Good View of NetGear VueZone
The addition of the NetGear VueZone system of wireless IP-connected night vision surveillance cameras was recently announced by the company. The demand for home and business security products has increased over the past few years, with surveillance systems that allow homeowners and business owners to keep an eye on their properties being an area that has seen tremendous growth.
What Is the NetGear VueZone System?
In a nutshell, the NetGear VueZone is a system of cameras, both high- and low-light level, that require no cords or cables to deliver video images to any IP-connected device that is properly configured. The cameras that comprise the system are small and can be prominently located or hidden in small, out of the way areas, so that video monitoring can be carried out surreptitiously.
According to the company’s recent press release, the system achieves night vision capability through the use of an infrared lamp that is powered by an AC power source, allowing the night vision (low-light level in industry parlance) cameras to be mounted anywhere without any wires connecting them to power or data feeds. This configuration allows the user to use a single lamp to provide infrared illumination to a large area, allowing multiple cameras to make use of the IR light source.
Having the external light source allows the cameras to consume very small amounts of power, which allows them to be powered by batteries. The only apparent limitation to where the cameras can be located is signal strength of the wireless network — the cameras have to be placed within range of the included base station.
The system is able to be configured to allow the cameras to start recording the video feed when motion in the covered area is detected. When this motion is detected, the system is able to send an alert signal to a device with Internet access, as well as stream the video to just about any Internet-connected device. The NetGear VueZone system is “nanny cam” on steroids, allowing you to bring up the video feed on your iOS or Android device while out on the town, so you can monitor your children and house. You can also bring up the video on any PC or Mac from home or work.
Installation and Configuration Is Straightforward and Easy
According to NetGear, the base system can be set up and configured in about 10 minutes with just a few mouse clicks.
From perusing the documentation, it looks to me like the most difficult part is deciding where best to locate the cameras and IR lamp(s) to obtain best coverage. For those with pets, the sensitivity of the motion detection feature can be easily adjusted to allow pets to move freely through the covered area, while still activating when a human-sized object moves through the frame.
All the control software is server-based, meaning that viewing the video and configuration is all done through a browser window and the software is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and even Netscape Navigator. Also, since the system is server-based and the control module controls everything, there is no software to install except the VueZone mobile apps for mobile devices.
About the Service
As stated above, the system is server based. You’ll need an active Internet connection with an available router port for the included controller module. Retail price of a base system is $129 and the base system includes one camera and two batteries, so you’ll most likely need to invest an additional $80 for another camera to obtain optimal coverage. The good thing is that the basic service is free. When you purchase and initially configure the system, you will receive a limited time free trial of the Premier service plan, so you can see what you’ll be missing when your account reverts to Basic status. With the basic service you can:
- View the video footage online or on iOS or Android mobile devices.
- Stream live video to your computer.
- Receive motion detection alerts to an email account.
- Turn the motion detection feature on and off from your smartphone as well as computers.
- View video from up to two cameras.
- Authorize two people, including yourself, to view the video.
There are, of course, premium options for the service. Premier and Elite, with both offering enhanced levels of service. For example, the Premier service plan allows you to connect up to five cameras and allow up to 10 people to view the video feeds, whereas the Elite service plan can control up to 15 cameras and can stream video to 15 different people.
Where the Basic plan only offers email alerts for motion detection with snapshots of the detected motion, both the Premier and Elite plans can add video clips of the detected motion to the email alerts. Some other features offered by both of these paid plans include:
- Uploading video to cloud servers
- Digital pan and zoom
- Time-lapse recording
- High-res snapshots
- Video clip posting to Youtube and snapshot posting to Flickr
- Ability to schedule recordings
This is a very interesting looking system with some intriguing capabilities. If you like to know what’s going on at your home or office when you’re not there, the NetGear VueZone is perfect. You don’t have to be an electrical or computer engineer to set it up and you don’t have to be an electrician or handyman to install the cameras.
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