Sunday, 12 February 2012

AVTECH AVN812 IP Camera review


AVTECH AVN812 IP Camera review
Once again I have been given the opportunity to review another amazing IP camera from the AVTECH HD IP Camera Range.
The 4th model is the all new AVN812 which is the first WI-FI capable model from the AVN range of cameras.
Here is a quick run down of the features the AVN812 boasts and we will be talking about:
FEATURES
l  Easy network setup with your iPhone / iPad
l  Network access via either a wireless IEEE 802.11B/G/N
connection or a wired Ethernet connection to provide
flexible installation options
l  1.3 Megapixel with HDTV 720p quality, allowing users to
notice minor details more easily
l  Memory storage built-in for video recording
l  Push Video support to send an event notification to your iPad, iPhone and Android mobile device
immediately once the specified event type is triggered, and play video recording once you confirm the receipt
l  White LED built-in to illuminate the scene manually, scheduled by a timer, or triggered by a motion, an
alarm, or an audio event
l  External alarm I/O device connection
l  Microphone & speaker built-in for two-way audio transmission
l  Remote Surveillance
-- Fully compatibility on iPhone & iPad, and Internet Explorer® on Windows® operating system

The camera itself arrived in the standard rectangle box which previous models had arrived in, with the same usual accessories/parts to make this camera functional:


Inside was:
1x AVN812 camera with antenna
1x Power Supply
1xStand with screws
1x CD with Quick Start Instructions

Camera Design:
As you can see from the pictures the new AVN812 has a small 2db WI-FI antenna which makes this the first WI-FI model from the range and is a feature I have been waiting for since the AVN304 first launched.
 
Below the antenna you can see the 2 status LED’s for showing the power and network status of the camera.
The lens is still the same twist-to-focus type where you manually focus the camera once it is in place.
Below the lens is the loudspeaker and to the side of it is the microphone which is quite sensitive and able to pickup even whispers.
Below the AVTECH logo is the built in PIR sensor for motion detection and to the side of it you can see the white LED for lighting up the area/subject the camera is viewing.
 
Looking at the AVN812 side on you will notice it is slimmer than the AVN304/AVN80X and the same size as the AVN801, and this model does not have the built in SD card slot but instead has a built in memory of 10MB for storing event video.

The rear of the camera hasn’t changed much from the AVN801 apart from the WPS button which allows you to easily connect to WPS capable WI-FI router; this eliminates the need for having to enter wireless passwords/keys etc.





The alarm input is still the 4 pin I/O type allowing you to further add alarm trigger devices and sounders…more about this later.






Once I had put the camera on its stand and located it this time on my kitchen shelf rather than wall mounting it I got to work setting it up. 

Setting it up:
Setting and configuring the camera is as easy as it has been before, the only difference this time was the wireless settings if your router doesn’t support WPS you have to connect the AVN812 to your computer via Ethernet cable and then set it to connect to your wireless router, it can then be unplugged from your computer Ethernet cable.

As before you have the EagleEyes option, web browser, or VideoViewer option for setting it up.
When setting up via the web browser like IE you are greeted by the setup wizard which guides you through the main settings to get your camera up and running.


When setting up via EagleEyes on your iPhone you click network search, it will then detect your AVN812 and allow to you change settings such as IP address, port number etc.
One thing ill mention that I have said before is the port number must be “open”, to do this you need to forward the port on your router, instructions can be found at www.portforward.com
Camera viewing:
The AVN812 features a 1.3 megapixel HD sensor giving crisp clear viewing up to 720P resolution which you can fine tune by manually turning the lens of the camera.


Here is a live view using the free VideoViewer application showing a quad view, 1:AVN812, 2:AVN801, 3: AVN80X, 4: AVC761(DVR)


 
Live view on my iPhone using EagleEyes

Live View using IE browser.


The AVN812 also features DPZ(Digital pan, tilt zoom)

This can be controlled using the IE browser, VideoViewer or EagleEyes app, this allows you to zoom into the subject area for closer inspection.


 
Image quality:
Here is a picture/snapshot indoors:
 
And outdoors:

For low light conditions, you can use the built in bright white LED, this can be set to come on automatically whenever you want it or you can manually turn it on. I have mine set to come on when motion is detected.


Motion detection:
The AVN812 features a built in Human detection sensor just like the AVN801 and AVN80X, this allows the AVN812 to trigger video recording and PUSH video alerts to be sent when it detects motion and Human detection so that when both are detected it will almost guarantee that this is not a false alarm, to date I have never had a false alarm from the 3 cameras I have so it can be said that it is very reliable.

