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Another little annoyance I found on this screen was the constant re-load occurring on the background as some AJAX-type code was continually polling the base station for camera status. Every second or so, the status bar of the browser would flash with a "loading" message and the browser cursor would change to an hourglass and then back to normal. It was a bit distracting, but other than these little items, the basic functionality worked well. I could cycle back and forth to view my cameras and the controls on the bottom of the player allowed me to zoom in and out a couple of levels which was nice.

Smartvue advertises the ability of the system to work well in varied lighting conditions. Figure 8 shows an image taken in the middle of the night. As you can see, the image is a bit dark, but considering that there was very little light available the camera did a pretty good job.

Night Video

Figure 8 : Night Video

While viewing the camera, if I saw something interesting I could also hit a "record" button on the window which recorded the video to the 250GB hard drive inside the base station. Once a video is recorded, it can be selected for playback. Figure 9 shows a portion of the playback selection screen.

Playback Selection

Figure 9 : Playback Selection

Videos can be selected by date and camera. I found this a little bit cumbersome to use, especially when there were a lot of videos in the list. The video files in the list can be selected for deletion in this list, but it was a bit awkward when dealing with a lot of files. You can either delete all videos in the list, or you can delete them one at a time, acknowledging the action each time. There was no capability to just do a multiple-select for deletion.

You'll also notice in the list above that the info on the recording is clipped off with no way to make the window wider. When a video is selected, you can choose to save either a still-shot or the video itself to your local system. With still-shots, I had no problem, but when I went to save a copy of the video, I would often get the error shown in Figure 10. This behavior seemed to come and go. Sometimes it would work, and sometimes, the same video that gave me an error before could be successfully downloaded.

Download Error

Figure 10 : Download Error

And once the video was on my local system, I also had a bit of an issue playing it back. Neiter the Quicktime, VLC, or Microsoft Media players would handle the H.264 encoded video. Only when Smartvue directed me to a 30-day trial version of a player from Elecard could I play the video back.

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