Logitech WiLife 961-000286 Digital Video Security Indoor Master System Camera
 
List Price: $299.99

Our Price: $299.99

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Product Description

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Customer Reviews:

  • A good value for the price
    Thus far I'm pretty impressed with this security system. The cost is relatively low, setup is easy and the software offers many options for recording, viewing and notifications. The video signal travels through the electrical wiring in your house so there is no need to run additional cables for the video. You just need a standard electrical outlet. Also, you can't connect the camera to a surge protector due to the filters built into those devices. I haven't had to contact support so I can't comment on that part.

    Pros:
    - Fairly low cost
    - Easy setup with good well written instructions.
    - Good software with many options but still easy to use.
    - Able to monitor from any computer with an Internet connection.
    - Good video quality in good light.

    Cons:
    - Poor low light performance. Hard to ID even cars that pass under a bright street light by our home.
    - Frame frame drops in low light. The normal frame rate I set is 15fps. This seems to drop to about 5fps in low light.

    This could be a great system but they need to improve the low light capabilities ...more info
  • The Logitech Wilife Security LukWerks Indoor Master System - Nice Set With Updated Components

    The Logitech WiLife Digital Video Security Indoor Master System is my second set in this group of security products. I've added on a few components and learned how to deal with more of the system's features and quirks. As far as home security camera systems go, this is a very nice value. While I haven't had any issues with the components I have purchased, the previous incarnation did have some warts that have hopefully been addressed with this update.

    This unit includes the Wilife management software, one indoor camera, suction cup mount, bar mount, table stand and power and USB connectors. I like the product, although there are some reservations. You have to know your needs very well in order to know if this is right for you.

    The design of the indoor cameras is very unique though somewhat blocky. The outdoor cameras are more traditionally shaped. In any event, they all seem to work well once set up.


    PROS:
    + Updated hardware and software should improve reliability and ease of use
    + Nice power over Ethernet design means no batteries needed
    + Nice price for a fully functioning starter system
    + Improved cell phone and email alert features
    + Very easy to add cameras to the system
    + Nice available accessories to add on to your installation
    + Nice interface for management software with many customizable settings
    + Default settings will meet the needs of novice users without adjustments
    + System is motion activated, saving storage space
    + Video recordings are easily backed, copied, or erased
    + Video can be accessed via live feed over the internet
    + Firmware updates are readily available, with caveats

    CONS:
    - Installation can be somewhat time-consuming
    - Despite what they tell you, DO NOT ENABLE AUTOMATIC FIRMWARE UPDATES!!! Do them manually
    - Some features require a premium subscription at an additional cost
    - The starter set should have included at least one more camera
    - Lack of audio will disappoint more demanding users
    - Latency on website video access
    - Software interface requires some getting used to

    CONSIDERATIONS

    1. Your camera must be close to an outlet to connect it via the included 10 foot cable.
    2. You have to manually adjust the camera focus, so adjust it before mounting.
    3. Your computer must meet the hardware and software requirements.
    4. Your computer must be on all the time for video recording.
    5. You will need a broadband connection to access this video remotely.
    6. This power-line connection will work better with newer wiring.
    7. It's best to set up extra hard drive space for at least 10 GB of videos.
    8. The computer recording video needs to be a PC. A Mac running Windows in a virtual machine software might work.

    INSTALLATION

    Physically installing the cameras is straightforward. The receiver and the camera must be attached through power outlet via receiver plugs. The system connects to your computer over the power interface via the USB port.

    The software installation still requires some patience and hardware knowledge. Computers running Windows Vista, Antivirus software and software firewalls will need those security settings disabled to get the Wilife software to install. Still, it's well worth it to have this system installed on a secure computer. You can re-enable all that stuff when you are done, making sure to allow for your firewall to permit the Wilife software to access the internet.

    Installing on XP may be slightly easier, but you will still have to deal with disabling your Antivirus or desktop firewall if you are running those. You should want the computer that's storing your home security video files to be secure. Taking the extra time to have AV and a firewall working is worth the effort.

    Windows Vista requires a few reboots before the software installs and sees the cameras. On my first installation of the product I experienced some initial hanging, but I had better luck the second time I set up the starter kit in a different location. So the software has been improved, but it is still beneficial to be comfortable with computers.

