Wireless webcam is easy to use, hard to beat

Apr 18, 2011 By Jim Rossman
the Dropcam Echo

I've been a fan of live webcams since I discovered them online years ago. I've also always wanted to set up my own camera, but it's not an easy undertaking.

The camera must be on your home network, and you must have your own website. A Web page must also be set up to display the uploaded video. It always seemed like too much hassle.

Dropcam offers a solution.

Easy to configure, Dropcam has two wireless Web camera models - with or without a microphone.

The original Dropcam ($199, dropcam.com) is video-only, but the Dropcam Echo ($279) adds sound and a .

You can connect the Dropcam to your wired or wireless network and have your webcam broadcasting in just a few minutes after an easy setup.

Dropcam is not designed like other Web cameras. It does not record video to be stored on your computer. All video is transmitted to and viewed from the Dropcam website.

Here's where it gets interesting. Dropcam can record your for playback like a DVR.

This is especially handy for security-conscious people or small business owners who want to have 24-hour of their home or workplace without the hassle of setting up a PC or DVR to make their own recording system.

But the recording is not free.

Dropcam has two options - maintaining footage from the last seven days ($8.95 per month per camera) or the last 30 days ($24.95 monthly per camera).

Of course, you can have as many cameras as you like. If you need to copy any of the recorded footage, clips can be downloaded from the website to your computer.

If you just want to watch the live stream, there is no monthly charge.

If you have a Dropcam Echo, the recorded stream's timeline will be bookmarked to show instances of detected motion, making it a perfect . Scrubbing through hours of footage can be done in seconds.

You have to log in to the Dropcam website to watch the video. You can also send emails to others to invite them to have access as well, but they will have to register at the Dropcam site.

As the camera owner, you control the list of who is allowed to see the video. You can also embed the feed into your own website to allow anyone who sees your page to view the live feed.

It gets a little better.

There are iPhone and Android apps to allow monitoring of your Dropcams from anywhere.

Dropcam can also send alerts to your phone when motion or audio is detected. For instance, a Dropcam can be pointed at your front door to get a notification that your kids made it home from school.

This could be the perfect solution for nervous parents to keep track of the babysitter or for pet owners to see if Fido is really sleeping on the sofa when they're away.

Dropcam

Pros: Easy to set up. Viewable from any Web-enabled computer or iPhone or Android phone.

Cons: Expensive. Not weatherproof.

Bottom line: Slick implementation. Does its job well. Business owners should love this.

Explore further: Samsung debuts new Nook tablet with larger screen

1.5 /5 (6 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Startup lets webcams detect people

Feb 08, 2010

Vitamin D Video on Monday released a finished version of software that detects people in surveillance footage recorded by common Web cameras.

A Megapixel Peek into Your Surroundings

Sep 22, 2004

Nokia today announced a wireless home monitoring solution with an integrated motion detector, the Nokia Remote Camera. With the ability to capture megapixel-quality images and video clips with sound, even in low-light and outdoor conditions, the Nokia Rem ...

Four tech gifts for dads, grads

Jun 11, 2010

Graduations are coming up, and Father's Day is right around the corner. Almost everyone is looking for a gift for somebody.

VuNow Sends Free Internet Video Directly to Your TV

Dec 31, 2008

Verismo's VuNow is an affordable solution for video lovers that sends free internet video content directly to your Television set. VuNow only takes a minute to connect, just plug in the AC power, connect your ...

Recommended for you

Apple computer sells for record $905K in NY

3 hours ago

One of the first Apple computers ever built has sold in New York for $905,000, leading Bonhams auction house to declare it the world's most expensive computer relic.

Review: Better cameras, less glare in iPad Air 2

Oct 22, 2014

If I've seen you taking photos with a tablet computer, I've probably made fun of you (though maybe not to your face, depending on how big you are). I'm old school: I much prefer looking through the viewfinder ...

Samsung phones cleared for US government use

Oct 21, 2014

Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday some of its Galaxy mobile devices were approved by the National Security Agency for use with classified U.S. government networks and data, a boost to the company's efforts to expand in ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

brianlmerritt
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
advertorial?
6_6
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
yeah physorg merged with CNET, didnt you know
humanist
not rated yet Apr 25, 2011
I've been using Logitech WVC-200's for years. No monthly charge; pan-tilt-zoom; 640x480 (not dropcams 320x240;) and they'll email you a video when they detect motion..

Nothing new here.