Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: TriVision NC-336PW HD 1080P Wireless Outdoor Home Security Camera System, 4mm focus Length Lens
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on July 7, 2013
(See the October 26, 2013 update near the end of this review for a solution to the white ring/arc present in the nighttime video.)
(See the August 23, 2014 update at the end of this review for the 14 month update.)
(September 20, 2014: If you own this camera, or one of the other TriVision 720P or 1080P cameras, I strongly suggest installing the just released 5.78B (20140916) firmware version. The new firmware version not only adds the ability to adjust the image brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, and auto exposure target for the camera through a new Image Setup menu option, but also significantly improves the default color accuracy, contrast, and image sharpness. See the before and after images that I recently uploaded.)

Description of the Attached Video:
The attached video shows several video clips that were triggered by the cameras' motion capture capabilities (most of the specified motion pre-record video segment was trimmed); a variety of day and nighttime clips are included so that image quality and sound capture capabilities may be judged appropriately. The video clips were imported into an application where subtitles were added, and the video was output as a 1920x1080 resolution WMV video file (12 frames per second, with a 4400kbps target - roughly the same as the original recording) with minimal video or sound quality loss. The timestamp at the top-left of the video was added automatically by the cameras during recording.

I recently noticed that TriVision released their NC-326PW 720P security camera in the same bright white bullet housing as their 640x480 (480P) cameras. I ordered four of those 720P cameras. I noticed a couple of days later that TriVision also offered a NC-336PW 1080P camera in the same bright white housing, so I ordered a couple of those cameras and will buy more when the cameras are in stock again.

The NC-336PW cameras came preinstalled with firmware version 5.40 (build 20130516), while TriVision support provided to me firmware version 5.43 (build 20130620). Other than entering a couple of configuration settings, I almost immediately upgraded the cameras to the 5.43 firmware version, which adds the ability to record three, five, or 10 seconds before a motion detection event, increases the recording brightness, and apparently fixes a couple of bugs. The settings were not lost when the new firmware version was installed. The five second pre-motion detection recording (which helps compensate for occasionally late motion detection), combined with a 15 second split time is just about perfect when reviewing thumbnail previews of the recorded video clips using Windows 7's Windows Explorer.

Positives:
* Motion detection simply works. The motion detection had little trouble picking up and triggering the recording of moving cars on a road 180 feet (55 meters) from the camera. Wasps, birds, woodchucks, and skunks also have a hard time evading the motion detection, as well as just about every passing bug at night. It should be possible to connect a $100 PIR device to the camera to reduce the number of false positives, but such a device decreases the motion detection capability from 200+ feet (61 meters) to just 40 feet (12 meters).

* Works with the Multi-Live software that shipped with the older TriVision cameras, but this software does not ship with this camera. Multi-Live provides a quick simultaneous view of up to 36 cameras. Multi-Live shrinks the NC-336PW camera's native 16:9 aspect ratio to a 4:3 aspect ratio without cropping the edges of the image. The supplied Camera Live software is able to find the NC-336PW and NC-326PW cameras, but could not connect to any of the older TriVision cameras. The MultiLive functionality in the Camera Live software seemed to be useless until I determined that I needed to click an icon near the bottom of the screen to add the detected cameras that were of interest (this step is not described in the otherwise excellent manuals).

* Works with the IP Cam Viewer (Basic) app on Android (Motorola Xoom) tablets to allow simultaneous viewing of multiple security cameras, much like the Windows based Multi-Live program - just without audio. The P2PCam264 app, which is recommended by the manual, is able to find the NC-336PW (and NC-326PW) cameras, but is unable to show real-time video from cameras on the Motorola Xoom tablet.

* The NC Setup utility, which also ships with the older cameras, works well with the new cameras to quickly locate and help configure cameras that are still using DHCP assigned IP addresses (I suggest changing all cameras to static IP addresses as soon as possible - the older TriVision cameras were unstable when using DHCP assigned IP addresses).

