WVC200 - Linksys Wireless PTZ Internet Camera with Audio
I bought a WVC200 via Amazon.com (2007-09-01). The buying experience was
pleasant, but the camera ... well, this is the first product from
Amazon that I've ever returned.
The camera has an embedded web-server (this class of camera is sometimes
called an IP camera and sometimes called an internet camera ... it ought to be
called a web camera, but that name's been stolen by dumb cameras
connected to servers on the web :)
It can connect to your intranet either via WiFi or via wired Ethernet.
The power is from an included A/C adapter.
The cost, via Amazon.com, is roughly $270 before shipping.
- The name/description is an outright lie. The camera has no
ZOOM, and should not be called PTZ (Pan, Tilt Zoom). It has a 2x
*DIGITAL* zoom, which is not a true zoom. (True zoom is
completely optical ... any marginally competent end-user can do
digital zooming. No camera should offer digital zoom...it's
always misleading at best and useless at worst.)
As consumers, we should not let any camera maker label something
as "zoom" if it isn't optical zoom. (We may have lost the
"megabyte = 1024 * 1024" battle for disk drives, but this war
isn't over yet :)
- The image quality simply isn't as good as it should be.
From over-pixelation to an inability to handle the lighting of
outdoor scenes, the picture quality is far less than that of my
older Toshiba webcam.
- The streaming video software REQUIRES AN ACTIVE-X
DOWNLOAD! This means it won't work on Macintosh, Linux, etc.,
and even on Windows PCs it requires Internet Explorer (and won't
work with Firefox or other browsers). That's simply an
unacceptably bad technical limitation. Linksys should be ashamed
- The streaming video can't handle less-than-speedy
connections. Over a cable modem, I can't get it to produce a
640x480 picture (its best resolution) at anything faster than 1
frame per second. Setting the frame rate higher results in about
1/16 of each photo being uploaded before the next one gets
displayed. (Tested with wired Ethernet.)
- The WiFi function is, as other 'net commentators have
mentioned, nearly useless. When close to either of Linksys WiFi
routers, it drops 25% of its packets. When placed at a window,
20 feet from a WiFi router, it can't communicate with it.
- Unlike some competitors, there appears to be no URL I can
give out that could be used without a username/password logon to
simply fetch the current picture.
- The "base" that the camera fits into is laughably poorly
designed. The camera has probably less than 1/64th of an inch of
its body that fits into the base ... which means that it cannot
be inserted into the base securely. Worse, still, is the
orientation of the RJ-45 jack ... when a high-quality Ethernet
cable is plugged in, it tends to protrude and somewhat disrupt
the stance of the camera.
- It allegedly has the ability to periodically upload pictures via
FTP, but with the poor picture quality, I didn't test this
Dynamic DNS was not tested.
- Ease of setup. The setup was reasonably straightforward. I took
a laptop (with Windows and Internet Explorer) and changed it to
have IP address 192.168.1.10 (IIRC), rebooted, plugged a cable
directly into the WVC200, and was able to see it and configure
it. However, I suspect that the installation might be much
harder for most users, particularly those wanting to access the
camera through a router/firewall.
- Microphone included. The camera includes a microphone, which
worked adequately when I briefly tested it. Because of where I
want to install the camera, the ability to disable it was
important (and was provided by the camera software).
- The base of the camera has a small LCD status display showing the
IP address of the camera, which is a nice (and unusual) feature.
I'm returning it.
I'll revert to using my Toshiba IK-WB11A
Webcam, which can (in theory) go up to 1280x960 resolution
(although it, too, has a cable modem upload problem, so I've got
it limited to 640x480). Toshiba's support stinks, and I've even had
a manager promise to get back to me (and never did) ...
but the camera does mostly work fairly well (better than the Linksys).
I suspect that what I want is a camera with a built-in web server where
the *entire* souce is open source, so I can fix the darn bugs myself :)