|Toshiba Wireless Network Web Camera (IK-WB11A)
|List Price: $599.99
Our Price: $599.99
The Toshiba IK-WB11A network camera captures live, high-resolution video that is viewable anywhere in the world through a standard web browser. It is the perfect tool for surveillance, business, entertainment, web site broadcasting and more.
- Capture live, high resolution video viewable from anywhere in the world, via the Internet
- 1280 x 960 maximum resolution
- 802.11b compliant, and ready for use on a wireless network
- Add audio to your video stream with any standard microphone
- Compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP; Mac OSX
- A great piece of hardware, but agree with all about the firmware
I've wrestled with this camera for a year, and sometimes get terrific results but am frequently stymied. Example: I migrated from a Linksys router to an Apple TimeCapsule (N router with storage) and after spending 11 hours with several Toshiba tech support people, gave up on them. I installed a Panasonic BLC20A which I borrowed from a neighbor and it worked fine, so I copied the settings with the Toshiba and bingo, I am now able to see the camera over the Internet.
Email is another story though. I've tried [...] (which I knew would not work) and none of them will receive email from the camera. Again, Toshiba tech support is flummoxed.
I would certainly appreciate a response by anyone who can tell me an email provider that will receive email from this thing. At one time I did have it working on [...], but not any longer. I honestly feel it is a simple setting that I am overlooking....more info
- Not a bad camera but has bugs
I bought 3 of these cameras in 2004. 1 is placed outside my home and 2 inside. I also own 2 of the IK-wb01A units as well. My biggest gripe is that they ALL like to hang. If left alone running after 5 to 10 days EVERY camera will lock and I have to unplug the unit and plug it back in to reboot it. It is really annoying.
The IK-WB11A has a good night image in B/W, able to see stars even! Of course I live on the side of a Mountain in Montana and there is almost no light around but the moon and stars.
The unit I have outsode lasted 2 years before it began to act strange. If the temp goes above 65 to 70f now the camera image will become random colored garbage. I have to reset the unit from the power source to stop it, and it will start again between 2 and 5 hours later. I am actually planning to take it down this week and send it our for a repair estimate.
- Not Great for Security, good Weather Cam
I have the IK-WB15A camera, hardwired with a POE network connection. I got this camera with plans to record the cars passing by my place 24/7s. I figured with the high resolution that this camera has, it should take great pictures, but while it takes nice large images, this images are not sharp. Spoke with Toshiba's tech support and we both looked at the camera online and made adjustments. But it came down to the fact that the camera cannot take good clear images of moving vehicles or people even during the day time, they are just a blur. My Panasonic cameras BB-HCM531A does a far better job with just a 640 X 480 image then the Toshiba with it 1024 X 960 image can.
Motion detection options are poor and limited.
Audio I/O connection cannot be used if you use the sun shield, the jacks on on the side of the camera and not protected from the weather.
PTZ is slow to move.
Limited Alarm settings.
While Balance is also not great, I have very blue skies.
Camera is large.
Low light level images: dark unless you really SLOW down the shutter.
Firmware needs to be written better IMHO.
Okay, the now the good things about this camera:
Optical zoom is GOOD, about a 2.3X zoom, no digital zoom!
Image size is GOOD, 1024 X 960
Tech Support, fast to answer, and tried to help and honest about the limits of this product.
Now I use it for a weather camera, since that is about all it is good for. See for yourself, live, www.mywxbox.com (Bridgeland station).
For the money for a security camera, this is NOT a great camera to go with, IMHO. My Panasonic BB-HCM531A, day and night time images are better. Smaller too!...more info
- Great hardware, Bad Firmware and Support
I have purchased and installed a minimum of about 10 of these cameras for clients.
On a local area network they are great. Awesome images and great low light performance.
However be warned, the java implimentation for viewing them is almost unusable over a high speed internet connection. I have had clients ready to string me up for selling them such a high dollar camera and it not be usable over the internet. I had to install third party software to a computer that then streamed the images and video to the web.
toshiba tech support is worthless. If you are trying to get sdk information or imbed images to a website the normal support people are clueless and will refer you to the developer site. That is if they respond to you at all. The developers are even worse. I'm assuming they know how to use the sdk but the most I have been able to get out of them and this after weeks of pestering them and the vendor I purchased the cameras from was to email me the SDK with out answering any of the detailed questions I had asked. After that I never did get a responce to my further querys. I found the SDK to be confusing and when trying to implement it would get results were contrary to what it indicated. There are very few to no exambles of code included with it and toshiba never provided any on request.
