Webcam issues in Anniversary Update to be fixed in September

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If you installed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on your computer, and you can no longer use your webcam, don’t hurry to buy a new one. Your webcam works perfectly fine, it’s the OS that’s broken.

Millions of Windows users who installed the Anniversary Update bitterly regret their decision. Their webcams no longer work, and this is extremely irritating especially for professional users.

Microsoft changed the camera encoding type in the Anniversary Update, allowing only YUY2 encoding. This means that USB webcams can no longer use MJPEG or H264 encoded streams. According to the Redmond giant, this decision was taken to eliminate poor performance and quality issues on webcams.

With the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, it is now possible for multiple applications to access the camera […] It was important for us to enable concurrent camera access, so Windows Hello, Microsoft Hololens and other products and features could reliably assume that the camera would be available at any given time […] we wanted to prevent multiple applications from decoding the same stream at the same time, which would be a duplicated effort and thus an unnecessary performance hit.

H.264 allows for encoding parameters to be changed on the camera directly, and […] in a situation where multiple applications are making use of this control path, they could interfere with each other.

In other words, Microsoft admitted in an elegant manner that it messed everything up. The good news is that its Camera Team is working on a fix for the MJPEG issue, which will be pushed automatically through Windows Update. The bad news is that users have to wait for at least one week to receive the patch.

Microsoft expects this update to be released in September, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the fix will be available at the beginning of the month. “In September” can also mean at the end of the month, if unexpected events occur.  The H264 patch requires more time, and it appears the company will roll it out after the MJPEG fix is released.

[…] we would prefer not to delay the MJPEG changes, we will ship these two separately. You can expect the MJPEG media type work to reach you first.

For the time being, patience is the key.

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