Trigger:
As I just mentioned the video recording is “triggered” when the AVN812 Human detection sensor senses movement which is not the only option, the rear of the AVN812 has a 4 port I/O connection allowing you to add alarm triggers such as external Human detection sensor or door/window contacts, this allows you to trigger and be alerted when a door/window is opened etc or movement in detected from an external PIR which could be further away from the camera.
 
Here is the trigger menu, as you can see on the left there are many options available for you to configure, AVTECH really has given you the opportunity to customize your camera to your liking.
Recording:
The AVN812 features a 10MB internal memory which records a 3 second “pre-alarm” allowing you to see pre alarm video, the 10MB is enough to record around 5 event and there is an option for these to be over written when new event occurs, I have mine set to FTP upload which will upload all event video to my FTP server for playback later on.

Using the IE browser you can playback remotely event video. The same can be done on your mobile phone using EagleEyes. As you can see there is 1 event for me to playback in the EagleEyes app, clicking it will allow me to view the event video and also give me the option to save and e-mail the video!



PUSH VIDEO:

This is probably the main selling point of the AVN range, PUSH VIDEO will “Push” the video/event you your mobile device such as IPhone or Android, and give you an instant alert to say an event has been detected. This allows you to view the event video and switch to live view. This gives you peace if mind when you are away from home knowing the AVN812 is guarding your home and will alert you if it detect motion or an alarm has been triggered. I have not seen another model on the market by any other manufacturer that can beat it.

External alarm triggers:
As mentions before, the AVN812 has a alarm I/O port on the back, this allows for 1 alarm input and one out such as external sounder or buzzer to be added. It is pretty straight forward and not as hard as it looks to add an external sensor. I got some 4 core alarm cable and a door contact switch from my local electrical store and connected the 2 wires from the alarm contact to the I/O pins and went into the configuration page and set it up for EXTERNAL alarm, this now means when the door is opened the AVN812 will send me a PUSH VIDEO alaert to tell me . The cost of the cable and contact came to around £5.


Installing an external alarm trigger
Most people are confused with the little green connector block at the back of their camera, it is as mentioned earlier an ALarm I/O connector (input/output)

There are 4 pins to the connector 2 for an alarm output meaning a device like a light or siren/buzzer that is activated when the alarm is triggered, and 2 for an alarm input..meaning a trigger like a door contact or external PIR.

I am going to show you how to install the most common type of alam input using what is known as a reed switch/door contact.

These are cheap to buy and work by detecting when the 2 blocks are seperated from each other triggering the alarm.
This is the I/O connector


Here is the diagram showing the inputs

Here is what you need, 1x door/window contact swicth and some alarm cable, you can get alarm cable with 2-6 wires...we only need to use 2 of the wires.


2 of the wires are connected to the silver screws, the other gold/brass screws are for the tamper wires, we will not be using these.

 Once you have wired the contact switch, you then need to add the other side of the cable to the camera pins, these are easy to push in by pressing the orange mini buttons when released they will hold the wires in place.

You then need to install the swtich to the door/window, the wired part of it needs to be fixed to the frame(non moving part) and the other part of the switch is connected to the door/window part that opens, I suggest using some stick tape to hold the contact in place before you screw it in to make sure the 2 pieces are close enough to make the contact.

Once everything is wired and in place you then need to log into your camer using you browser and go to the Trigger menu. Then set External alarm to "ON" and record set to External alarm.

Now when the door/window is opened you will get a Push Video alaert sent to you Iphone/Android device.
You can use other types of Alarm contact switch, or a pressure mat, external pir or even wire it to you exisiting home alarm system.

Final thoughts:
The AVN812 is what I have been waiting for since the AVN304 released 18 months ago, a wireless camera allowing you to locate it anywhere within wireless range. But I feel it would be better if it had an SD card slot for memory expansion and id like to see a model with digital zoom ad autofocus and maybe IR LED’s as well. Another thing is I wish AVTECH would design an outdoor case/housing you can add on for outdoor use.
Pros: Light weight
Compact design
Easy to Set up
Human detection sensor gives 100% true PuSh video alerts, no false alarms
Remote playback and live viewing on many different platforms and devices
Good price, alot cheaper then other models on the market

Cons:
I wish the power cord was longer
No expansion/memory card slot althought you have the option for FTP upload
No Auto focus
No Optical zoom










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