x360 Camera: when can we expect it, and what will it do?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Guden Oden, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    I didn't think this topic was fit for the tech forum, so I put it here. ANYWAY... :)

    As we know, the camera didn't make launch day. Still, it looks yummalicious, so I'm sure more people than I am interested in it. How long do we have to wait you think? I would guess around spring, but you never know. Could be summer/autumn too I guess, if they run into software support issues.

    Also, what features will be added?

    If it's just a standard-rez webcam a la Eyetoy, any motion tracking support is going to be fairly rudimentary as per default. Still, there have been CMOS sensor video capture chips capable of 1024*768 @ 30fps with a USB2 host interface available literally for years now, except nobody seems to have built an actual product around them. At least I've never been able to find one in stores.

    I read that there will be video conversation available thru Live, will this be transparent of any current software as long as it supports voice communication, or will it require special support you think? It would be really cool if MS could make it transparent...
     
  2. expletive

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    I think theres a good chance it will be a wireless device, therefore whatever the bandwidth limitations of the 360 are would apply to the capabilities of the camera (i.e. resolution, framerate, metadata, etc)
     
  3. PG2G

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    I don't think its wireless, I thought it was announced as USB2 a while ago.
     
  4. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    I remember reading something not that long ago that strongly implied it would be a conventional webcam without any EyeToy like functionality intended (though of course software could do that anyway). I can't remember where this comes from, and I can't find the info on this forum despite being quite sure I posted a linked to that info.

    Having said that, a search of the XBox site revealed this...
    http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/hardware/accessories/xbox360/cameraandmicrophone.htm


    ...which is quite contrary. Image processing actually in the camera? Not sure about that. It'll either be a very expensive camera or very simple processing. It's more than likely the software will be doing the bulk of any processing.

    Can anyone find the Camera peripheral on the site without searching? I couldn't. I don't know if that means the official specs are unconfirmed and so they've 'removed' the page, or if they just forgot to link to it, but anyone finding an actual link will help validate these specs (which I'm still unsure of, being confident I've read something different elsewhere...)
     
    #4 Shifty Geezer, Dec 21, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2005
  5. Nicked

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    1.3MP is pretty crappy.

    I think its just for video chat, fwiw. Something to compliment voice chat on live.
     
  6. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    It's not really crappy when that's roughly the screen res the console itself is running at. You gotta keep things in perspective, you can't compare it to a stills camera.
     
  7. expletive

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    The still resolution is usually higher than what the camera can capture in terms of video isnt it? If so, i wouldnt expect video at 1.3MP (or 1280x960). I would expect it will be no better than 720x480, which is still DVD resolution and would sill take up more than half the screen of a game running at 720p.

    What I do like about the camera is:

    1. Its converting the video to a usable/compressed format before it leaves the camera and not becoming yet another thing theyre dropping onto the CPU.

    2. Theyve concentrated on light performance which plagues practically all entry level video cameras these days. As long as they do it the right way and not trade brightness for grain (i.e. video noise caused by increasing the sensitivity of the CCD) then thats a big plus imo.
     
  8. Bad_Boy

    Bad_Boy god of war.
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    It will be interesting on how this next 'HD IP Eyetoy' compares to this 'Xbox360 Camera'.
    Not just in hardware, but software as well.
     
    #8 Bad_Boy, Dec 22, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2005
  9. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    Can we be sure of this? I've seen no official word on the matter, though if true it's certainly interesting. It's going to be something rather small and efficient though, because most people don't have all that much upstream bandwidth...

    Not the eyetoy though. It's actually rather good in this regard. :) Also, it's not particulary grainy - most certainly a big help when doing motion tracking.

    I'd rather think it'll be a cmos sensor tho, they're (much?) cheaper. They're also quite good these days, even semipro cameras use CMOS sensor chips nowadays rather than CCD.
     
  10. AlBran

    AlBran Ferro-Fibrous
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    It'd be neat if you could take a picture of your face and use it in a game... *shrug* I wouldn't do it, but maybe instead of your face, you can take a picture of a logo and apply it to something in-game. Kind of like an instant texture <Dr. Evil> I like to call a "photo texture".</Dr. Evil> :p
     
  11. expletive

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    Doesnt the quote in Shifty's post say as much?

    Good, glad to see this is becoming a positive trend. And youre right, the necessity for minimal grain for motion tracking probably is driving this.


    While CMOS sensors are gaining more widespread popularity in the still market, they are fairly uncommon in video cameras. I believe Sony has only two models in their consumer/pro-sumer lineup that use them, the pc1000 and the HDR-HC1(both list for over $1k). Thats not to say that it wont be CMOS, just that CCD is still in the vast majority of todays consumer video cameras.
     
    #11 expletive, Dec 22, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2005
  12. dukmahsik

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    shrug, niche device for a niche market
     
  13. Graham

    Graham Hello :-)
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    I'm pretty sure I remember reading the 360 camera will be 640x480 @ 30fps. Which is respectable. If you want *decent* image quality at that resolution/refresh you need a fairly high end web cam (with a good lens). The thing is a lot of web cams claim to be X megapixel, but in turth are still only a VGA ccd. Take the Creative Webcam Live! Ultra, which I've used quite a lot... moderatly expensive camera, 640x480 ccd, but claims to be 1.3mp. It can generally manage 24fps, but as soon as it's auto exposure logic kicks in it's frame rate tanks... If the exposure gets low, the frame rate also suffers badly because of light gathering.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of computer vision will be possible with the combined cpu + gpu. Could be an interesting use for memexport...

    At the end of the day the EyeToy is just a generic Logitech (or later another company I forget the name of) usb Webcam. It's only usb 1, so cannot handle 640x480 very well at all, and still relies heavily on jpeg-like compression to reduce bandwidth. So while it does the job at 320x240, and it's frame rate isn't too bad, it's actually a pretty rubbish camera otherwise (and pc drivers for it are... well, interesting)

    I doubt it really. Sure it will have a processor for getting the signal back to the console, but every usb camera has one of those. If it's an actual CV chip, well, thats very unlikly, because while they are very fast, they cost lots of $$$, and generally are not perticuarly programmable.
     
  14. SanGreal

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    http://www.computerandvideogames.co...eogames.com/news/news_story.php(que)id=120658

    so it will have atleast some form of in-game support. whether its just video chat, or interactivity who knows
     
  15. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    You as well? Maybe I didn't imagine it. That's what I'm expecting, and the official XB360 site doesn't suggest otherwise - they only mention a maximum of 1.3 MP.

    @ Expletive
    I don't know what is meant by their on camera processing, but it's not going to be taking away from CPU requirements. If they're compressing the data, the CPU will be decompressing it. And the actual image analysis detecting motion will need a substantial processor.

    On a related note I'm wondering how beneficial a Gigabit Ethernet camera would be. How much benefit will higher resolution and no compression artefacts have, if any?
     
  16. pipo

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    http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/8416/Xbox-360-Peripherals-High-Resolution-Pictures/

    I also remember an interview where they were talking about giving game related commands using the cam.
     
    #16 pipo, Dec 22, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2005
  17. c0_re

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    There going to wait until the games are already released, so I"ll have already played and won the game(s) by the time they release the camera?

    Does this seem a little backwards to anyone else but me?
     
  18. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    More peculiarly, they're going to wait until there's a few camera enhanced games released before releasing the camera. Why would any dev write an EyeToy like game or whatever without a device to actually use it?!
     
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