When Logitech and Microsoft released a bunch of HD webcams last year, Skype refused to certify them for use with its HD video calling service. (That's not to say these webcams won't work with Skype HD -- it's that Skype won't guarantee that they'll work well.) And why this resounding slap in the face? Because Skype will only certify HD webcams that come with onboard video processing and therefore run even on tardy old machines. And that is precisely why Creative has followed the lead of other manufacturers like FaceVsion and Freetalk in including a built-in H.264 encoder with its latest offering, maintaining judder-free video and a chill-axed CPU. The webcam also has more flexible autofocus and a "quad mic" system, which together should allow users to sit as far as 10 feet away and still be seen and heard clearly. The only problem? A $150 price tag that's significantly more than the competition and only slightly easier to face than your cousin's acne condition at 720p. If you're still keen though, check out the PR after the break.

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Creative Introduces the Live!® Cam inPerson HD - HD Video and Voice Web Camera for Skype HD Video Calling

MILPITAS, CA – May 31, 2011 – Creative Technology Ltd today announced that Skype has certified the new Creative Live!® Cam inPerson HD for video and voice quality, meeting the exacting requirements for HD video calling in Skype. The Creative engineering team set out to significantly improve the video and voice quality of web cams to provide an outstanding HD video calling experience with Skype. The result is the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD, in which Creative has integrated an H.264 video encoding processor, ensuring the fastest possible video frame rate for HD video calling and alleviating the problem of choppy video that users often experience, even with lower definition video calling.

By performing the H.264 encoding on the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD instead of using the PC, the user is not required to have the highest-performance PC to experience smooth HD video quality with Skype. In addition to the leap forward in video quality, the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD features crystal-clear voice through the implementation of Creative's quad mic array. To achieve improvement in voice quality, the mics are precisely spaced across the nine-inch flat-panel surface of the camera. This quad mic implementation coupled with Creative's noise-canceling technology removes ambient noise much more effectively than web cams with single or stereo mics and allows the user to be heard with substantially greater clarity.

"In order for web cams to become Skype Certified we put them through a rigorous video and voice testing and qualification process," said Ed Botterill, Head of Skype Certification at Skype. "The Live! Cam inPerson met these exacting specifications and provides an excellent solution for Skype video calling."

The Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD features built-in H.264 compression, in order to deliver smooth, glitch-free HD video, ensuring fluid motion and high-quality video streaming over the web. Often when users experience jerky motions or choppy video when video calling, the cause is likely the PC's CPU being overworked while trying to process the stream of data. With hardware accelerated video all of this work is offloaded from the PC's CPU and performed right on the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD, delivering smooth movements and video calls every time. The Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD also features auto focus, for clear, detailed images and videos from a range of distances, giving users the freedom to sit directly in front of the camera or up to 10 feet away and still be seen clearly.

"We wanted to eliminate choppy video, which is typically caused when the PC can't handle the encoding fast enough, so we engineered the camera to have the highest frame rate possible," said Steve Erickson, Vice President and General Manager for Audio and Video at Creative Labs, Inc. "As a technology leader in audio and voice processing for more than three decades we know that voice quality is critical to having a great video calling experience, so we also elevated the audio in the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD with a quad mic array. Just like you can't accept a phone call when the audio is poor, you can't have a great video call with poor voice."

Rounding out the robust feature set of the Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD is the bundled Live! Central 3 software suite with advanced video and audio effects, avatar creation, movie creation, desktop sharing features and surveillance capabilities.

Pricing and Availability
The Creative Live! Cam inPerson HD is available now for US$149.99 at creative.com. For more information about Creative's complete line of web cams check out www.us.creative.com.

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Creative Live! inPerson HD webcam does onboard processing, doesn't milk your CPU