UVC Webcam Devices

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UVC webcam devices are collectively those USB webcams that are UVC compliant and are supported under Linux by the uvcvideo kernel driver module.

Most modern webcams are UVC compliant, which is actually a good thing because, in the past, webcam drivers and interfaces were often proprietary (meaning that, in order to provide device support under Linux, driver developers may have needed to sign an NDA for chipset information, or had to proceed through time-consuming reverse engineering efforts that required one to decompile or monitor/sniff USB traffic).

Some of the devices supported by this driver include:

  • several USB2.0 Logitech Quickcams, such as:
    • the Quickcam Orbit MP
    • the Quickam for Notebooks Pro (Note that the Quickcam for Notebooks Deluxe is not a UVC webcam; it's supported by the gspca driver described below)
    • the Quickcam Fusion
All those webcams are 1.3MP devices. They will also work in USB 1.1 mode, but are then limited to 640x480. In that case, you could go for the Quickcam Pro 5000, which is a 640x480 device
  • the Dell Notebook
  • and the Cisco VT Camera II

And while UVC webcams are well supported, you must be aware of a few issues:

  • The linux-uvc driver is V4L2-only. This means applications which support V4L1 only will not work. V4L1 is officially deprecated, and have been removed from the kernel recently, so most drivers have or will switch to V4L2 anyway.
  • The 4 Logitech UVC webcams mentioned above compress images in MJPEG for resolutions up to 960x720. This means that applications must be able to decompress MJPEG streams to use the webcam at lower resolutions. Ekiga and motion support MJPEG compression. UVC webcams like the OmniVision OV2640 (built into Dell M1530 and Inspiron laptops) actually *require* MJPEG compression for high resolutions up to 1600x1200, whereas using the standard YUV encoding limits resolution to standard 640x480.

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