First Looks: Compro IP60 Network Camera – Eye On The Web
All Eyes On Security
CCTV cameras have been gaining popularity in the Philippines because of their surveillance capability. If you’ve been watching TV, news about these devices’ role in capturing law offenders and reducing the prevalence of crimes has been in the spotlight. Aside from business owners, more typical consumers are already adopting these devices for security purposes.
Another more practical alternative solution for security-conscious consumers is an IP camera. Contrasted to CCTV cameras, IP cameras offer a number of beneficial features like digital zoom, encryption, and remote capability at a more affordable price point. To showcase these features, Compro Technology sent us the IP60 network camera.
Design-wise, the IP60 is a versatile IP camera that you can install just as is, like your ordinary web camera, or in a discrete fashion. On the front, the IP60 is equipped with a lens that features 10x digital zoom. The rear side, on the other hand, hosts an Ethernet port and two 3.5mm ports for audio out and mic in functions. Underneath, the IP60 has a metal plate that allows you to mount the device on your wall or ceiling. The main body is attached to a ball and socket structure for easy adjustment.
The IP60 comes with a microSD slot so that you can save images straight to it. However, do take note that you should employ a microSD card with ample storage, considering that the IP60 outputs relatively large video files even at a standard resolution. The IP60 also integrates a USB terminal that is intended for hosting Compro’s optional USB Wi-Fi adapter. It is not meant for accommodating a thumbdrive or any other external storage device.
Before you run the bundled software disc from Compro, you must plug in first the IP60 to a power outlet and to your network switch or directly to your router through a LAN cable. Your setup computer must be hardwired to the network as well.
Eventually, you will have to run Compro’s installation wizard. This application will attempt to detect the IP camera if it is present on the local network. Once the detection process is complete, the setup will provide you an IP address. Entering this IP address on your web browser enables you to view whatever the IP camera sees over the Internet. You should be able to access the IP camera on any computer or smartphone within the same network even without wires. Compro’s online viewer can work on Internet Explorer (Compro’s plugin required) and any other web browser like Mozilla Firefox or Safari (VLC plugin required).
Another alternative to remotely view the IP camera is through the Seedonk client. The Seedonk application must be installed on the computer that you are using. Whether you are going to view the camera through your Internet browser or the Seedonk client, you will be required to enter your username and password for security.
Tweaking The Camera
Both the Compro online browser and the Seedonk client provide you with options that allow you to change the IP60’s settings. The IP60 can record videos with up to 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps in H.264, MPEG-4, and MJPEG formats. Ambient sounds can be recorded using the G.711 PCM codec. However, unlike Compro’s web-based viewer, digital zoom is not enabled on the Seedonk client. If you have other Compro IP cameras, both applications can be used to setup and view multiple cameras in one console.
Based on our experience, the IP60s image quality might not be as good as that of a point-and-shoot camera, but faces were readily identifiable at a reasonable distance and under adequate lighting conditions. Image quality can fine-tuned by altering some elements like backlight compensation. Videos that were yielded by the camera, under Motion Adaptive mode, were quite jumpy and some sequences were skipped. If your subject is moving faster, do expect that some events will be missed. To prevent skipping issues, Turbo Picture mode must be activated.
The Compro IP60 is a straightforward IP camera that offers a user-friendly installation process, an important matter that most CCTV cameras fail to offer. CCTV cameras usually involve the deployment of a complex cabling system. Remotely accessible either through the Compro web-based viewer or the Seedonk client, those who are living independently and are usually away can achieve an extra sense of security. Regardless of where they are, they can have a clear perspective of what is happening in their place. Video and photo quality are tolerable and you should not expect better than that, taking into account its image sensor. Nevertheless, the IP60 completely serves its purpose as an IP camera for average consumers.
(Update as of June 13, 2011: To prevent skipping issues, enable Turbo Picture under Video Settings.)