I was able to make customers happy by creating workarounds with third party software as image quality is nice on these but I am done with purchasing toshiba products as most of what I do is web integrations and more advanced stuff nowdays and there is in my opionion no support from toshiba for the product at more than a cursory level. This has been my experience over a 2 year period of time with the IKWB11 and 21 cameras....more info
- Great Camera - premium images
I have two of these cameras set up at different locations for security monitoring. Configuration is NOT for the technically challenged. It will work well out of the box for interactive viewing. If you want motion detection and ftp transfers, expect some trial and error.
Documentation is good. Configuration/Administration interface is good. Programming api is also available from Toshiba support. I am using a linux ftp host to collect the uploaded images from the motion detector and a shell script to catalog them by day. Be prepared to have lot of disk space. A windy day can generate a gig of data.
Image quality is great. Low light images are unbelievable. One night I could not see my neigbors house but the camera captured an exccellent color images. Shutter speeds are slow, even in daylight.
In the wireless mode the camera cannot keep up with the traffic. Use cat5 100mbs for good results. Images of these size require serious bandwidth and remote viewing over the internet was poor. Lower resolutions were more satisfactory, but I bought the camera for its 1.3 mp resolution.
It will run for weeks or months without intervention. It does not like power brown outs or spikes. If we have a day with some 'dirty' power, I may have to reboot it.
I bought 256mb sd card for addtional onboard storage. This way camera can accumulate many hours of images if ftp server is offline.
Camera did not perform well with a slow ftp server (amd k6-2, rh9) Performs well with 750mhz - 1 ghz pentium 500mb ram FC4. If ftp server gets low on disk space performance is affected.
Over all, a great camera, but for the price, it should be.
ps I tried a panasonic BL-C30a - it was terrible, terrible image quality. Sent it back and bought second toshiba IKWB11a
- great image quality, buggy hardware/software
I fell in love with the image quality and the low light capabilities of this camera. However, I had to return it after I spent hours trying to get it to work reliably to no avail.
However, I found out that Toshiba is coming out with a new software release for this, but better yet, they are coming out with the IK-WB15A which is an improved version of the 11A. They claim that they fixed the hardware and software bugs. Unfortunately you're still stuck with ActiveX for viewing, but if you use Internet Explorer you should be fine. The IK-WB21A also looks promising (albeit expensive) but I am not sure if it too suffers from the same issues the 11A had. I can't wait to try the IK-WB15A. Let's hope that Toshiba fixed the bugs. If they did they'll own the market !!...more info
- A Nightmare and Too Expensive
I too really wanted to like this camera. Excellent hardware. Unfortunately the firmware is so buggy that it's not wise to leave this camera in a remote location because it needs to be rebooted constantly. So since that defeats its purpose, I returned it. (Yes I upgraded the firmware to today's (2-1-06) most current version (v3.16) and yes I know what I'm doing with IP cameras and wireless networking.) Bottom line: find another camera. When I find one I like I'll write an update....more info
- the good & the bad - theres lots of both
so i shopped around for a while before buying the toshiba wireless network web camera. the only other one that appeared to meet my needs was the high end panasonic camera, but that one didn't have as high resolution and didn't take as good night shots. i'll make this quick:
i got this camera to point out the front of my building to keep an eye on the street & entranceway while i'm not around. i set up the motion sensor to snap shots whenever it senses movement. i set up the ftp interface to upload these images to a server on the network at large.
its amazingly configurable - great low-light night shots - slow shutter, auto adjust, resolution enhancement, auto black & white, etc. the quality of the pictures is amazing. it takes great night shots if you allow it to auto adjust the shutter speed. the problem with this is if you want a picture of a person's face you'll get a blur as they walk past. the shutter speed slows way down so the picture looks amazing but only of the things that aren't moving. anything moving is an unrecognizable blur. so some manual adjusting somewhat alleviated this, i'd rather it could've been done automatically, or maybe set everything on auto but set a maximum shutter speed time. right now every pic has the same shutter speed, which is just slow enough to avoid the blur at night (i also put in some high powered lightbulbs in front, this helped a lot too) but fast enough so daytime shots aren't washed out completely. trial & error over a few day/night cycles. annoying.
i'm really surprised that these cameras are so far behind regular digital cameras that cost significantly less. if i took my olympus camera and pointed it out the window on fully automatic mode it would take great snaps everytime. but anyway more on this toshiba.