    Setup can take about an hour or two depending on how you place your cameras and the speed of your computer. If you have issues, contacting support should be relatively painless, though I have not had to call them with the two systems I have set up.

    SETTINGS AND EXPANSION

    The system has options for adding on hardware in terms of more cameras and software in terms of premium features. If you want multiple cameras, you will have to buy those additional units as add-ons. It would have been nice if they would have simply produced a starter set with one of each or some other configurations. Still, most users will be happy with the starter sets.

    The Wilife Homeplug Bridge can integrate this with the pro set. Those that want to avoid using power-line communications may prefer to step up to the Wilife Pro Set or a different system all together.

    The management options for this unit are nice. You can adjust the setting for motion sensitivity to your liking after you are familiar and have been running this for a while. Phone or email notifications are easily set for motion activated recordings. The software lets you define the limits that must be exceeded to trigger an alert.

    The Wilife wasn't my first security system, and I've been happy with both the original and the update. Experienced users will love the features, except for a few functions which require you to upgrade to the premium package. Given the cost it's hard to argue with the features.

    CONCLUSION

    This is a nice set that has continued to improve. It's worth looking into depending on your needs and budget.

    Enjoy!
    ...more info
  • 15-Minute Install? Not Exactly . . .
    Wilife Digital Security System is the first video security system I've had that really works . . . at least part of the time. But it's a far cry from foolproof. And I'll admit to being something of a fool when it comes to electronics.

    I wanted this system to be able to look in on my sleeping mother (she has Alzheimer's disease) without waking her. And it turns out that the system is pretty good for that purpose, sometimes. Here's what I experienced:

    The Good

    Having this system in a bedroom where you want to look in on a baby or elder sometimes requires seeing in the dark. This camera is surprisingly good at producing an image in light where your eye fails to register an image. Lighten up your screen, if necessary, but you won't have to turn on a light to disturb your sleeper.

    The images produced are at or above the level of security cameras I've seen. Good, but not great. And good is enough to accomplish my purpose.

    So far, so good, but wait! There's more.

    The Bad

    Installing this system was anything but the 15-minute breeze promised by the Logitech blurb. I ended up calling their support number (the rep was helpful and pleasant) and finally resolved the problem with new software. (six hours)

    I wasn't done yet. The software needed to recognize the camera - and that took several trips to the Knowledge base to resolve. Turns out this system does not work or play well with my firewall (or my virus protection), so all those programs had to be turned off in order for camera recognition to occur (another four hours).

    Then my sleeper complained about the brightness of the light on the spy clock. I toned it down with a sheet of paper cut to fit the display, and she was pacified (another hour). Had I not taken this step, she would have removed the camera from her room, and the whole exercise would have been for naught.

    The Ugly

    The system refused to work at all this morning. Apparently, another program was interfering with recognition of the USB device, so I had to go through the entire install procedure again (another hour and 1/2). By this time, my temper is becoming frayed at the edges, and I'm wondering if it's really worth the effort I'm putting in to it.

    Conclusion

    Image quality is good enough for my purposes, and leaving my dedicated computer on all the time, I believe I can maintain contact with the camera. So, for me it's worth it.

    However, you shouldn't have to be a computer wizard to set this system up and get it working. Installation should be the breeze promised - but for me it was not!

    Three stars!

    ...more info
  • Works great, online viewing is cool...
    *Hint*... Before installing using the CD this product comes with, go to wilife.com and download the latest version instead.

    I really like this product. I've tried some of the X-10 garbage over the years, but never had a very favorable opinion of anything I received from them... especially with their software. The Logitech WiLife software is another story though. It's professionally done, and comes with cool features like the ability to define motion detection zones and sensitivity. Oh, and it works right out of the box (after some automatic configuration that takes 5 minutes or so).

    The image from the camera appeared strange at first. But since I agreed to "automatically check for updates" during setup, it quickly discovered new firmware that was available for the camera. I told it to update and it did so without any problems. When the camera came back on, the image was a lot better. Awesome!

