This Christmas, my mother got the Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 2 pack so that we can video chat with her when we’re at our home. Although the camera is certainly not a high-end webcam, it is enough for basic video chat needs. I won’t write a comprehensive review here, my purpose is just to clarify a few things that I’ve learned about the camera and then document how I set it up on my mom’s computer so others can properly configure things if anything later goes awry. For a helpful review of the VX-6000 (which appears to be the same camera except for a wide-angle lens and probably a few other perks), see this review from a guy in New Zealand.
The camera itself was fairly easy to install, and the proprietary Microsoft software works pretty well (although it’s a little too resource-intensive for my taste). You don’t have to install Windows Live Messenger to use the camera, but you will need it or Skype in order to make calls with the camera.
The camera appears to be incompatible with Windows XP Media Center and Vista 64-bit edition. I am not aware if Microsoft has updated the driver to solve this issue at this point, but this seems to be an issue from what I can tell reading online reviews and user forums.
Compatibility with Skype and Google Video Chat is mixed. The camera works with Skype basically “out of the box,” but at this point it does not work with Google Video Chat at all. Maybe a Google engineer will fix this sometime, but for now the testing window in my Gmail settings shows a black screen and the camera never turns on.
Although the camera works fine with Skype, getting the “Live Call” button on top to work with Skype requires a fairly simple hack. Since my family will make most of their video calls using Skype and not Windows Live Messenger, I’ll explain that in a future post I’ve explained that in another post.