the motion sensor is also highly configurable. it took a few days of trial and error to get it to trigger when a person walks by but not when a leaf blows by or when a cloud goes past the sun and the shadows all vanish briefly. some guidance from the user manual would have been helpful. barring that, trial & error worked out nicely.
the upload to ftp feature is amazing! except it doesn't work for beans. i read the camera logs and every time it connects to the ftp server it uploads a bunch of images then something screws up. and the camera NEVER RETRIES! you can't even set it to retry! it just gives up! this has got to be the most frusterating part of this camera and the one thing that would be SO EASY TO FIX, just have it retry after a failed attempt! and, believe me, it fails every single time. whether its due to a too short timeout period or a network error or who the heck knows what, without exception it has never succeeded in uploading more than a day or two's worth of images automatically. its about 35 feet away from the wireless router, line of sight, my laptop gets great reception right next to it, and the live video works almost flawlessly, but the ftp always fails. SO ANNOYING! i want to throw the thing out the window due to this one issue.
the other thing that really bugs me is the fact that it can't take video recordings. i have a cheapo camera and some software from wheresjames (WJ) that detects motion and records an mpeg video for as long as the motion continues. WJ saves this file on the hard drive or can ftp it to a server to be accessed remotely. color me ignorant but i figured a $450 (now $600!) wireless webcam of this one's obvious quality would have similar capabilities to a freeware software package connected to any $5 usb webcam. but noooo. no video recording capability at all.
redeeming it and saving it from an untimely defenestration is the quality of the pictures and the hope (dear hope!) that toshiba updates the firmware to fix these gargantuan problems.
hardware quality is impeccable, the thing is indestructable, pictures are amazing, wireless works well, it is a huge unit! i was shocked by how big it is! other features like the privacy filter, motion sensing zones, complete control over the camera operation, etc. are all wonderful (though many should have been set up to work automatically, maybe with different profiles such as "security camera - face capture optimized mode" or "baby monitor mode" or "wide area monitoring mode" possibly with two sets of configurated modes for different light levels, day/night optimization, etc.
so, while this camera is probably way way better than the rest of 'em out there the whole category has a long way to go before they reach the level of what people expect and what the category is capable of. cuz the software interface just stinks and it really hurts the ability to use the camera to its maximum potential.
i am a self-proclaimed computer expert, been doing this for 12 years, and i'm not satisfied with this camera but i do think its the best thing out there. so three stars. two for what it is and one more because its better than the rest. pls feel free to email w/ any questions. (it takes great night time pictures if properly configured.) ...more info
- Professional Quality Network Camera
The IK-WB11A is an excellent wireless internet camera. It has professional level features at a price point that is approachable to the prosumer market. This camera has great high-resolution images, outdoor operation, pan/tilt and good low light operation, making it an excellent choice for home and office installations. It is much different than the less expensive IK-WB01A, which has lower resolution and minimal support for motion detection. At this price point, you will not find a better camera than the IK-WB11A.
Setting up the camera is easy when following the basic instructions in the manual. Yes, it's not the best manual, but most people should be able to figure it out. If you don't know how to setup a home network, it might be a little challenging.
You'll need to first download and install the camera finder software from the Toshiba website. Directly plug the camera in to your network, power it up, run the camera finder software and launch the administrator interface. The username is root and default password ikwb, which I couldn't find in the manual. From there you can set the initial network settings and unplug the network cable to enable wireless mode if desired.
Most people will want to expose the camera on the Internet so they can view it when they are away from the installed location. If you don't have a static IP address, you can sign up with Toshiba's camerawebpage or, like me, sign up with dyndns. You can easily find this site with a Google search. Dyndns is also free and easy to use. Sign up for a new account and pick a sub-domain name. After activation, you'll enter these settings into your camera's administrative screen. Finally, you'll have to expose this camera to the public network. Most routers will have a firewall or DMZ setting to allow this. I've found it easiest to expose all traffic, in and out-bound, to the camera. See your router's manual for more information. I've set this camera up without problem on Linksys and 2Wire routers.
If you are having problems viewing images, you probably need to update your java runtime. Visit Sun's java website, install/update your java runtime and reboot. The url for this is in the instruction manual on page 12. You likely won't have to update the firmware on the camera unless it was shipped in early 2004. By updating java on client machines, I've been able to use the single camera viewer on Macintosh, Windows and Linux with IE, Firefox and Safari. Make sure pop-ups are allowed and Java is enabled. Setting frame rate and picture quality to medium or low can sometimes help if you get an image that's not changing.
