To get around this, you can also use WiLife to send yourself email ‘alerts’ that contain either video clips, still images or simple text messages warning you that the system has detected some movement. This is handy in the event of false alarms – such as the neighbour’s cat peering in through a window – but it also means that in the event of a real break-in the emailed video alerts can be safely stored on a separate machine, or simply left on your mail server.
'Oh, I seem to be being burgled...'
To receive these alerts you’ll need to register for an account on the WiLife website. That was straightforward, but the poor manual has a tendency to simply list features without explaining how to use them properly. That left us struggling to set up the email alerts option, and we eventually had to put a call in to Logitech for a bit of help.
Our other complaint is that the quality of the video image - 640x480 - wasn’t particularly impressive, even taking into account the compression needed to send the video signal over a network.
Once you’ve registered for your online WiLife account you can also view the live feed from your DVS camera using a web browser running on any computer that has internet access, or even from a mobile phone or PDA that uses the Windows Mobile software. You can also register for a ‘platinum’ WiLife account, which costs an additional £49 per year. This activates additional features in the WiLife software, such as the ability to upload recorded clips onto a remote server.
Unfortunately, you still have to upload clips manually from the PC that's connected to the camera. It’s a shame that you can’t set the PC to automatically upload clips onto the remote server for safe-keeping, as that would be much more useful option.
Even so, the ability to send yourself email alerts and to monitor the camera online does mean that you can monitor your home or office from pretty much anywhere in the world. It also ensures that there’s a way to save potentially vital video evidence if you are unlucky enough to experience a break-in.
The DVS system is expensive, and certainly has some rough edges that need to be worked out, but it could still earn its keep by providing some extra peace of mind when you’re away from home or the office.
More Gadget Reviews...
Logitech Digital Video Security System
I understand where Logitech's coming from - they're targeting folks who're NOT tech experts and who can't be bothered with setups, cabling, Linux, etc. These are people who have money, trust the Logitech brand, are comfortable with non-tech DIY... a large large market, IMO.
While I'm at it, another service targeting similar folks (though its free and webcam based) is HomeCamera (http://www.homecamera.com). No video streaming (only video clips), though that's set to change early 2009. Motion detection alerts (including videos) are sent direct to mobile phones, storage is all server based, sharing is easy, scheduling of recording is easy, yada yada yada. Covered by Technofile on Sky News a few months ago (the video should still be there somewhere...)
Not new ..
It's cheap compared to some .. I know it's a bit more professional and it's what they are experts in, but Axis charge around £600 per camera for anything of decent quality. And they also have the ability to e-mail the footage (although if your a business that can afford such a system you can afford to lock the server running Axis Camera Station away so it can't be stolen)
Why the need for a subscription (even if it is a free subscription) to some proprietary service to receive email alerts? My little Y-cam IP camera sends me motion detection email alerts directly through my ISP's mail server without any need for registration or subscription. It also doesn't need any special software on my PC, indeed it doesn't even need the PC to be on (great for saving power), because the motion detection and emailing is done right from the camera. It has its shortcomings, for example wireless networking with WPA2 security being unreliable, and lack of PoE (a moot point if you are using wireless), but for around £130 I'm quite happy.
I haven't come across a single video security system that doesn't email/text you. Unless you consider an ordinary webcam...
Aren't their wireless keyboards and mice preposterously unsecure?
Last I heard a hacking team had worked out their woeful wireless signal encryption, turned out it could be hacked in a fraction of a second.
...And we're meant to trust them with an extortionately priced camera security system!?
We'll see how long it takes before hacking team reports come in where such cams are being hacked into. Throw a towel over them when surfing the porn eh lads!