    There are so many features that the software provides, like the ability to send e-mail or phone alerts when motion is detected. And of course the coolest thing is being able to view the video from a remote location using the internet (you must sign up for a free WiLife account first). Don't expect real-time viewing over the web though: the video you are viewing online is usually from 30 seconds to a minute ago... no big deal.

    This camera also comes with a nice variety of mounting options for standing up on a desk, mounting to a wall, or mounting to a window. It appears that a lot of thought went in to the design of this thing and it wasn't just slapped together to get a product out.

    The one thing I was disappointed with was all the "upgrade to the Platinum edition so you can do this and this" nonsense all over the software. You're first encounter is at the very first startup of the program, when a "Helpful Tips" window opens and tells you all the things you can do if you had the Platinum version (before you even get to see what you can do with what you already have)! Then there are a bunch of buttons on the screen for digital panning and zooming, etc that are for Platinum users only. It's a bit obnoxious if you spend a lot of money for a system and they bombard you with "yeah, but give us more money and you can have this and this". Why not offer a 6-month free trial of the Platinum features included in the somewhat high price of this product?!

    Platinum complaint aside, this really is a nice product, and the software is far from the garbage you get with other products like X-10. I may just have to get one of the outdoor cameras and an infrared add-on. :)...more info
  • Great for an inexpensive security system. Some caveats
    This is my second WiLife purchase. The WiLife system with indoor camera I have been using since the beginning of April. At that time I wrote a review, and some of this is derived from that. At the time I got the system, many people were reporting a problem with the transformers going while under the year warranty. I spoke with Logitech on the phone and they reported that they solved the transformer problem, and due to the reliable track record I have had since April 2nd, I have to agree with them. The old transformers that were shipped with the units were not sufficient for the demands of the system, so Logitech/WiLife has since upgraded them to a better unit.
    Another concern was that the cameras require a reboot after doing on online update through your computer. I updated right away the unit right out of the box, and no reboot of the camera was needed.
    Thirdly, those who are losing the camera signal, the software has an auto-detect single click feature. It disconnects, and then re-senses all of the cameras. It is like a refresh.
    One thing that is super important is that I could not detect the 2 cameras I had hooked up, and then I discovered the problem, I had the receiving unit, hooked up through the USB cable to the computer, and plugged directly into the AC, but in a surge suppressor; that is why it would not work. When I plugged it directly into the wall, it sensed them right away. They tell you to NOT plug cameras or the receiving unit into a surge suppressor. That is kind of un-nerving, considering I get lightning spikes in the summer, and this creates a direct line into the computer. Logitech states that they have their own surge suppressor already built into the units. They do not publish any kind of surge protection levels though, which I think would be a positive step toward a little hand holding.
    Some complained about cameras getting disconnected, and then having to reestablish the connection. I have not had such problems. As a matter of fact the new setup is receiving connections from the opposite end of a 60 foot house, through the standard electrical wiring system.
    I wish they had audio built in. My dream is to sit in front of the PC and if someone knocks on the door, click on the camera, and conduct a conversation; especially if it is all recorded.
    Having a motion sensor is great, and it automatically starts to record when someone even begins to approach the area. It is shocking but the motion sensor detects motion even before someone comes into viewing range.
    The camera does have a lagging time to readjust to changing lighting conditions. With a motion sensing light coming on, it took the camera 11 seconds to readjust so you could get a clear picture; that is too long for securing purposes at night time. They do have a night vision camera as an option which I do not have, so I cannot comment on it. Oddly enough the indoor secret camera that doubles as a clock when the light was switched off instead, it adjusted to the proper low light level in only 3 seconds. Hmmm.... how is that useful?
    My unit came with version 2.1 software, and I had upgraded to the 2.5 version already for my initial system. That brings up another cool thing, and that is that you can get 2 complete systems for not much more than just adding a second camera. The cameras are sending their signal and can be read by 2 receivers at the same time without any problems. They both record, provide live view etc. So why is that important? I have a 94 year old mother that I care for, and I placed the indoor camera number 2 in her bedroom. She loves to sleep in, so I can now be at either one of my PC's and periodically peek in on her without having to leave my chair. Not only can I do that, I also now can do that from either PC due to the fact that I have 2 complete systems, rather than one system plus a camera.
    Another concern I had was that this system should have its own PC to run on, so it wouldn't slow down my work machine. I have 1 Gig of ram, and this runs in the background, and I do not notice any performance drain. When you exit out of the program, it exits down to a little icon on the taskbar to the right, and only if you right click on the little camera icon, do you get the option to completely exit the program.
    I find the program to be very well designed. I navigate through it without having to figure anything out. It is all intuitive. If I click on a camera from within the 4 or 6 block grid, it automatically fills the screen. The list goes on; it doesn't need an instruction manual, that's how intuitive it is.
    The bottom line for me is that this provides the rest of us with a relatively inexpensive way to have a security system. Video quality is very good, especially when considering the quality of the video surveillance you see on TV when a store gets robbed.
    The internet access from any PC to observe any camera in your house or place of business is a big plus. You simply log into the web site, and view away. To me Logitech has gotten the bugs worked out from their early versions, and this is a system that I am glad to have, and would recommend to others.