There is also a great independant user forum, which you can find if you search for toshibanetcam forum. It's good if you are having problems and can't get much help from Toshiba tech support. The forum also lists out the camera's undocumented API so if you have some basic programming ability, it's easy to script control of the camera with almost any language....more info
- The camera and its firmware are just about excellent
When I initially installed this camera (my first) a few months ago I had tons of problems including lost connections, apparent lack of response and a few other extreme frustrations.
But, I gradually came to find that it was NOT the camera; my problems were caused by other irregularities. After correcting all the other matters, I found that the camera worked just fine. In fact, it is now the one reliable constant that I can depend on as I mess with everything else.
First, dial-up is out; Don't even bother trying to get all this to work until you have a high speed internet connection installed.
Moving the camera from a tripod inside a window to a permanent attachment outside on the wall helped a lot. Place it carefully - high to avoid theft and shimmed to point downward so that there is minimal sky and no nighttime headlights passing by to trip the alarm - yet low enough to recognize faces and license plates in the driveway.
Moving my router to a more almost-line-of-site location in the house made a big difference (for the camera and the computer).
Replacing our 2.4Ghz phones with 5Ghz virtually stopped the broken connections. Though the microwave oven can occasionally kill the wireless connection to my computer, the independent camera keeps on ticking.
Plugging the camera into a UPS helped smooth out the erratic power input (which we don't see but it is happening all the time).
Really learning the ins and outs of the included Toshiba software (and other purchased software) helped me refine and tweak until it began to behave. You have to allow time for that. Activate the Toshiba logs and keep your own running log so that you will know what you did.
Given that it is only a 1.45 MP camera (but better then expected after dark), this is an excellent camera and its firmware is very good. I good test of that is to establish a web site folder online (your ISP should be able to provide you with one) and set the camera to FTP motion triggered images up to that folder. Alternatively you can have it email the images to you. Then install shareware to automatically copy the attachments to a folder on your hard drive.
Then you can watch the image thumbnails as they arrive to see how the camera and your settings are doing. Begin with single low-res image (minimum) settings so as not to overwhelm your allotted space - then tweak upwards.
The users manual sucks. English was not the writer's first language so the terminology and sentence structure throws me off at times. It is not organized to follow the firmware's TOC and it leaves many questions unanswered. That is one reason I am writing my own. Feel free to follow my explorations as I figure this system out, if you like. I am not selling anything (though I would if I could). It is pretty much just an expansion of what I wrote here. If the link below is not active in your browser, just select it, copy it, and paste it into your address bar.
- Ultimately a terrible camera
I really wanted to like this camera. The hardware team did a great job and the camera has great features: pan/tilt, automatic iris, low light feature, capture to SD card, weather proof case...
However, the software team ruined everything. The firmware (the internal software that runs all the camera's functions) is worthless. Half the time the camera just doesn't respond. It requires constant rebooting to get even basic usage out of it. Because it's so unreliable and buggy, it makes the camera worthless for security or anything useful.
Tech support is non-existant. Their support webpage doesn't work (errors when you try to view the knowledgebase, for example). I'm a software developer and have been trying to get an SDK (basically instructions on how to program the camera) from their developer link, but they have never responded to me....more info
- Cam review
I have been very happy with this camera once I was able to get it up and running. The camera is everything they advertise and a little more. I'm very pleased with the low level light operation, and also the frame refresh rates. There are people all over the country accessing this cam and they are happy with the images.
I was unhappy with the users manual and how it explains the install, especially through a router. I was also very unhappy with the Toshiba tech support. I tried dealing with them 7 times. As strange as this may be I got the same operator all 7 times, who is lousy to to say the least. He told me to send the first camera I had back when I couldn't get it working, and order another one. Now that I have my second one operational I'm relatively certain that the first one was just fine, which this cost me money; with shipping costs and lost time.
To conclude this camera is a very solid performer, just don't expect any support from tech support....more info
- Technically excellent
I like this product and yet the "install" learning curve may be a bit steep for even a computer savvy guy like me. I am just entering the arena of wireless, so I can't fault Toshiba for my lack of know-how.
As is the case with most complex electronic products, the language of the manual is not clear, or if clear to the engineer, its clarity has not trickled down to the level of the user, who, I suspect, will not necessarily need a ready grasp of the intricacies of wireless LAN connections.
Therefore, I would urge a clearer manual, simpler, ad hoc, with the goal being "up and running" quickly.
