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Webcam on my website

Hello, I need to put a webcam (realtime) on my website and I don't really know how it works.
I need the person that visits the website to be able to see a realtime video of another peroson and be able to chat with (type text) at the same time.


How does it work?

What do I need for that?

Do I need a special server for this end?
   if yes, where can I find one, any suggestions?


Thanks a lot!

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Gagik
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Gagik
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1 Solution
 
Julian MatzCommented:
You basically need to get an appropriate webcam, decide whether to 1.) use a third party service, 2.) use an in-house server for streaming, or 3.) use a remote server with FTP.

After that, and probably the most difficult task, is to find the right software. Depending on what you are going to use the streams for, and how professional it should look, the software (webcam and server software) can get very expensive.

I found a couple of webcam software reviews here:
www. webcamworld.com/reviews/software.html

For server software, you should take a look here:
http://www.hotscripts.com/


Hope this helps...
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coreybryantCommented:
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ClickCentricCommented:
There's a lot more considerations to this than one would think.  I've set up such a site before.  With most of these 'cheap and easy' solutions, they don't take into consideration things like multiple camera feeds.  And a lot of them simply upload a series of pictures via ftp or the like, but all it takes is for the file access timing to be off a little and suddently the whole thing comes crashing down.  Does this have to be attached directly to your site?  If not, a quick google search for camchat servers or webcam reflectors will bring up some options.
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GagikAuthor Commented:
Hi ClickCentric, yes, I want the webcam to be diretly on my website, and I'd like to be able to communicate with many persons at the same time, which means many people will see the sanme webcam (in realtime). I dont know if ftp is a good idea, since the whole website is on http.

Actually, as much as understand, I need:
1st - a software that will upload the video in realtime to the server and
2nd - a server that will broadcast many instances of the same video to many people.

I need to know what program does it take and what servers do this. I think its a bit to complicated to create such a server by myself, isn't it better to find such service on internet?

Thanks a lot!

I'll add more points if you wish, I just need a solution!

Thanks to all!
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Julian MatzCommented:

Maybe this might help:
http://developers.webcamworld.com/intro.html

I had a quick read through it and it seems pretty informative... It also outlines basic hardware and software requirements, along with a list of some specific hard- and software.
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ClickCentricCommented:
Well, I can definitely name hosting companies that will do this for you, but in order to recommend the right type of one, I'd really need to know the 'nature' of the content.  Many hosting companies won't touch adult stuff.  Any hosting service will work, actually, but you want to find one with the right mix of bandwidth and options for what you want to use it for.  Particularly, it's important to know if you'll be charging for access to it.  Some hosting companies are geared specifically towards this sort of thing where others will host it, but you're on your own to set it up.  And even what part of the world you're in matters for various reasons.

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GagikAuthor Commented:
Yes, it is for adult content, I think at least 50 clients at the time, good video quality + chat, I need it to be very easy to set up, so basicaly I'd like the host to do the whole thing for me. It's mostly for USA and Canada and I'd like to have a large bandwidth.

I need that once the visitor logs in, he sees the web cam with a chat, as simple as that. And I need all the visitors be able to send text messages to the same person (poser), so one poser can do what all of them ask.
Example, we have one person (woman) and 15 visitors that watch her realtime, and send her text messages, and she does what they ask, in priority order.

I found 123flashchat.com, I'm currently checking if it will work. I don't know if there are batter onces.

Thanks a lot!
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ClickCentricCommented:
Ok, in this situation, you're going to have to hire a site management company.  The reason for this is that the camera technology is flaky.  And you can't really run a professional site off of a webcam because they're not reliable.  And if you're charging people money, things will get ugly really fast with your customers.  If you only have one model going, it's not really cost effective to have your own site.  It would be better to sign on as a 'model feed' with other sites.  They pay you for access to the content of your camera.  Specific deals vary.

Or, if you don't really need the site around it (does the page do other things?  Sell other things?  Provide other important functionality?), a service like ifriends is an inexpensive way to start such an operation.  Then you can set up a website that simply redirects to the ifriends camera for your site.  It gives you an easier way to manage a small number of cameras and webcams are more acceptable on there because you can't charge as much.  But, you don't have to spend as much, so for a single model, it usually turns out to be the better deal.  

As an example, setting up a dedicated site with the proper equipment will cost around around $1500 or more for the equipment alone for the first camera and probably half of that for each additional camera (you want a real video camera and a real digitizer, not a webcam, if you plan on charging for it.  Webcams can't do things like zoom in and out which is important for a professional video feed.  The good news is that the hosting is relatively cheap.  You shouldn't need to spend more than $50/month.  But beware cheap hosting plans.  There's 2 problems with them.  1) Bandwidth costs money.  They have to make the money somehow.  If they're not charging you for it, then they've got so many customers sharing it that you're going to be disappointed.  2)  Overage charges get very expensive, very quickly.  You want to figure out how much bandwidth you need before you start (take the size of a single saved digitize image and multiply it by the number of seconds in a day that you expect to have the camera running and multiply that by 31 and multiply that by the number of cameras, i = (3600 x h) x 31 x c, where i = image size in kb, h = number of operational hours per day and c = number of cameras you're running. this will tell you a safe amount of bandwidth that you need to host your site) and make sure your plan will cover this so that you don't end up spending 5x what you thought your monthly cost would be because you didn't plan for the bandwidth.

The whole matter can quickly become complex, which is why I suggest hiring a site management company.  Problems are going to arise and if you're not very familiar with the technology, it can take a long time to sort things out...and downtime=lost money.
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GagikAuthor Commented:
Very interesting information!!!

What a site management company is?

What ifriend is? do you know some websites that do it?

I'm planning to build the wbesite by myself, I have experience in that. And also I'll be the webmaster, so I think I'll be in charge of tech support if something goes wrong with the site.

I don't really know how many models are we going to have, and neither I know the amount they want to invest, so I'm not sure whether it's going to be a simple webcam site or professional video.

Thanks!





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ClickCentricCommented:
The last section is imperative information.  You need to know how many cameras are going to be running to pick a proper hosting company and set up the site properly.  Also, I'd strongly recommend outsourcing the support to a managed hosting provider.   If you're not familiar with this technology already and the site needs to be up and running any time in the near future, you're not likely going to have enough time to learn it all.

As for your other questions:

A site management company is a lot like a web hosting company only they provide addtional services.  They can help with design and implementation and even sometimes the hardware and intergration.  It's more of a full service company for sites that use specialized technology such as this.

Ifriends is a very large webcam chat hosting service.  But even they have limitations on what they'll allow.  You'd have to look at http://www.ifriends.com to see if it suits your needs.
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