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  • WiLife's Survellience Cameras Did What I Wanted Them to Do, But They Do Have Limitations
    I've had the Wilife camera system for two months, and I've found it meets my needs to provide a view of what's happening at certain places around the house (inside or out). I found the system delivers the goods by providing the homeowner a fairly clear image, stores the image in an easily managed retrieval program, and you can view "what is happening" when you are away from home over the Internet via your laptop or a smart phone. Also, you can individually set the cameras up to have the system E-mail or text you if there is motion detected or the system goes "off-line."

    The skinny review:

    Pluses: for the most part easy set-up, trouble shooting is extensively detailed (Logitech obviously wants you to be able to solve connection problems), Internet accessibility actions are recorded (and easily accessed), adaptability, the quality of the images can be varied, images can be saved, and movies can be saved of what is picked-up by the camera(s) in a WMA file.

    Negatives: starts to get pricey by the time you get your 4th camera, some places in the house not easily receptive to signals and not all cameras are suited to all areas (I write about this below).

    Full Review:

    This "Starter" system with the indoor camera is a great way to see what the system can do for you. I say this because, for me, the indoor camera was a little harder to set-up, but it also was flexible enough that I was able to easily change its location and could tell where I wanted to place my other cameras before purchasing them. In setting these locations, I sometimes used a laptop connected to the Internet to give me instant feedback on my placement of cameras and what the image would look like.

    Regarding problems, most had to do with receiving the signal from various points in my house, and my house, approaching 40 years old, has its share of additions that I am thinking a newer home with continuous wiring won't have this problem. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

    I do not know why a "surveillance" system has always intrigued me, but over the years I have tried several different wireless products (X-10's system, another wireless system with the cameras used with USB 2.0 water-proof Wireless Web Ready DVR Security System w/ 4 Pack Highigh Resolution Indoor/Outdoor Night Vision Surveillance Cameras with only "poor" to "fair" results. WiLife's system provided me with an affordable "starter" system, a good image, and it kept track of the activity that the cameras recorded.

    Here are my observations regarding the system with all of the various components and their installation:

    First of all, it is easy to hook-up. With the starter kit for the inside, I installed the software on a media computer I had integrated into my audio/visual system, plugged-in the receiver to an outlet that wasn't "protected" by a surge protector and placed the camera in another part of the house, plugging that camera's LAN-like connector into another outlet. The first time I hooked it up, it searched for the camera(s) after I told it I had "one." As I added cameras, I merely clicked on the "add additional cameras" button, changed the number of cameras, and it found them. With regards to firewall issues, I use OneCare Windows Live OneCare 2.0 (Up to 3 Users) for my computer's security, and it handled this for me by asking if I wanted to allow WiLife. I did and that issue was solved.

    With regards to set-up issues and the inside camera, I live in a rather sprawling house that has multiple floors and an addition (which is why my "radio signal" X-10 and other cameras had problems). I took the camera and placed it in different areas to see how it worked. In all but two places, it worked well and was easily picked-up by the WiLife program. With the camera at one location, after several times of not being able to discover it, the program actually had me assign an address, like an IP address, for the camera. After doing that, it worked fine, but I ended-up using an outside camera at that location, which picked-up the signal right away. NOTE: while I did not use the manual to work-out my problems, the manual is very detailed and a very good manual, especially in working through connection and firewall problems (if you have them). The manual is available on the CD and from their websight [...], and if you have any doubts about whether to get the system, you should download the manual and glance through it. In hindsight, I should have consulted it in addition to the instructions given by the program's help section in dealing with my minor problems.