And, so it goes....more info
- Good Hardware, AWEFUL Firmware / Technical Support
+ Great picture and weatherproofing; good for live viewing or photo taking on a home network; wireless is fairly reliable
- Horrible firmware; no FTP uploading / e-mailing of pictures; live remote viewing (3-4mbps (cable modem)) only at .25 and occassionally .5 mega pixels (1.45 is the max possible, which is definitely not what you're going to get with remote viewing, unless you do a work around (ie. use remote computer management and take the photos by controlling a PC remotely (ie. via PCAnywhere) that is on your home network and then taking the pictures)
I am moderately tech savvy (can design / publish my own website, can set up / trouble shoot / secure my home network, SQL proficient).
This device probably has the best quality photo from a network camera around $500 (8/16/05). The weatherproofing is a big bonus. Roughly double the price of the next options down with pan/tilt, but none of them have weather proofing or near the same quality photo.
FTP uploading and e-mailing of pictures is a horror show. I had to get a 3rd party software to do the ftp uploading and it's nearly impossible to see the high quality live image remotely, at least not with the camera's firmware (as of this review my firmware is current at: v. 302-312-311-111); it sucks.
Tech support is useless for solving the ftp / e-mailing problems. They also fail to follow up (ie. phone calls / e-mails) and pretty much have no idea when or if the firmware will ever be upgraded to work properly. Tech support repeatedly advised me that the reason why automatic ftp uploading / e-mailing of photos wasn't working was because my bandwidth was too slow. That part is definitely BS. I periodically tested and confirmed my speed with my ISP at about 3-4mbps average and the FTP uploading / e-mailing of photos works when you use 3rd party software or remotely controlling a PC on your network. I also had a troubleshooting session with linksys to verify that my router is not part of any problems.
I have a legal background. Although my specialty is not in IT / IP product liability I would guess that consumers would have a good case for nailing Toshiba with a class action suit for hawking an inherently defective product that is inconsistant with their advertising. Please feel free to contact me if you feel the same. On behalf of many likeminded consumers I wouldn't mind writing a formal letter and seeking legal counsel paid via a percentage of any potential settlement ([...])....more info
- Out of the box right into the repair shop - and then lost
I bought this camera based on reviews that I had read. I set it up and it mostly worked. The picture was excellent - but it is certainly a bandwidth intensive device. After a couple of days of use I noticed that if I faced it out a window, every 5 or 10 seconds it would 'Flash' white and then go black, and then return to normal. I called tech support (20 -30 minutes on hold) who said it was a known problem and gave me an authorization # to return the camera to the factory. It cost me about $40 to ship it back (with insurance). The support folks said the turnaround would be about 1 day. A couple weeks after sending it back I still had heard nothing and so I called tech support again (another 30 minutes on hold). This time they said they did not know where the camera was or when it would be shipped back - but they would get back to me within 1 or 2 days with more information (I suspect I will not hear from them again). At this point I am without the camera, without the money I paid for it (along with shipping costs to the factory), and have no clue when/whether I will see it again.
Oh, and another thing... although the camera is advertised as producing 30 frames/sec (small frames), in reality I could not get anything close to that with the Java applet in a browser. Even with the camera connected directly to my computer over a wired ethernet connection I could get maybe 3 or 4 frames a second (at 320 X 240). On the tiniest picture (postage stamp size) with maximum compression I could get maybe 10 frames second - but it was so small the picture looked like a little 'blob'. When I mentioned the slow frame rate to tech support they said that the camera puts out 30 frames a second but no browser would be capable of rendering that many frames in a second. They suggested that I purchase an additional piece of software for another $50 (Netcam software) and that would do the job. I took their advice and did buy it but I have no camera to test it with and so I have no idea if it works any better than the camera.
All in all this has been quite a frustrating experience. Oh well, 'Live and Learn'. Net time I will buy an Axis camera - (I read that they are excellent.)
- easy home security type camera
I wanted to get a camera for the house that I could check while on the road travelling for work. The Toshiba camera featured a low light level so I can type in my camera webpage address and see the front of the house at night in lower light levels. The camera works wirelessly from my linksys wireless B/G router. All I needed to do was plug the camera into power outlet which was in the garage. The power cord is 30+ feet. I found Toshiba updated the temperature specs so it can be used in -4 to 122F temperatures. It was easy to install and the picture quality is great at 1.45 megapixels. The camera also has a rugged housing unlike most cameras priced at the same level....more info