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0870 511 1999




Network cameras or ‘netcams’ have been around for a few years but haven’t really taken off yet, possibly because early models were awkward to install and use.  It’s also a tricky concept; netcams -- not to be confused with webcams -- are self-contained video servers with their own Internet Protocol (IP) address and connect directly to a computer network without having to go through a PC.


Pictures from a netcam can be viewed on any network PC using a standard web browser like Internet Explorer. If the network is also connected to the Internet then you can keep watch from almost anywhere in the world. The list of applications is endless, from remote video monitoring of homes and workplaces, to keeping an eye on your kids at the local playgroup while you are at work.


Sony’s SNC-RZ30 does all that, plus a whole lot more, but the key features are simplicity, flexibility and characteristic good looks. The camera module is mounted on a motorised pan/tilt platform giving it an all round field of view plus it has a 25x optical zoom which can be electronically extended to 300x so not much can escape its gaze.


The pan tilt and zoom (PTZ) functions are controlled from the camera’s own internally generated website; just type in the IP or web address in a browser window and a Welcome page appears with a choice of Java or Active X ‘viewers’. The Active X applet gives the best results with steady PTZ control and smooth video. You can ‘grab’ still images and store them as JPEG files. The camera can also be programmed to send stills as email attachments to a nominated address if the camera’s built in motion detector or external alarm sensors are triggered. Stills and sequences may be stored on Memory Sticks loaded into PC Card adaptors that fit into the front of the camera. As an added bonus the latest firmware is configured for a Cisco Aero wireless networking card so there’s no need for the camera to be physically connected to a network. Details are still a bit sketchy but hopefully Wi-Fi support will follow.



It only take a minute or to set up. The network connection is via a standard Ethernet cable and power comes from an external mains adaptor. The camera’s IP address is assigned from one of the PCs on the network using a simple utility on the set-up CD-ROM. All other adjustments, to the camera’s auto and manual exposure, white balance system, motion detector, alarm, email and security features are via a password-protected menu on the Welcome page.



Picture quality is outstanding, comparable with conventional general-purpose CCTV cameras in terms of resolution, colour accuracy, low-light sensitivity and exposure control. The PTZ controls can be a bit sluggish, depending on the network or Internet connection, which makes it hard to follow a moving subject but it has a very neat ‘Vectoring’ facility where you point at something on the screen, or define a box using the mouse pointer and the camera automatically swings around and zooms in on it.



Typical Sony style, build quality, performance, and price… but you’ve probably already thought of a dozen uses for one and you don’t need to be a nethead or computer geek to set it up or use one.




New generation netcam -- slick design and simple to set up and use. A smart way to keep an eye on things whether you’re next door or on the other side of the world. 





Remote video monitoring over network or Internet using standard web browser, pan/tilt/zoom functions, built-in motion detector and alarm connections, still image capture and forwarding by email, PC card slot for Memory Stick adaptor and wireless network card, up to 30fps video, day/night mode, composite video output



f = 2.4 mm to 60 mm, (25x optical/300x electronic zoom)



3 lux



640 x 480 pixels (digital) 480 lines (analogue)



140 x 175 x 144 mm (whd)








Ó R. Maybury 2003, 1305




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