AVTECH AVN80X IP CAMERA REVIEW
The AVN80X is the latest IP camera from AVtech Taiwan, like its predecessor the AVN304 it is the first IP networked CCTV camera on the market that offers H.264 and 720p HD video streaming.
A few features on the new AVN80X worth mentioning and we will be talking include:
1.3MP live MOS sensor giving you crisp clear images
HD 720P image/video giving you all the fine details you miss out on standard definition CCTV cameras
White LED, extremely bright, enough to light up a subject/room
Alarm input/output, so you can wire it to your alarm system, door contacts or PIR sensors etc
Built in PIR sensor for detection of movement
Built in microphone and speaker for 2-way virtually lag free commutation
Compatible with almost every OS (Mac/Windows), browser and mobile platform.
Push alerts for instant notification on your iPhone or Android device
Opening the box
The AVN80x arrived in a neat little rectangle box, not to bulky or with excess packaging like a lot of products you buy these days. Inside the box I found the AVN80X camera, compact adjustable stand, power cable and quick start guide with straight to the point setup instructions.
Once I had attached the stand to the base which was a straight forward twist on procedure I mounted the camera to the stand, inserted a 4 GB microSD card into the side slot and attached the power cable and ethernet cable and connected it to my router.
The two Blue LED’s indicate power and network status, at the bottom you can see the bright White LED and next to it is the PIR, below the lens and to the right side of it you can see the speaker and microphone. The MicroSD card fits into the side slot.
I decided to first try the iPhone setup option by using my iPhone to configure the AVN80X. I opened the EagleEyes application and clicked the add/+ icon and selected the “local network search“ option.
After a quick scan of my home network EagleEyes detected my AVN80X
I was then able to change options such as IP address, DNS, port number, user name, passwords etc. it took me no more than 20 minutes from opening the box to configuring the camera. Before I was able to view it on my iPhone over 3G, one thing I had to do which confuses many people was to “open” the port I was using which in my case was port:80. Instructions for opening ports or “port forwarding” can be found on www.portforward.com. This is important to setup and the AVN80X can be viewed remotely over the internet or 3G connection on your mobile device or computer.
The other option is to use your web browser to setup the camera.
The default address was 192.168.1.10, after typing this address into your browser you are greeted by the setup Wizard where you can make your adjustments to get your camera online
The third option is to use AVtech’s CMS video Viewer application, this is available free and is a powerful camera management package, you can view up to 254 cameras in split screen and have all the options available that you have using the browser interface or EagleEyes application, you can record footage straight to your hard drive as well.
Once I was able to view my camera I opened up my browser, although the AVN80X is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, I found that using IE for install setup gave access all of the options.
Once in Internet Explorer I worked my way through the various options configuring the camera to my requirements
I started by making sure all the network settings were correct before moving onto the camera settings.
I decided to start with the multi-mode setting with a 640 resolution as I would be viewing the camera from various remote locations and devices so I was able to choose settings which would allow a good clear video stream with the option of going up to 720p at any time. But you can choose anything from MJPEG/MPEG4 and H.264 with a variety of resolutions and frame rates, this is truly remarkable as you can tailor make your own stream to your requirements unlike some manufactures who do not give you the power to make these changes and you are often stuck with a stream that your connection cannot handle or your device cannot view!
I then setup the options for the LED white light, which you can put onto manual or auto or both, with a timer menu where you can have the LED come on at certain times, the light brightness is also controllable from your browser or iPhone EagleEyes application.
I set record options to pre-record which gave me a few seconds of pre alarm video from when the PIR/alarm was triggered. The recordings are saved onto the microSD card and you can view these remotely using your browser or iPhone.
I set the trigger for PIR motion detection, you have options where you can trigger a video to be recorded or push alert to be sent from the PIR, alarm input or even sound detection. Then I set the LED to activate when there was motion detected from the PIR.
Next was the Push Video settings, here I set the AVN80X to send me instant push alerts to my iPhone when motion was detected with a text message of my choice, I would then be given the option to view a small clip containing a pre event video and then switch to live view.
One of my favourite features is the push notifications, as soon as the built in PIR sensor detected movement the LED would come on and within 2-3 seconds I received a push alert on my iPhone with the option to view a clip of the detected motion, this loaded up quite fast as I have a good upload speed, the video included the option to hear audio with the clip this was a great bonus and then you have the option to start LIVE viewing of the camera.
Every time the AVN80X detected motion it records the motion including pre alarm footage onto the microSD card so you can play back event videos at any time from your iPhone or your browser. There is also an option to manually record footage onto the microSD, this option is on the browser and iPhone EageleEyes application. I also setup the option to have motion videos sent to me via e-mail and uploaded onto my FTP server, this way if a burglar broke into your house and stole the camera you would have the footage stored securely and remotely for handing over to the police!
Viewing the AVN80X through the EagleEyes application was great, you can select the quality to be basic to best settings for the video, VGA or QVGA resolution and with or without audio, These options I found helpful if you were in a weak signal area you could view a lower quality stream and then switch to a higher rate when in a better signal area.
When viewing video you have a toolbar at the bottom where you can activate the speaker and mic, DPTZ where you can zoom in and out of the subject area, turn LED on and off and control its brightness, activate manual record and activate the siren alarm.
I decided to test the camera quality at this point, I was viewing it through my browser and I was able to select resolutions from 320 all the way up to HD 720P, the quality was amazing as I could use the Digital Pan Tilt Zoom (DPTZ) option to zoom around the target area. You also have the option to view a QuickTime or ActiveX stream
Whilst live viewing you can turn on/off audio and if you have a microphone attached to your computer you can talk and the audio will be outputted through cameras speaker.
With the snapshot option I could take pictures of what I could see through the camera
There is an option called “backup” where you can see a list of events/recorded videos that you can play back.
Another great feature was the Alarm button with sounds a loud siren type alarm sound from the cameras speaker, you can activate this from the browser or your iPhone, this would be ideal to ward off a burglar in your house.
After playing around with the camera I decided to move the camera to another room, one problem you will find with the AVN80X being only a wired camera is the limitations to where you can move it because of the Ethernet cable you need to attach, there are ways to overcome this problem.
AVtech were kind enough to supply me with a Sappido wireless bridge device, this device allowed me to move it anywhere in my house where I can get WI-FI signal. The Sapiddo ehternet bridge basically turns the Ethernet port into a wireless connection.
The other option was to use my homeplug/powerline adaptor, this carries a network connection to my router through my home electricity wiring system, so anywhere there is a power outlet I could connect my camera.
With the AVN80X having a built in alarm I/O port you have the option to add alarm sensors and sounders like PIR, door contacts either stand alone or from your existing home alarm system and also add extra alarm sounders that can be triggered when there is motion or from the PIR/door contact.
This was pretty straight forward to setup and I managed to get an alarm door contact and some cable for less than £5 online. When my door was opened it would trigger the AVN80X to record video and send me a push alert straight to my iPhone!
Having owned a few IP cameras over the years I must say that the AVN80X has got to be the best and most feature packed camera I have ever come across, the AVN80X as far as I can see is ahead of any other IP camera on the market at the moment yet costing around £180 is less than some of its rivals.
For future versions I would like to see maybe a 2 Megapixel lens with optical zoom, Wireless n+ support, outdoor version.
The UK distributer is Maplin http://www.maplin.co.uk/ivs-megapixel-network-camera-with-advanced-smart-phone-access-535256?footpanel=off