Problems Remain with Cernium's Archerfish Cameras

By John Honovich, Published on Apr 14, 2011

In August 2010, we conducted an in-depth test of Cernium's Archerfish Smart Camera. In the test results, we called out problems of analytic accuracy, remote viewing setup and downloading video. A recent scan of Popular Mechanics and Amazon reviews indicates that these problems remain.

Let's examine each of the concerns detailed:

  • From Popular Mechanics [link no longer available], the reviewer cites problems in setup and analytic performance. On setup, he called it the "most frustrating" of the 4 cameras he tested. On the analytics, he noted while the analytics were better than traditional motion detection, "there are still enough false positives (it thought my son's teddy bear was a person) to make one question the analytics."
  • From Amazon, on March 21st, a Top 500 Amazon Reviewer says, "Save your money - this is not ready for prime time yet," citing issues with analytics ("The Event recognition feature just didn't work well"), issues with using it at night (needs lights on), "Couldn't export files from the camera's DVR" (another problem we faced), etc.
  • A person with over 100 Amazon reviewers states a number of concerns [link no longer available] including problems with setup ultimately requiring an Archerfish tech to remotely change configurations of the user's router and requiring a credit card for the free plan. The reviewer never got the camera to work. 

There are other reviews - many suspicous. Quite a number of them are positive but as one reviewer warned, many of them sound like infomercials and appear to be phony. For example, one glowing reviewer is from a reviewer than only has 2 total reviews - both posted on the same day. Another glowing review has similar language and is from a reviewer with only one review. Indeed, quite a number of the 5 star reviews are very short, universally glowing and from reviewers with no other reviews.

At $300, this is one of the more expensive surveillance systems on the market. For that, the setup needs to be painless but because it depends on UPnP, problems are inevitable. Additionally, the analytics continue to have too many limitations for practical real world use - even at the residential level.

Contrast to Amazon reviews of Dropcam whose reviews are very positive and look genuine. Dropcam is 1/3rd the price of Archerfish and much easier to setup. Archerfish's analytics are better than the Dropcam's motion detection but the practical difference is insignificant as neither can truly be used for alerting in most situations.

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