Digital Video Gear

 

Video conferencing hardware and software is extreamly popular these days. Once reserved for big companies with high speed data lines and even bigger budgets, video links are fairly inexpensive.

The Kodak DVC-325 is a good example. It uses USB, Universal Serial Bus, for its connection. Take it out of the box, plug it into the PC's USB port, load the included software, and you are done. It really is that simple. The cost is around $99. Add a $8 microphone to your sound card, and you have a complete conferencing package. You don't need a video camcorder and a capture card anymore. The DVC-3325 is a small unit that easily fits on top of your monitor.

Your PC must have the following hardware and software to run the DVC-325. Please see the Kodak Web site for addtion information at http://www.kodak.com/ .

Another good choice is the Intel PC Pro Camera pack. It sells for $129 but has a $30 mail in rebate. Buy two and Intel will send you $70 back. The Pro version includes an extra video jack for the camera and a ton of nice software. It is well worth the cost over the standard package unless money is the only goal. Both version also work with 95, 98, and WIN2000.

WIN95 PC with 4.00.950B or later ( needs USB drivers)

( SR2B in the OEM versions, CD says USB support on it)

-NT PCs or MACs require additonal software

16MB RAM minimun, 32MB for practicality
Sound card if you want complete conferencing
VGA display 256 colors minium, 32K to look real
25Mb disk space, CDROM for software loading

- 12MB for the CU-SEEME software v3.1

900K for each 24 bit color photo saved to disk, 640x480

- if you run the camera in still picture capture mode

The main software included in the box is for PCs with WIN95 SR 2.xB, with USB support. Other systems are supported, but at different levels. The CU-SEEME software from White Pine Software, is the main video conferencing tool.

The Kodak camera comes with conference software, but the tools with the Intel Pro Camera baack are better. CU-SEEME is an excellent choice, but it costs some money. The Microsoft Netmeeting software is free and comes with WIN98SE. It requires a Netmeeting host, however. Public host machines are always overloaded, sot the Cu-SEEME software might be worth the investment. http://www.cuseeme.com.

If you don't have WIN95 SR2 or later with USB, you can upgrade once you have a legal copy of the SR2 CD. The procedure is on this site. SR2 Upgrade. This upgrade will also allow FAT32 hard drive partitions to you can use that new, 13GB+ drive without carving it up into several pieces.

The general procedure is:

1) Make sure USB ports on the PC are properly configured. This is a WIN95/NT MS driver issue.The procedure is available on this cool web site! Adding a USB driver

2) Load the Kodak DCV325 driver, or the driver for thecamera you chose,  with the camera disconnected!

3) Reboot the PC and insert the camera into the USB port. The PC should now find the camera.

4) Now you can load any software such as the CU-SEEME. IT will now have the resources to use the camera.

IRQ Settings for PCs

For those that haven't turned on the PC's USB port or are unsure, please contact the PC vendor. The USB does use another IRQ, so you might have to have change some hardware to free up system resources. New MBs have the USB running all of the time. You can't turn it off. So make sure that you account for its resources and install the drivers correctly. It usually takes IRQ 9, 10, or 11 which happen to be the only free IRQs in the PC these days.

For a complete list of IRQ or interupt settings for the PC, see irq_map.html

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