Testing WebcampXP Pro's VMS

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Jul 27, 2010

For those looking for an inexpensive video management system online, WebcamXP Pro has been frequently cited for many years. At no more than $120 per computer, it's inexpensive. But how good is it and what should it be used for?

In this test, we examine WebcamXP Pro (V. 5.5), integrating an Axis Q1755, D-Link DCS-920 and Logitech Pro 9000, hosted on a Windows 7, 64-bit machine.

In our ongoing 'low-end' VMS tests, we tend to see more surveillance features dominate and some minor feed customizations features such as text overlay. This is contrasted with those that WebcampXP provides, extensively focused on marketing and broadcasting capabilities. This may be attractive to those looking to develop brand recognition within the surveillance market. On the other hand, as we examine inside, Webcam XP Pro lacks some very basic surveillance functionalities.

Compare to our tests on Blue Iris or Argus Surveillance DVR for other 'low-cost' surveillance options.

Key Criteria / Decision Points

When evaluating WebcamXP Pro, the following 10 key criteria / decision points should be considered.

Criteria Strength Description
 Pricing Strong $120 per system license, no camera license
Simplicity Weak lacks any integrated search / playback, recording disabled by default
 3rd Party IP Camera Support  Moderately Support broad range of manufacturers but limited for newer models
H.264 Support Strong Supported for recording
Analytics Support  None Not supported
Exporting  None Not supported
Remote Monitoring  Moderately Strong Live monitoring, investigations & administration all available with limited functionality
Run as a Service Moderate

Manually configure via Windows Services

Multi-camera Playback None

Not supported

Support Moderately Weak

Received responses intermittently 

Key Findings

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Remote Broadcasting / Maketing:  We feel WebcamXP Pro provides in the marketing department with extensive capabilities to broadcast the camera feeds to your own  website. Further customization can be done by applying a company logo on the camera feed, for example. 

Setup:  Generally, the system is easy to configure but users must navigate to a specific menu to enabled IP camera recording (disabled by default). The navigation bar clearly identifies the purpose of each respective section, button and menus are not hidden within sub-menus. 

Live Monitoring / Investigations:  With clearly defined controls and a easy to navigate interface, live monitoring is simple for even home users; however, basic investigation specific features are simply not available within the thick client. The method in place is to provide the user with a shortcut to the recording directory that brings up a Windows Explorer window and recorded files. The files can be reviewed using commercial off the shelf media players such as Windows Media. 

Recommendations

We do not recommend WebcamXP Pro for deployment with more than five cameras due to the lack of investigation features. The application that we do recommend the system for is broadcasting and entertainment purposes with extensive features to customize camera feeds. This would be ideal for scenarios where investigative capabilities are not critical / required by the operator.

Product Overview

Computing Platform Support

WebcamXP Pro supports Windows:  XP, Vista, 2003 and 2008 server. As stated on their specifications, Windows Media Player is required; although, in our tests playing back video we successfully used VLC.

The download page will provide links to the 5Mb executable, which includes both the thick client and web interface; in addition to the user manual.

Third Party Support

A broad range of third party IP camera support can be referenced on the website and WebcamXP does not note any support for PCI / PCI-Express capture cards. Generic drivers are supported for various manufacturers such as:  Axis, D-link, JVC, Sony, etc. so users will have access to the MJPEG stream if model specific support is not avaialable.

Pricing

A single site license will cost approximately $120 USD with no license restrictions with enabled cameras. You will find the different packages offered on the products page as a single channel free version is provided and full pricing for up to 100 licenses on the order page.

Usability

The following screencast examines usability highlights of WebcamXP's VMS system. Key points include:

  • Major deficiencies are apparent for a surveillance application (00:15 min)
  • Extensive options for feed customization  broadcasting (01:24 min)
  • HTML Wizard provides assistance to embed within a website (01:45 min)

Administration

Some additional information that should be noted for VMS setup are the following:

  • Operators can configure WebcamXP to run as a service; however, will require accessing Windows Services list
  • A camera wizard is provided for technical assistance, prompting for basic input such as the make / model and IP address
  • Those that wish to take advantage of the extensive broadcasting and / or marketing capabilities will need some basic understanding of HTML and web server concepts. 
  • The user manual will refer to a CODEC download and states that it allows files to be written in MPEG-4 format. We'd recommend installing this for any system experiencing issues playing back video as well.

The following screencast examines how to configure/setup WebcamXP's VMS system. Key points include:

  • FFDShow CODEC is a pre-requisite (00:40 min)
  • Camera wizard guides initial configurations (01:49 min)
  • 'DVR Mode' disabled by default (03:49 min)
  • Remote web interface controls (06:33 min)
  • Working with technical support via e-mail (07:06 min)

Live Monitoring & Investigations

The following screencast examines live video monitoring with WebcamXP's VMS system. Key points include:

  • Working with live monitoring (01:23 min)
  • No option to 'browse' archived video (02:45 min)
  • Using the web interface (04:36 min)

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