A webcam is a small digital video camera that connects to a computer to capture video and audio for online video calls. Laptop computers often include a thin built-in webcam integrated into the lid, just above the screen. Separate webcams that connect to a computer over a USB connection and clip to the top of a monitor are also widely available.
The most common use for a webcam is to participate in a one-on-one or group video call. You can make social calls through popular apps like Zoom, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger. You can join online teleconferences or even consult with your doctor through telehealth appointments. However, you can also use a webcam to record videos for playback or editing later. You can broadcast video from your webcam to people online using streaming platforms like Twitch. You can even use a webcam as a security camera, although dedicated security cameras offer better image quality and don't require a direct connection to a computer.
Since online video calls are often highly compressed to save bandwidth, webcams do not need to include the same high-quality optics and lenses as dedicated digital cameras. Most webcams are limited to 1080p HD video, with a few high-end webcams capable of resolutions up to 4K. However, if you want the best image quality possible for a video call regardless, many high-end digital cameras can be configured through software to work as a webcam.