Internet cameras aren’t really new – we’ve seen web cams and purpose-built cameras rigged to stream live video to the web for longer than we can remember – but nearly all streaming internet camera solutions require some serious networking and tech savvy to get them up and running. Dropcam is changing all that with their internet-connect cameras that not only stream live video to the web and your smartphone (Android and iPhone), but also includes hassle-free DVR functionality so you can watch past streams. This week, Dropcam announced their new Android app, allowing Android users to check up on their Dropcam stream and event alerts from their phone (as long as it’s running Android 2.2 Froyo OS) – and we’ve taken it for a spin.
Dropcam is making a name for themselves as the simplest, no-setup-required streaming internet camera on market today. But, we didn’t just take the company’s word for it. We decided to see just how easy and convenient it was to go from retail packaging to full streaming web cam functionality, including the ability to watch (and hear) the stream from a phone, check on event notifications, and even watch pre-recorded video. The demo video below should explain it all.
What you’ll notice in the video is that the most difficult part of the setup process was connecting the camera to a router via ethernet cable. This is a one-time process, and requires only that you connect the Dropcam to the router to establish an internet connection – you don’t have to futz around with the router or your computer. Once plugged in, you simply fire up your web browser of choice and hit up dropcam.com/start. Dropcam will automatically detect the camera and ask you a few questions (confirmation code, camera name, WiFi network of choice), and that’s it.
Once you’ve setup the Dropcam, you can ditch the ethernet cable. Just plug the camera into a power outlet and let it connect automatically to your WiFi network. From there, Dropcam will provide all streaming, video recording (DVR), and motion/audio alerts in the cloud. Motion and audio alerts are triggered when there’s a significant change in the scene. So, if it’s dead quiet or there’s no movement, Dropcam will do its thing until there’s movement or sound, at which point the camera will send you a notification. You can then watch the event that triggered the notification alert.
You can view your stream online via the website, where you’ll also be given options to further configure the camera (turn audio on/off, motion alert settings, etc.), view DVR recordings, view event notification alert clips, and even share your stream with others. Or, seeing as how the Dropcam Android app is now live, you can just fire up your smartphone and watch streams, event notification video clips and DVR recordings on the go.
The only real drawback to the new Android Dropcam app is it’s current inability to stream to Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS devices. We’re told this has to do with the way Gingerbread handles Adobe AIR, and that the issue will be resolved post haste.
Overall, we’re seriously impressed by the plug-n-play convenience of the camera and the straightforward Android and iPhone apps. Considering that the camera can pick up on changes in audio and movement, and can even record the stream to the cloud-based DVR, we think the $200 pricetag is a reasonable deal.
Find more info at dropcam.com