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.


  1. 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 :)

  2. 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.

  3. 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 of themselves.

  4. 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.)

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


Good things...


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 :)