What The Tech: Webcam Shortage

What the Tech

You know about run on toilet paper the past couple of months but there’s a shortage of another item that might surprise you. Webcams or web cameras are hard to find and almost impossible to find at a fair price.

You can blame the coronavirus pandemic, sending millions of people to work from home. And on top of that, kids are having school with their teachers, and it’s all happening on Zoom or Skype. The last few weeks, people have been buying webcams like a 24 roll pack of Charmin.

If you look on Amazon, you might find some cheap Chinese webcams, but the better webcams from Logitech and Microsoft are either hard to find, or marked up.

All of the webcams listed on Amazon and Walmart are sold and or shipped from 3rd parties.

And those sellers are getting what they can. This Logitech webcam was $40 at Amazon last summer. Today, it’s $254 and will take almost 3 weeks to get here.

If you need a webcam right away, your phone will work.

EpoCam is a desktop and mobile app that turns any phone into a web cam. Connect your phone to your computer through WiFi or a USB. You’ll need to download a program for your computer that connects to the phone’s app. When you log into Zoom, Skype or any other streaming service, the EpoCam will show up as a camera option.

I used it for a Zoom meeting the other day. I put the phone on a tripod, but you can prop it up on your desk. By using the front facing camera, It’s high definition, 4K even. You can connect audio through the phone and the EpoCam as well but you have the option to add a microphone.

If you have a laptop, you most likely have a webcam built into the screen’s frame. EpoCam is primarily for desktop computers. If you have an old smartphone lying around that isn’t being used, it’ll make a good webcam to use permanently.

EpoCam is an $8 app for iPhones and $5.50 in the Google Playstore for Android devices, which is a lot less than you’d pay for true web cam. There’s also a free version with fewer bells and whistles.

Oh, since it’s in 4k, you might want to fix your hair and put on makeup for that next business meeting or presentation over Zoom.

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