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Help with purchasing a city action/weather outdoor web cam.

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Joined: 03 May 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Chesaning, MI

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: Help with purchasing a city action/weather outdoor web cam. Reply with quote

I live in a small town in Michigan and about a year ago they converted an old broken down damn into a kayak run. The town’s population and businesses have been slowly declining with the recent downfall of the economy. In an effort to bring some interest back into this quaint little town I had the idea of implementing a weather/Action cam that overlooks the kayak run. The camera will be mounted outside approx 20 feet off the ground. Our temperatures fluctuate wildly. It should be capable of withstanding temperatures ranging from -40F to 100+F. The main purpose is to make this cam available via a website that users can visit. I would like and have seen in the past where the website visitor can control the camera for a period of time allowing them to zoom and pan the camera. I am looking for a good balance of quality picture and decent frame rate to allow for a positive end user experience. There are so many outdoor web cams available and the prices vary wildly that I need some direction in making this decision.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before you look at a webcam, consider what you are willing to pay for the experience. Many people think they can have a couple of people viewing and controlling their webcam, even with VGA resolution and do this with a home DSL or cable modem. Also, the problem becomes compatibility, so the best compatibilty comes from mjpeg or mpeg and that's a bandwidth hog. For example, I bet if you got the fastest DSL line you can get, you will be able to make one user frustrated if the goal is VGA resolution at 30 fps. I checked with my local cable company and getting their premier service (best home grade I can get), they are quoting 1.5 Mb/s upload (ignore download speeds, upload is what you need) or about twice as fast as the fastest DSL I can get was $62/mo and I bet you can get a user going with that level of service. to give you an idea, their business service, with 3MB upload, was $399/mo.

But here's the bandwidth calculations I see on Axi's website, for what they call 4CIF, or most of us call VGA or 640x480. They claim 880K/sec for 15 fps. So if you get a 3 MB/se upload speed connection, you can handle 3 users.

If you limit them to CIF size (320x240), it will use up 400K of bandwidth at 15 fps, so you can get about 7 concurrent users.

Now the camera, also depends on your needs and budget and if it will be mounted outdoors or indoors looking out and how much night vision you need or is this daytime only? The least expensive commercial grade cameras that are PTZ are from Panasonic, figure $650 to $1,000 depending on feautres. A really cool PTZ camera from Axis can cost as much as $3K.

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Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 907

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We'd add that with PTZ you have to deal with who has control over the PTZ functions and for how long. Its often cheaper to purchase 2 or 3 fixed cameras to cover the same zone you would with a PTZ.
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