Testing the TV-IP422W was interesting; there were no real benchmarks that I could use.
Instead I centred on function and usability of the camera.
To do this I connected the TV-IP422W to my network and setup some schedules as well as motion detection. I ran the camera for a few days and checked the video quality for both day and night recording as from the three viewing options - Live View, Secure View and RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol)
The first test was simply to connect to the TV-IP422W and check out the viewer to see how easy it was to use.
The Live View screen is very straight forward once you are logged in; you can see all the controls laid out for you and the image the camera sees.
At the top of the screen you have options for zooming in as well as the selector for night mode which will enable the whole array of IR LEDs that TRENDNet put in.
The Zoom modes are nice but you lose quality almost to the point where objects are not recognizable.
Along the left side you have your compression options laid out for you. Just underneath the compression options are the directional buttons. You can move the camera by clicking on one of these. One click will move the camera in that direction the distance you preset in the Pan/Tilt section of the Web Config. You can also click inside the live view screen and immediately move the camera to that spot.
Below these buttons are the function buttons; here you can start or stop the auto patrol feature as well as move the camera to one of eight preconfigured spots.
Again offering more functionality, TRENDNet threw in some nice features. You can start a manual recording (it will record to the system you are viewing from), take a snapshot, turn on the microphone and listen in, talk through any connected speakers and set off your trigger out.
As you can see from the images above, you do lose quaintly when zooming and also at night. Daylight or interior well lit quality is very good, so you could expect to capture very clear images during the day, while images shot at night will be a little fuzzy yet still will give you enough to pick out details.
- Secure View
Using Secure view is nice if you have multiple cameras that you want to monitor at once. You can select individual cameras and control them through the interface. Video quality is the same as the live view web page. You also lose the ability to directly move the camera by clicking on the display, auto patrol, and you cannot change compression from the Secure View application.
You do have a few more movement controls and you can lock the camera, as well as tell all cameras in a set to begin recording. Again, most of these tools really apply to multiple cameras which, if you are setting up a good home security system, you will probably have.
- Real-Time Streaming
Real time streaming capability of the TV-IP422W is very nice; you will have to open a path through your firewall to use it properly, but that is not too terribly complicated. Just forward port 554 to the IP address of the camera you want to view. If using the standard port does not work I would recommend switching to a port above 1024 for the RTSP server, making sure to change the port forwarding in your firewall.
Above I mentioned using this to stream video to a smart phone; well I have some bad news for iPhone owners. The iPhone does not support RTSP at all; if you try Mobile Safari will tell you sorry and leave you annoyed with Apple for forgetting this (just like copy and paste). I even tried using VLC4iPhone and MPlayer (you will need to jailbreak your phone to use these); however, only VLC4iPhone even picked up the stream and then it was usually limited to a single frame. One more thing to know about this viewer is that it does not work properly with Windows Media Player; even using the QT Alternative Plug in. You need Real-Player or QuickTime Player to watch this.
Windows Mobile, Android and Palm support this protocol, so you guys are in luck.
For the most part the RTSP is view only; it is good to check things on the go (unless you have an iPhone) or to look in when you get that warning e-mail. It really is a nice extra feature that only adds to the value of the TV-IP422W.
There are two methods for streaming; one is for larger screens and follows the format of rtsp://(IP Address:Port)/Mpeg4, while the other is for smaller screens like a smart phone and is rtsp://(IP Address:Port)/3gp.
The quality is somewhat lacking, but here is what you will see from the RTSP connection:
The iPhone screen shots show the two results I received; one was a solid blank screen and the other was a still image.
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