Leaks have been flying around the Interweb all week, but now Microsoft has finally gotten official on its my powerful webcam to date.
The 'LifeCam Cinema' not only looks the part, but becomes the first dedicated consumer PC webcam to offer true widescreen video with a native 720p sensor (the Samsung Scopia VC240 doesn't count). This isn't a shorting chaning 960 x 720 pixels like we've seen in bridging solutions in the past either, we're talking 1280 x 720 at a full 30 frames per second.
Notable extras are a proper autofocus, which Microsoft claims will stay sharp whether the subject is the other side of the room or within 4in inches of the lens. On top of this is a 4x digital zoom, noise cancelling and Microsoft's own 'ClearFrame Technology', which boosts image processing. A 74 degree wide angle capture also means everything should stay in frame, no matter how far it may be sticking out...
"When we started working on LifeCam Cinema almost a year ago, we were motivated by the fact that new computer displays were predominantly widescreen and top social networking sites were allowing widescreen video," said Microsoft Hardware systems engineer, Stuart Milton. "LifeCam Cinema sets the stage for the next generation of webcam use: uploading widescreen videos with amazing quality to social networking sites and soon chatting live with friends and family in widescreen format."
And, err, other stuff.
Meanwhile a new beta version of Movie Maker has been launched on Windows Live this week to help make the most of the new model. The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema goes on sale in September with a predictably premium RRP of £69.99. It also comes with a three year warranty. Handy if you get it wet, or something.