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Are 4K Video Conferencing Cameras Really Worth It?

4K is a term we’ve all become accustomed with through domestic TV adoption, but more and more, 4K webcams are becoming the must have technology for the office, whether that’s a 4K USB camera for a small meeting room, or boardroom.

The question is though, are 4K video conferencing cameras worth the investment and will they always work as you expect them to? It’s easy to get caught up in the quality of a good camera, but let’s take a look at what you might also want to consider. 

Which Video Conference Platforms Support 4K USB Cameras?

You may be surprised to find that two of the biggest players in the world of virtual team meetings and video conferences, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, still don’t offer support for 4K video conferencing cameras. This doesn’t mean that a 4K webcam won’t work at all, but the software just won’t take full advantage of the 4K resolution.

A woman and a man taking part in a video call

At a time when the demand for 4K video conferencing and 4K webcams is once again growing to similar levels seen during the pandemic, this lack of support seems unusual. There are alternatives for those who demand the best quality for their video conferences.

Two platforms which do support 4K video calls are Lifesize and TrueConf, the latter of which was the first platform to demonstrate 4K video calling capabilities as early as 2015.

Currently, while the big players in the video conferencing space play catch up, you’ll have to consider another software solution if your need for 4K quality is essential.

Connectivity Considerations for 4K Video Conferencing

While investing in a high quality 4K video conferencing camera might be a personal desire to have the best kit for your teams, there’s more to it than just the camera. High quality video also demands better equipment across the whole meeting room setup.

Broadband connectivity is perhaps the most critical to ensuring you get the most from a 4K video conference. While HD video calling requires just 5mbps to work effectively, holding a call with 4K resolution requires bandwidth five times higher at 25mbps. For most businesses this may not be a concern at all, however for smaller businesses in older premises or more rural locations, broadband speed can often be troublesome.

Where Will You Use The Camera?

4 people on a video conference call in a small meeting room

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of a 4K is the clarity offered by the increased resolution on offer. This increased clarity means that a good quality 4K webcam such as the JPL Agora offers better visibility for meeting spaces, meaning that all participants can be seen more clearly.

Given that most desktop PC and laptop monitors are also only capable of supporting HD resolutions, you may only want to consider a 4K USB camera for larger meeting spaces.

Cost vs Quality

Inevitably, a well designed and made 4K video conferencing camera will cost more than a camera capable of HD only and while some video conferencing platforms won’t take full advantage of a 4K webcam, something worth considering is that higher specification video conferencing cameras will contain higher specification sensors.

From the higher end CMOS image capture sensor to improved image processing, a 4K webcam being used in a HD setting will still provide improved image quality over other cameras.

But how much are you going to need to spend to get a great quality, 4K capable camera? JPL offers two models for consideration, the smaller JPL Spitfire, great if you need 4K on the move and the larger JPL Agora, a solution for small, medium and large sized meeting rooms accommodating up to 16 people.

Priced at £249.95 and £794.95 respectively, ultra HD video conferencing represents an investment for any business, but with the increased video quality and also improved audio experience from these higher end cameras, the quality will outweigh the investment for most businesses.

Supporting Technology

Something else to consider is the specification of your other meeting room video conference equipment. We know that more often than not desktop screens will only support HD video, but if you’re looking at a 4K video camera for your meeting room space, then you need to ensure you have a 4K resolution screen in the meeting room.

So Are 4K USB Cameras Worth It?

Ultimately the choice around whether an investment in a Ultra HD (UHD) video conference solution is worth it will depend on individual businesses and their situation.

There are clear advantages to higher quality cameras, even if the mainstream software used for video conferencing isn’t where it needs to be, the higher quality internal components will improve the HD experience.

We must also consider futureproofing our communication technology, with growing demand, it’s only a matter of time before more platforms offer higher resolution solutions.

4K Video Conference Camera solutions With JPL

We work hard to bring you the best virtual meeting technology at the best prices and our 4K cameras for meeting rooms are no exception. Using the highest quality CMOS sensors, you can be sure you’re getting the best value from your investment. Speak to our team to find out more about how JPL can support you in setting up your 4K USB camera solutions.

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