* Just like the older TriVision cameras, the NC-336PW records videos in Apple QuickTime (.mov) format. Windows 7 and Windows 8 are able to play back that video format natively using the Windows Media Player, while Windows Vista will require a third party program to play back the video.

* While the NC-336PW camera is advertised as supporting 1080P recoding at 15 frames per second, and with the firmware update seemed to offer 30 frames per second at 1080P, Windows reports that most of the videos are recorded at 12 frames per second, possibly to stay within the 4096kbps maximum bit rate. Why is this limitation listed as a positive and not a negative? There are no JPEG type large blocky artifacts in fast motion, as was experienced with a different brand's 1080P cameras. The motion, while a bit like a "flip frame" of 12 static pictures per second, experienced no pauses in motion as was seen with the other TriVision (including the NC-326PW) cameras. In good daylight, it is possible to pause a video of a vehicle traveling 40 MPH (64 KMPH) at a distance of 180 feet (55 meters) from the camera and determine the stylized hole pattern in the vehicle's wheels. That "flip frame" characteristic should also make it possible to easily read vehicle license plates, even when the vehicle is at an angle to the camera.

* Less than one percent of the videos asynchronously uploaded to an FTP server are unusable due to corruption (some of those videos that appear corrupt may be recorded as just 0.001 second video clips). The video upload speed may be throttled to prevent one camera from consuming all wireless bandwidth due to rolling fog or rolling spiders weaving a web in the camera's view. The throttling and asynchronous upload seems to work great - one of the cameras had six hours of spider web weaving spooled up on the memory card, while the camera maintained the specified maximum throughput until all spooled videos were uploaded.

* Core functionality of the camera allows the camera to minimize wireless (or wired when using the integrated 100mbps RJ45 connection) network traffic caused by the camera - the camera does not need to continuously broadcast its video feed to a digital video recorder device for the video with motion to be captured (although the camera can continuously broadcast its video stream with almost no configuration). With the configuration of two tasks in the camera, the camera is able to record motion triggered video to an installed MicroSDHC memory card (I use a SanDisk Ultra 32 GB class 10 card), and then asynchronously upload that video to an FTP server (I use a Synology NAS with the FTP service enabled). With the two task configuration, the camera will continue to record motion triggered video to the internal memory card if the FTP server is unavailable. Video may be uploaded to a NAS or Windows share using a single configured task in the camera; however, the camera will not revert back to using an installed memory card when the NAS or Windows share is unavailable.

* Optional camera tasks are available to schedule periodic captures of still frame JPG images and send those pictures to email servers (the feature is not compatible with all email servers, the manual recommends Google's Gmail - not tested), FTP servers, HTTP web servers (not tested), and to storage (either the configured memory card or a NAS). Additional optional tasks allow sending one or more still frame JPG images to the same destinations when motion is detected.

* Supports multiple video stream types including MPEG4, MJPEG (no audio, although oddly the NC-336PW somehow included audio in the MJPEG steam while the NC-326PW did not), H.264, RTSP audio, HTTP M3U8, HTTP ASF, and JPG image (with a consistent filename). The free VLC Media Player is able to decode and display many of the stream types.

* The camera seems to work very well with Internet Explorer, on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. An ActiveX control will automatically download when the camera is accessed using Internet Explorer, allowing the live video feed from the camera to be viewed during camera configuration of the up to four motion detection sensitive areas. The camera's Live View web page also uses this ActiveX control to display the live video feed from the camera on a simple web page.

* When accessing the camera with the Google Chrome browser, the web browser automatically prompts to download Apple QuickTime program if not already installed. Once downloaded and the plugin is enabled, the QuickTime control is used when configuring the up to four motion sensitive areas, as well as with the camera's Live View web page.

* The camera supports streaming playback of video stored on the optional memory card, allowing quick views of the video. The older TriVision cameras required a much more time consuming process to view video stored on the camera's memory card, a process which downloaded the entire video clip before playback could begin. The recorded video will play back using either the QuickTime control or the TriVision ActiveX control.

