The testing of an IP Camera is a little different from testing other types of hardware. Here we check to see how effective the motion detection is, the image quality using the software, web interface and RTSP. We also cover low-light image quality as well as a few other minor details that affect overall usability and performance.
Our first stop is web viewing. Here we took a look at the CAS-673W and how well the image is shown on a screen when using Internet Explorer 8.
We were quite impressed with the image quality of the CAS-673W when we had full light. However, low-light conditions reduced quality significantly and when there was no light the CAS-673W was not usable at all.
As you can see, the addition of a few IR-LEDs would make a world of difference in low light conditions. It is true that colors will not be correct using these, but at least items are visible.
- Real-Time Streaming
Accessing the RTSP service on the CAS-673W is pretty simple; you will need to make sure to allow the port you setup for RTSP through your firewall (default is 554). Once you do that you would connect to your home IP address from outside your network and it should stream the video directly to you. Accessing this from outside your network will not use the standard http://. You will need to use rtsp://; be sure to add 554 to the end as this will route the request to the proper place.
Unfortunately I was not able to get the RTSP working on the SparkLAN CAS-673W long enough to test it or to compare it properly. We will be following up with SparkLAN to find a solution.
- Motion Detection
Here the SparkLAN really shines. With a few other IP cameras we have worked with it does not take much more than a quick change in lighting to set off the motion detection. However, with the SparkLAN this is happily not the case. It seems to ignore those changes in lighting (granted, it is of almost no use in low-light) and concentrates on actual movement in the area you setup.