Razer has talked before about its new webcam, but at CES 2016 the Stargazer has officially launched. Lots of buzz surrounds it, like claims of being the world's most advanced webcam, but it's certainly a product to take notice of.
While Razer is touting it as a gamer-focused product, as you'd expect, its appeal will go beyond just gaming.
The Stargazer is powered by Intel's Realsense technology, meaning it can also be used for facial recognition with Windows Hello's biometric security. It's not the cheapest accessory you'll find, though, so if that's all you'd use it for it's probably not the one to get. But if you're into streaming, Razer hopes the Stargazer is going to be right up your street.
It can capture video at 720p at 60fps, perfect for streaming to Twitch or YouTube with your games, or it can do 1080p at 30fps, perfect for high-quality video calling. It also boasts a noise-cancelling automatic dual-array microphone for great quality sound (if you're not already using a dedicated microphone).
The RealSense technology also plays a role in the Stargazer's Dynamic Background Removal feature, designed to make it easier on streamers to get the results they desire. The camera's 3D capabilities mean there shouldn't be any need for a green screen setup to make what's behind you disappear in favor of something else.
The Razer Stargazer set to be available in Q2 2016 for $199.99, though Razer will be distributing free preview units to streamers that are part of its sponsored program.
Razer announces the world's most advanced webcam
Razer Stargazer is the world's first webcam designed for streamers with industry-leading frame rate capture, Dynamic Background Removal, 3D scanning, facial and gesture recognition, and more
LAS VEGAS (CES 2016) – Razer, a world leader in connected devices and software for gamers, today announced the Razer Stargazer desktop webcam. It delivers the best video capture quality in a webcam available today and simplifies traditional streaming setups.
The Razer Stargazer will completely revolutionize the traditional webcam of yesterday by focusing on streamers as opposed to video conferencing users. This webcam sets a new benchmark for frame rate capture in streaming: 720p at 60 frames per second as opposed to the 30 frames per second found in traditional webcams. The Razer Stargazer is also up to the benchmark for video conferencing, capturing hi-definition 1080p video at 30 frames per second. The Razer Stargazer also includes an automatic noise cancelling dual array mic.
Powered by the Intel® RealSense SR300 camera, the Razer Stargazer is also enabled with next-generation features that push the boundaries on what a consumer-grade webcam is capable of right out of the box.
Razer Stargazer's Dynamic Background Removal capability eliminates the need for full-scale green screen setups traditionally used by streamers. The webcam's Intel RealSense technology enables the camera to intelligently sense depth to separate foreground from background. This feature works with popular broadcasting software like OBS, XSplit and Razer Cortex: Gamecaster.
The Dynamic Background Removal capability also opens possibilities beyond gaming. Video conferences using Skype with Personify will be able to remove or swap backgrounds. FaceRig, QQ Video and ooVoo are also supported by the camera. Face and object 3D scanning will work out-of-the-box, and users can accurately port real-life objects into the digital world in full-HD. This holds promise for game development, as captured 3D scans can quickly be ported directly into development engines like Unity.
The Razer Stargazer also offers the most advanced facial and gesture recognition in a consumer camera. Up to 78 points on the face and 22 points on each hand can be tracked by the webcam. With this sensor advent, users can unlock their computers via Windows Hello's face security system, launch applications with gestures, and play games that track facial expressions and hand movements like Nevermind and Laserlife for a new level of immersion.
"Webcams have not had any real innovation in several years, beyond resolution quality," says Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan. "There are exponentially more people streaming and video conferencing than ever before and their needs are constantly evolving. The Razer Stargazer can revolutionize work done by game streamers, YouTube personalities, 3D designers and game developers with additional benefits to the average computer user. Simply stated, this is the webcam of the future."
Game streaming in particular has seen major growth in recent years. A 2015 report by SuperData says that gaming-related streaming content and their studios are worth $3.8 billion worldwide with more than 480 million tuning in.
The Razer Stargazer joins Razer's one-stop-shop for streaming hardware – including the Razer Seiren and Seiren Pro microphones and related accessories – and will be available in Q2 2016. Razer plans to send out a limited number of Razer Stargazer units free to streamers via its Sponsored Streamer Program.
For more information, visit http://affiliates.digitalriver.com/z/555050/CD220848/&subid1=d_wp&subid2=d_wp&lnkurl=http://www.razerzone.com/stargazer.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
ouch. will paul aka EastX get it? #StreamTeam
The feature that allows you to cut yourself from the background without a green screen is a feature of the hardware, so I hope this will at least make software aware of it and will let everyone who owns a RealSense use it. I've been researching about this before and it's been in with the RealSense SDK since day 1, but no software seems to support it. It's good that this might change, though it's a shame that it's because Razer makes one (though granted, it's the first commercial standalone RealSense camera available). Edit: Actually, many of the selling points listed in the pitch text are RealSense features you can get with any RealSense camera including the SDK device.
So how does this and the Intel SDK camera compare? Right away Intel at $99 has this beat in price.
The camera on the Intel dev kit is pretty appalling.
I would expect better than 30 frames at 1080p if I'm spending 200 usd on a webcam.
Webcam for streakers
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