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Video surveillance system provides peace of mind

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Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009

WiLife's Luk Werks combines cameras and computer technology

By MIKE BERMAN
Scripps Howard News Service
2007-02-07

Safe. Secure. Those are two words that have always given me a warm, comfortable feeling, as though nothing could harm me. And the feeling you get from those two little words is a lot easier to achieve than you think.

The folks at WiLife Inc. have developed a remote video surveillance system that can monitor your whole house and deliver images from its cameras instantly to your computer, cell phone or other digital device.

The company's Luk Werks Video Surveillance System is extremely easy to set up and the images you get from the cameras are much sharper and cleaner than those of wireless systems I've tried.

You begin with either an indoor or outdoor starter kit ($299.99) which consists of a camera, all the cables you need, software and a power supply. With the indoor system, you simply attach the camera to a window using a suction cup mount or set it up on a stand, plug it into the nearest electrical outlet and the software instantly recognizes it as a new camera.

The system uses HomePlug powerline technology to transmit signals from the cameras to a receiver attached to your computer's USB port. Simply put, HomePlug uses the wiring in your house to expand your network, which has become a popular alternative to stringing Ethernet cables throughout the house or to much slower wireless networking systems.

Once you're set up you can add up to five more cameras including additional indoor units ($229.99) outdoor cameras ($229.99) or an indoor "spy" camera ($329.99) --- disguised as a clock --- to monitor a baby's room or rooms containing valuables. You can also upgrade the system by adding a 120-degree lens to your indoor camera ($24.95) or a special attachment for night vision ($39.95).

Once you're set up and are sitting comfortably at your computer, you'll see that each camera has its own window, which can be opened individually or you can monitor all six at the same time. Each camera can also be controlled from your computer, including zoom and panning.

You also have the option of sending messages to another device (cell phone, pager, etc.) when motion is detected, but I found this system to be so sensitive that I was becoming overwhelmed with these alerts. In fact, I'd be beeped every time a tree branch moved in the breeze. Also, some cell phone providers charge you every time one of these messages is received, which can become quite expensive.

Although I haven't tried the low-light attachment for the indoor cameras, this may be something you'd want to consider when using this system. The cameras lack infra-red, low light sensitivity and tend to black out when there's little or no light source.

Other features worth mentioning include:

High resolution color video.

Motion-based recording, which records any movement and stores it on your PC.

You can view live video from anywhere using your cell phone or other digital device.

It's Internet browser accessible.

You can choose between three alert options: text only, a frame capture or an entire video clip.

 

More information on the Luk Werks system can be found at www.wilife.com.

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