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Little Cameras on PCs

Techstination feature for Thursday, March 23, 2000

Putting a little camera on your PC. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. The year was 1964. People were amazed at the New York World's see AT&T's phone of the future...a videophone. Nearly forty years later, the Internet seems poised to make that promise affordable and real. It starts with a little camera on your PC. They are so inexpensive now, some Internet service providers have even given them away. A company called Xirlink makes the IBM PC Cameras. Xirlink's Tim Martin...

"Right now, the consumer applications are mainly doing things like video emailing people. Right now video-conferencing is still in its infancy as far as your ability to do that over the Internet because there are still some bandwidth bottlenecks. But with DSL and some of the new high speed services coming out, cable modems for example, you'll find that consumers will be able to have a great experience video-conferencing over the Internet."

Better comb your hair and put some clothes on. The latest version of the IBM camera, the Pro Max model, has an input jack that lets you capture video from other sources, like a VCR or camcorder as well. You can take still digital pictures too...

"We actually have a snapshot feature. There's a button on top of the camera. So you can actually pick up the camera, point it at different things in the room and go ahead an hit the snapshot button."

You can find prices for all this fun starting at under fifty dollars. You can find us on the Web at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.