A monitor with a webcam. Too hard?

A monitor with a built-in webcam. Sounds easy. It's not. Well, it is, but no one makes them. Why?

Surely not.

There are cameras all around us: on our mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and all-in-one PCs. If we can fit webcams in these devices, why can't someone integrate a webcam in to something as large as a computer monitor?

Yes, yes, we all want a thin bezel on our shiny new monitor. You've already got a thin bezel around your laptop, and that's got a webcam above it. The typical lid of a laptop is about 3mm to 5mm thick. The top of a PC monitor can be up to 15mm thick. There's plenty of space up there.

Just take the same part that's in my laptop and put it in my big-screen monitor. Transfer the video signal over HDMI or DisplayPort.

Even if I have to plug in a separate USB cable to activate the camera, that's fine. I'm already buying a separate webcam and plugging it in by USB now, so I've got no problems plugging in a USB cable from my monitor to my PC.

While you're at it...

While you're at it, build me a monitor with a webcam, speakers, and a microphone, and make it a Windows Hello camera while you're at it. Put a USB-C Thunderbolt connector on the monitor, and give me one cable to plug in to my laptop or desktop PC that takes care of everything in one connection.

I don't need 4K, I don't need HDR, HDR 10, or HDR 6. I don't need perfect P3 colour gamut. Just put the webcam, mic, and speakers in there. Please!

It would be nice to have an extra Thunderbolt port back there to daisy-chain my external hard drive, and a few USB-A ports to plug in my wired keyboard and USB devices like my phone.

In fact, my next phone is likely to be an Android phone with a USB-C 3.1 or 3.2 port. Put a few USB-C non-Thunderbolt ports back there, behind the monitor.

And another thing.

Another thing. Somebody please sell me a wired keyboard with the following features:

  • Excellent keys

  • A number pad

  • Two USB-A ports, one on the left and one on the right

  • Two USB-C non-Thunderbolt ports, one on the left, and one on the right

  • An SD card slot on the back

  • The cable that connects to my computer should be USB-C to USB-C, and come with a USB-C to USB-A adapter. This will let me plug the keyboard (and its hub) in to my MacBook or Windows PC with the included USB-C cable.

I love my Apple wired keyboard with the two USB ports. It was awesome. It made it so easy to plug in a phone or USB thumb drive without having to find the ports on the back of my iMac or side of my laptop, when using my full-size keyboard in front of a big monitor.

I must have bought at least 6 SD-card readers to plug in to the side of my keyboard. The first one I bought stayed there for six months, then suddenly went missing. The replacement also went missing. People obviously thought it was a great idea, and stole it when I was away from my desk at the office.

Back to the webcam

I personally don't mind if the webcam has a privacy shutter or not. Include it for those who want it.

I like using Windows Hello on my PC, and I like Face ID on my iPhone. Next year, more and more iPhones and iPads will have Face ID. More and more Samsung phones will have Face Unlock. Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, and others can cram smart cameras into phones, why can't I get a monitor with a built-in camera in 2018?

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas


XYZ Media Group

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