1. Dropcam HD
The content of the Dropcam HD box.
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Dropcam has recently launched a new iPad app that allows users to watch multiple streams on an Apple tablet. The app is designed to allow you to take a peek at what's going on in front of your Dropcam camera at anytime, from anywhere.
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With both your Dropcam installed at home and the app, you can watch up to four simultaneous streams -- both from your own cameras or from a shared or public stream. You can also set up the app to receive push notifications on your tablet or phone as well as emails anytime something happens (for example, if somebody unplugs it or if there's noise in the house). Unfortunately, the notifications can't currently be customized, so you can't set the app to notify you only while you're at work during a certain time of the day.
This new app is supposed to complement Dropcam HD, the company's camera released earlier this year. Dropcam built the hardware itself, without relying on off-the-shelf components, like in its previous model. Producing the camera in-house dropped the price from $249 to $149, explains CEO and co-founder Greg Duffy.
The camera can stream in 720p and doesn't have an Ethernet port -- it only works on Wi-Fi. Duffy explained to Mashable that only about 3% of their users connected their cameras to their router, so it was an easy decision to drop the wired connection compatibility. With a viewing angle of 80 degrees, the camera should be able to capture almost all that happens in a room if you place it in a corner. It also has night-vision and can transmit sound in both directions. "Dogs love that," says Duffy.
The new camera is also designed to be as easy to use as possible, almost plug-and-play. In fact, the instructions claim that you just need to connect your Dropcam to your computer once. That's when you set up its Wi-Fi connection. After that, according to the company, you can unplug it from your computer it and place it anywhere you want to begin streaming video.
The recording is available in the cloud for 7 or 30 days, depending on the plan you choose, and the prices vary from $9.99 to $29.95 a month. Without a plan, you're still able to watch live video anywhere, but you won't have DVR capabilities. You can also share your favorite clips on social media or store them in the cloud. If you add a plan to the price of the camera, that makes it a pricey product, but Duffy suggests it costs less than storing everything on a computer that you keep powered on 24/7.
The company seems to have taken security into account as well, encrypting your data and setting your stream as private by default, although you can share your camera view with anybody you choose or even open it up to the public. Several Dropcam users have done that, Duffy told Mashable, in fact, there's even a dog shelter that allowed people to choose their dog after seeing it on the video stream.
Dropcam's downsides are that it's not usable outside -- it's not water resistant and it obviously needs to be plugged in at all times. Also, as noted, at the moment there is no way for users to customize the notifications, although that's a feature Duffy says they are working on and will be available in the future. Not having the possibility to connect it directly to your router might give issues to people who don't have a strong Wi-Fi connection, and if you want to install more than one Dropcam in your home, you better have a fast connection or that won't be possible.
What do you think of Dropcam? Would you use one to monitor your kids or pets? Let us know in the comments.
Photos by Mashable and courtesy of Dropcam.
This story originally published on Mashable here.