Internet-enabled cameras that let you view images of remote locations?your front door, the baby’s room, the back yard and such?have been available for a while, but they were often pricey. Now there are a couple more cost-effective options.
The Panasonic KX-HCM10 Network Camera sells for about $350 (street price) and lets you remotely view video images and control the camera from any Web browser. Just attach an Ethernet cable (no PC necessary for operation), and it’s ready to go. You can even attach optional sound, motion or light sensors to the camera and have it automatically e-mail you an image when triggered (www.panasonic.com/netcam).
If $350 is still too expensive, check out X10’s Ninja Pan ’n Tilt Wireless Camera Kit setup. About $260 gets you a pan-and-tilt base; a wireless (100-foot maximum range) color video camera that can transmit to a VCR, monitor or PC; a wireless receiving unit with USB video capture adapter; a PC transceiver; a remote control; a motion sensor; and software (www.x10.com).
Neither camera is weatherproof, so you need to keep them indoors. Nor do their low prices buy you crystalline images. But they make an affordable way to keep a watchful eye on your stuff.