Download.com
  • Navigation
  • open search
Close

PLATFORMS

POPULAR LINKS

CATEGORIES

HELP & SETTINGS

All Guides

Our Editors Test These 4 Webcam Apps So You Don't Have To

The best apps for live streaming, chatting, and collaborating.

Apps in this Guide

Most laptops these days comes with a built-in webcam, and you can get a solid standalone webcam for less than $50 from Amazon or your local big-box electronics store. All of them come with softwaremore

Most laptops these days comes with a built-in webcam, and you can get a solid standalone webcam for less than $50 from Amazon or your local big-box electronics store. All of them come with software that will do the basics, but there's a whole world of apps out there that will do things that the basic software can only dream of. Here's the cream of the crop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of security issues do I need to worry about with a webcam?
It's technically possible for someone to hack into your webcam and record what they see, but it's pretty difficult to do that without your computer notifying you that the webcam has been activated. If you're concerned, you can place a strip of black electrical tape over your camera lens when not in use (or if it's a standalone webcam, just unplug its power cable).
What kind of effect does webcam use have on my laptop's battery consumption?
There are two main modes to handle video streaming: hardware and software acceleration. You may have to dig into your webcam app's settings to see what options you have. Hardware acceleration will be much more efficient with your battery, and you'll be able to use other apps at the same time with fewer performance issues.

Recommended Webcam Software for Windows

If you want to use your webcam to make video calls with friends and family, it's hard to go wrong with Skype. It's easy to use, and it's available for all major platforms -- Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Skype also has increasingly good real-time translation, which could help you connect with family and friends in countries where English is not the primary language. Its video calling function is also free.

Open Broadcaster Studio Software

Open Broadcaster Studio Software

If you want to broadcast your webcam directly to YouTube, OBS Studio is one of the best options. There's a moderate learning curve, but it's forgivable since OBS Studio is free (it's funded by donations). And there are a lot of settings to fine-tune your live stream.

CyberLink YouCam

CyberLink YouCam

Download

If you want to record something to upload later, YouCam is arguably a more interesting option. It live streams just fine, but it has a lot of production options to make cosmetic adjustments and artistic additions that are better suited to recordings than live streaming. We recommend popping for the Deluxe version, which you can often find on sale for $30, which is the regular price of the Standard version.

One of Slack's most interesting features is its ability to integrate multiple third-party services as plug-ins, like Google Hangouts, Skype, Blue Jeans, and Zoom. You use a simple text command within Slack to launch the plug-in and make direct invitations to specific Slack team members. Depending on which service you're plugging in, you can find yourself video conferencing with up to 25 people.