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In Search Of A Low-Cost Wireless Internet Camera... That Works

For years, I've been looking for a good wireless Internet camera that's inexpensive and easy to set up. Is that so much to ask?

Mike Elgan

July 27, 2006

2 Min Read

Hawking Technologies announced yesterday a new, $129.99 wireless video camera that features automatic router configuration and URL setup. The proof, as always, is in the pudding. But that price and that feature (auto config and setup) sound pretty earth-shattering to me.

For years, I've been looking for a good wireless Internet camera that's inexpensive and easy to set up. Is that so much to ask?Last month, we reviewed the state of the art in low-cost wireless Internet cameras: The $299 Wireless-G WVC200 PTZ Internet Camera with Audio.

We liked almost everything about this camera -- the price, the look, the layout of controls and display. The only problem (besides the fact that it changes greens and browns to purple) was that even technical people have to struggle for hours with the setup of this camera to make it work, which, to me, is a showstopper.

That's why I was really interested in the Hawking announcement. The camera appears to have all the vital pieces:

* You connect to it via PC or cell phone over the Internet, rather than via a TV.

* It's wireless

* It features motion-detection snapshots via e-mail

* It has a built-in Web server

But Here's what I saw in the company's press release that stopped me in my tracks: "The HNC290G is an affordable network camera that anyone, even the most inexperienced user, can set up within minutes."

That's right, "minutes" -- not "hours" or "never," as is the case with all other low-cost wireless network cameras that I'm aware of.

If that claim is true, and if the video quality is acceptable, this will be a first-of-a-kind product when it ships August 4 -- an affordable wireless network camera that actually works without painful troubleshooting.

I've requested an eval unit from the company. We'll review it and let you know.

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