A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams its image in real time to or through a computer to computer network. When "captured" by the computer, the video stream may be saved, viewed or sent on to other networks via systems such as the internet, and email as an attachment. When sent to a remote location, the video stream may be saved, viewed or on sent there. Unlike an IP camera (which connects using Ethernet or Wi-Fi), a webcam is generally connected by a USB cable, or similar cable, or built into computer hardware, such as laptops.
The term 'webcam' (a clipped compound) may also be used in its original sense of a video camera connected to the Web continuously for an indefinite time, rather than for a particular session, generally supplying a view for anyone who visits its web page over the Internet. Some of them, for example, those used as online traffic cameras, are expensive, rugged professional video cameras.