a single frame. It makes it easier for you to pick the right spot to place your camera.
However, a wide camera lens will still not compensate for a moving object. Especially if that object is a person who continues to walk in and out of the view of the camera. An example would be a lecturer who walks around the class as he talks to his students. Manually moving the entire camera around is messy and leaves undesired video movements for the viewers.
A great fix for this is to go with a camera that allows for a pan/tilt function. There are WiFi IP cameras available on the market with a 360-degree pan function. This feature will allow you to remotely control the direction you would want to face your camera. The action involved in rotating the camera lens is a smooth one and can lead to a much more controlled focus on the subject that you wish to record. This simple feature and the ability to zoom opens up a world of video filming possibilities.
There is high-end WiFi IP cameras available that can automatically pan and zoom into moving objects. You can set the camera to focus and a particular moving object or person and the camera will zoom in and move along with the person while they walk around the room. This is, however, a software feature and is still not as accurate as manually controlling the pan and zoom on a camera.
Video Quality and Compatibility
Low-resolution IP cameras may be acceptable when recording a video for surveillance, but in the world of video streaming, high definition (HD) video quality is a must. Consuming HD content today is the norm due to the fact that almost all our devices now support HD quality video. Your computer monitors and smartphones display actually run on high resolutions.
Another reason that users prefer to stream in HD is due to faster internet speeds and the HD format being popularized on streaming services such as YouTube and Vimeo. You personally may prefer to just stick to the standard definition because of the convenience of its lightweight file sizes (faster streaming and less disc space storage needed). But your viewers may prefer your content in high definition. Make sure that you choose a camera that supports 1080p video recording and streaming.
An important factor to consider when deciding to purchase a WiFi IP camera for live streaming use is its compatibility towards third-party streaming services and service providers. Most Wifi IP cameras are compatible by default, but there are some that will not be able to execute a live stream to say a service like Vimeo straight out of the box. You will probably need to purchase additional software and hardware in order to make your live stream work.
The good news about using an IP camera as a live stream camera is that the unit can double up as a surveillance camera. Believe it or not, there are multiple makes of cameras available that support all of the features above. Choosing a great WiFi IP camera to live stream is just a matter of finding a reliable unit at the right price.