    As for the various set-ups, on one camera I use the infrared light, and it is very inobtrusive. On the other cameras, I have an inside camera that is affixed to a window by the suction cup with the wide angle lens and another inside camera that is just in a room. This inside camera with the suction cup has stayed attached since I attached it six-weeks ago. One note about the infrared camera, it should not be used around a pool or spa for it sometimes "shows," depending on the color of the swimsuit, the swimmer's figure under the swimsuit.

    Which camera work best? The outdoor camera works best. I have a good picture from dawn to dusk (and even in twilight), and I have not had any problems with them sending the picture to the WiLife Computer Center. I have one of them pointed at my front door and one in the backyard that can view my hot tub or the backyard (more on that in a minute). I wish there was a way I could post a video, but if you look-up my name on youtube, I have posted one that shows the neighborhood children coming to the front door and getting candy from my wife. In that video, you'd see the picture of the entrance with just the light coming through the fixed-lights in the door, then, the fluorescent floodlights come-on (those usually take a few seconds to "warm" up), and finally the lights on the side of the doors come on. During the day, the picture is very good (I have posted a picture of the front door during the day).

    With the backyard outdoor camera, I attached-it to something my X-10 camera used that could rotate the camera to fixed points that one established. It was called a "ninja" unit, and I have found it to be helpful in allowing my backyard camera to view several spots in rotation, or however I want to do it.

    The clock, or "spy," camera is another camera that is easy to use. I hooked it up, and it was worked fine from the get-go. It picks-up an image in slightly lower light better than the inside camera. If there is one thing I wish the system had, it's that the clock camera had a battery back-up. While the electricity doesn't go off but once or twice a year where I live, it is still something I wish it had. On the plus side, the clock is one of the easiest I have found to reset.

    The system has done what I wanted it to do: I had some concerns that some of the neighbor children were trying to get into the spa, and the cameras showed me this wasn't true (my small dog was actually slipping-in through a 4-in opening); It shows me who is at, and who has come to, the front and other doors; and it has shown me what, if anything, my daughter does in my audio/visual room when I am not at home.

    If I had young children, I would probably have one of the cameras in their room and in their playroom, and pointed outside to the yards where they play. With my dog, I have been able to find-out if he is damaging anything while being left alone (sometimes he is guilty). Because the cameras turn-on and record activity, and show the recording on a time-line, one can easily go back and view what has happen during those recordings.

    This is not a security system, but I have found it supplements the centralized alarm system on my house quite well. Which brings-up an instance, and a feature I have not mentioned, the ability to view what is happening over your computer or your smart phone. We were out of town for the day, and I received a call about the alarm going off. The police were on their way to the house and the alarm dispatcher was checking to see if we had done anything to trigger the alarm. I told them no, and to let me know if they found anything. I immediately logged-in on the WiLife web site with my smart phone and clicked on the outside cameras. Because this was at night, I first saw the policeperson's flashlight at one of the entrances to the backyard (the alarm came from the back door being opened). Then, the outside security lights came on, and finally the police checking the doors. With the WiLife system, you can actually have notices sent to you if there is activity from any of the cameras by text and even an image of what triggered the camera if you want that information. Some of these features require a subscription fee, and this might be something you would want to consider. I have the subscription and like it. Regarding this instance, it turned-out that I forgot to close one door all the way and dog pushed it open.

    Overall, I have found the WiLife System has met my needs. I did get the extended warranties on equipment through NEW as offered on Amazon, and have been pleased with their service. The two times I have had a warranty issue with other equipment (a computer and a printer), NEW has taken care of the matter quickly or has had very good technical support to help me resolve the problem Even though I am not anticipating any problems with the WiLife System, sometimes it doesn't hurt to have the extra protection. I especially thought an extended warranty would be good since one cannot hook-it-up through an UPS or surge protector. I have uploaded several pictures to give you an idea of how the images sent by the cameras look.


    ...more info