Testing No Config IP Camera Remote Viewing (StarVedia)

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 13, 2009

Managed IP Video is hot but one of the key practical problems is making installation simple. While local access is trivial, remote access of IP video can be challenging. Network cameras usually require network configuration, making users deal with technical details like opening up ports in firewalls and setting up dynamic domain names. These are the type of 'little' things that cause people to quit in frustration.

StarVedia is an IP camera manufacturer that provides remote access with no configuration and no knowledge about networking nor even IP addresses (see StarVedia's product demo clip). StarVedia primarily OEMs to Western manufacturers (while they will not disclose who, readers may be familar with their OEM partners marketing 'plug n play' IP cameras).

We have done a detailed test of StarVedia's 202 camera - a standard definition, MPEG-4 cube camera.

Here are the general findings of the StarVedia 202 test:
  • Remote access of the camera was very simple to do without any configuration or knowledge of IP addresses or IT concepts
  • Remote viewing even at very low bandwidth worked smoothly and without problems
  • The camera's quality was sufficient to see general activity but generally not strong enough to see small details
  • Recording and search with the StarVedia VMS is complex and may be difficult for non-technical users

In our premium report, we provide:

  • Daytime indoor and outdoor video clips at 128Kb/s and 1.5Mb/s
  • Nighttime indoor and outdoor video clips at 128kb/s and 1.5BMb/s
  • Screencast explaining the physical setup and components of the offering
  • Screencast explaining the technical issues in configuring DDNS and port forwarding
  • Screencast explaining the use and configuration of the StarVedia 202
  • Bandwidth and Information Security test results

Key Points on the Camera

StarVedia's cameras only works with StarVedia's software. Users cannot mix and match other manufacturer's cameras with StarVedia. StarVedia loads proprietary software on the cameras that is only supported by their VMS software 

From a business perspective, one of the interesting aspects of StarVedia's cameras is that this managed connection/remote access is provided by StarVedia at no ongoing cost. Users simply buy the camera for a price similar to other cube cameras.

StarVedia provides servers and ongoing management of remote connections from StarVedia cameras to customers using their web interface or thick client.

Sample Video from the Camera

Here are a collection of video clips from the camera:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

A few observations on the camera's video quality:

  • I used the defaults on the camera, except for the sharpness which I lowered to 1 from 5. This made a minor difference on a few test runs.
  • The videos look brighter than the actual light in the area during the test. It seems StarVedia is artifically enhancing the light in the scene. This makes it brighter but also causes some distortions.
  • StarVedia seems to be optimizing the camera for very low bandwidth, remote connections. For these conditions (see the 128 Kb/s clips), the video streams consistently, though at an expected lower quality level.

Physical Overview of the Camera

This video explains what components are provided with the camera and the basic physical features of the camera.

Traditional Ways of Enabling Remote Access

To appreciate the value of simplifying remote access, it is important to contrast StarVedia's approach with common means to enable remote access of IP video. In the screencast below, we examine DDNS, port forwarding and Axis's DDNS service. [Note: if you are familiar with these technologies, you can skip this as it is simply an overview.]

Overview of Configuration and Use of the Camera

In this 10 minute screencast, we examine the details of using the 202 in the online portal and StarVedia's provided thick client. As part of this, we discuss issues with firewalls and check bandwidth utilization.

A couple of key points to call out:

  • The only time any configuration or changes needed to be made was when using a personal firewall on the user's PC. The user needs to allow the thick client (CamView) access. This is similar to other desktop applications. If the user cannot install a thick client or open ports on their PC, they can still use the web interface.
  • Non-technical end users may find parts of the web interface confusing or frustrating. These are enumerated in the video.
  • StarVedia offers NAS but I did not test it as I believe setting up NAS arrays are too techically complicated for most end users.

5 reports cite this report:

Vue Home IP Video Cameras Examined (Avaak) on Nov 09, 2009
Many new products are being introduced for the home IP video market. One that is drawing significant interest is Avaak's Vue. Overview of Avaak's...
Home Video Surveillance Recommendations on Aug 09, 2009
In this report, we offer recommendations for selecting and deploying video surveillance in your home. Though technologically simpler than systems...
IP Camera 2009 Mid Year Review on Jul 26, 2009
Megapixel was the most dominant trend in IP cameras over the first half of 2009. So dominant was megapixel, that not only did most manufacturers...
DLink Managed Video Alternative on Jun 24, 2009
DLink has released 'plug n play' IP cameras as part of its MyDLink offering (see the product page for the MyDLink wired cube camera). Essentially,...
Guidelines for Testing IP Cameras on May 25, 2009
What is the best way to test an IP cameras? We have established guidelines for our tests. These guidelines are listed below for your review and...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Bandwidth

Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Nov 05, 2018
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals.  Lots of network training exists but none of it...
Cloud Video Storage Usage 2018 on Oct 31, 2018
Storing email and documents in the cloud have long been common, with on-site email or file servers increasingly eliminated. However, what about...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...
SNMP / Network Monitoring For Surveillance 2018 on Aug 21, 2018
Surveillance systems typically rely on the the VMS to report issues, but this most often just means knowing a camera is "down" with no warning or...
Eagle Eye Networks Cloud VMS Tested on Jul 26, 2018
Eagle Eye has become one of the most significant players in the industry in the past few years: Eagle Eye's Owner Acquired Brivo Eagle Eye...
Powerline Networking For Video Surveillance Advocated By Comtrend on Jun 08, 2018
Powerline networking, using existing electrical wiring, has been around for many years. Indeed, over the years, some video surveillance providers...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact