Is a 720p Webcam good enough for Streaming? (Answered)

Online video streaming has become common with all people, especially after the advent of the pandemic. You can find businesses and companies to adapt video streaming for their meetings and conferences. At the same time, you can also find gamers performing a lot of live streams to showcase their skill and earn money through it. While streaming is adapted to many platforms, what kind of device is recommended for it?

Some of us can suffice with a good-quality webcam while others may require a separate video camera system. In this article, we shall discuss whether a 720p webcam can be used for online video streaming and the potential benefits of using such a system.

Is a 720p webcam good enough for streaming

Is a 720p webcam good enough for streaming?

In most cases, a 720p webcam is sufficient to produce a good video stream. Except for live game streaming and YouTube content, you can use a 720p webcam for live video conferences, official meetings, and for streaming self-made videos online. Because in most of these situations, you don’t need to provide a crystal-clear quality like 4K. 

To understand why a 720p is enough for most use cases, we need to know how a webcam streams the video it captures over the internet.

How does a webcam stream video?

A webcam works like a normal camera where it has a sensor that captures the video as frames of images. These image frames are converted into pixels which are then converted into binary digits for transmission over the internet. This is how a webcam basically works. We shall look into this process in detail.

There are three processes in online web streaming of videos through any camera system:

  • Encoding
  • Transcoding
  • Content Delivery Network

Video Encoding

We already know that the webcam captures the video into frames of individual images. These images are called RAW video files which are very large in size. It is very difficult to transfer these RAW files over the internet and may take a long time even if there is a high-speed internet connection. 

Therefore, these RAW files are compressed into smaller files with the help of encoding. The RAW files will also contain many duplicate image frames which are then removed with the help of this encoding process. 

The encoding uses codecs which are used by the transmitting device to compress the files and the receiving device to decode and decompress the files for viewing. After encoding, the files are ready to be streamed over the internet.

Video Transcoding

Unlike encoding, transcoding refers to the production of a single video file with different qualities. The video captured by the webcam can be of any resolution according to the sensor present in the webcam. But the internet speed may vary and according to it, the quality of the video must alter. 

There are two types of transcoding possible:

  • Multi-Bitrate Transcoding
  • Adaptive-Bitrate Transcoding

Multi-Bitrate refers to the production of different qualities of the video file and the users can choose the quality of video according to the internet speed of the receiving device. You can find this on popular platforms like YouTube where you can choose the bitrate (quality) of the video as per your requirement. 

Adaptive transcoding doesn’t create several video files rather it will simply choose the best quality according to the internet speed. If a receiving device has a poor internet connection, the adaptive bitrate will choose the best quality that provides continuous lag-free streaming and shows it to the viewers.

Content Delivery Network

CDN refers to a bunch of servers placed around the world that helps streamers to deliver content to distant viewer present in another part of the world. The content makes several jumps from one server to another until it reaches the viewer. 

If you get a good quality CDN for live streaming, you can stream high-quality videos with fast loading times. With such CDNs, you will have fewer jumps and avoid lags while watching the videos. Most of the streaming platforms and online live conferencing platforms use high-quality CDNs to provide better streaming services.

This is how a webcam or any other camera is used for live streaming and the videos are shown to the whole world using this technology.

Read: Can You Use PlayStation Camera as Webcam?

Benefits of 720p Webcam

A 720p webcam is more beneficial in many cases than 1080p or 4K webcams due to the following reasons:

  • In many parts of the world, the internet speed is average and you cannot expect higher bandwidth access in many countries. Even if you use a 1080p or 4K webcam, the transcoding will stream the videos at 720p at the receiver end. So, it is better to use a 720p webcam.
  • You can get good quality video with 720p at a cheaper price point when compared to other high-quality webcams. 
  • Apart from resolution, the encoding used will determine the quality of the video stream. Therefore, despite the resolution, you will have to choose the best encoding technology to have better live streaming.
  • 720p webcam is suitable for many cases like live conferencing, online classes, meetings, etc. 
  • It doesn’t take up much on your internet bill and reduces your cost considerably.

Read: Can I use my smartphone camera as a webcam?

How to choose a 720p webcam for streaming?

As you have decided on the resolution of the webcam, these are the following things you must consider before buying one:

  • Frame Rate – Choose a webcam with at least a 30FPS frame rate to have a smooth video stream.
  • Encoding – Several encoding codecs are available but you can choose one with H.264 AVC encoding for high bitrate video streaming. The compression quality is good and you can get high-quality video at the receiving end.
  • Field of View – If you are using the webcam to cover a large number of people in a single frame, like a live conference, then get one with a large field of view. Otherwise, you can get the standard field of view for personal videos.
  • Autofocus – This feature can help focus the person automatically despite movement while streaming.

Read: Tips to increase your webcam quality Video


A webcam can be used for live streaming without any concern if you are using it for usual streaming like video conferences and live meetings. The 720p webcam is recommended more than a 1080p webcam, due to its advantages.

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