Company making advances with wireless webcams

May 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In TV and movies, viewers know there is a two-camera shoot and a three-camera shoot. Now, imagine a 50-camera shoot, all with no wires.

One company is continuing the drive to discover an invisible television network.

As the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson discovered last week, you can never be sure there isn't a camera hidden in a vase or nearby bush. The newest webcam weighs less than a hummingbird, delivers a 640 x 480 pixel picture, yet runs on a camera battery.

That means you can stick it on a rock or stick it on a fence, or anywhere you just can't string a wire, even on a tree trunk. There are a few "gotchas." We found the range limited to about 200 feet, 100 feet through walls. It does not use standard Wi-Fi, but something called a mesh network, developed for military applications. Also, it requires an Internet feed to be useful.

You can't see the signal from the camera directly on your computer. It has to go out over the Internet and come back through a Web browser on the Vue Camera site. That means that there is a subscription fee, although the first year is free.

For about $299, you get a base station and two cameras which you pair with it the way you would pair a bluetooth headset and a phone. After that, you watch by dragging and dropping the camera icon into a Web page.

The company claims a single base station will support up to 50 cameras. And, you can watch on your iPhone, because, yes, there is an app for that.


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