* Video uploaded to an FTP server or NAS is stored in a single folder (directory) on the server, which allows quick review of the video uploaded by multiple cameras throughout the day. A different brand's 1080P camera, in contrast, uploads video into a nested directory storage structure of \ Year \ Month \ Day \ Hour \ Minute - that nested directory structure makes it impossible to quickly review video uploaded by one or more cameras.

* The NC-336PW camera seems to have approximately twice as many vertical pixels per inch as the older NC-306W or NC-316W cameras - so each pixel in the older 640x480 cameras is now described by an average of four pixels. The vertical and horizontal area captured by the NC-336PW camera exceeds the area captured by the older 640x480 cameras - there are approximately 60 to 90 additional pixels of viewable image at both the top and bottom of the video, and approximately 320 additional pixels of viewable image at both the left and right of the video (roughly 50% wider viewing area than the older 640x480 cameras). The NC-336PW and the 720P NC-336PW seem to offer the same resolution - the 720P camera appears to simply crop the captured video to roughly the same viewable width as the older 640x480 cameras, and with a smaller viewable height than the older cameras.

* The recorded video in bright sunlight is fantastic if your computer monitor supports at least 1920x1200 resolution (or 1920x1080 resolution if watching the videos full screen). On high resolution monitors, the captured video is slightly muddy in appearance on cloudy days and in the early morning/late evening. The 1920x1080 recorded video will play back on lower resolution monitors, just with a bit less crisp image quality.

* Allows remote viewing of camera video from outside the network (not yet attempted, but there seems to be no reason why this would not work once the network firewall was configured to permit connections and port forwarding was enabled on the firewall, should be a nearly automatic process with a router that supports universal plug and play (uPNP)).

* Connects wirelessly to 802.11b/g/n WEP and WPA2 encrypted networks even when the network SSID is not being broadcast (tested with multiple Cisco Linksys E2000 routers acting as access points, and a Cisco Linksys E4200 router).

* Automatic light intensity adjustment during the daytime, automatically switching to black and white night vision if the automatic infrared lights are enabled.

* Offers two-level user access security to the camera for administrators and regular users.

* Recorded video may be broken up into 60 second intervals (configurable between 10 and 600 seconds) to make certain that the video is transferred quickly to a FTP server - recording will continue for a user specified duration (configurable between 5 and 86400 seconds) after motion detection ends. Continuous recording is also possible, but only to the optional internal memory card.

* Supports mobile devices (iPad, Android) through third party software, as outlined in the manual (tested to work OK with the "IP Cam Basic" app on a Motorola Xoom when setting the camera manufacturer to Sharx).

* The mounting stand, with a three inch diameter round base, works well for mounting the camera to the sides of buildings. Overhead mounting is also possible with the included male-female extender nut. Screws and expandable concrete anchors are included to assist in mounting the camera. The camera also includes a white (nearly) waterproof enclosure for the converter box that the camera connects to - the converter box provides power, wired Ethernet (and power over Ethernet), and digital I/O connectivity with PIR units, amplified speakers, and burglar alarm systems. The white waterproof enclosure eliminates the need to drill a large 5/8 inch (edit: 3/4 inch) diameter hole through the building's wall to allow running the cable extending from the back of the camera to an indoor power source. With the white waterproof enclosure, a roughly 1/4 inch diameter hole will be required for either a Cat 5 Ethernet cable (if using power over Ethernet) or the end connector on the power supply to pass through.

* Configuration is not terribly difficult, but is a bit time consuming when multiple cameras need to be configured. The configuration process is easier than what was required for the TriVision NC-107W, NC-107WF, and NC-306W cameras, but the steps are roughly the same as required by the TriVision NC-316W cameras.

* The cameras are able to automatically synchronize with external time sources (NTP servers found on the Internet, however the time on the cameras tends to drift a bit more than what is acceptable - roughly 30 seconds per week).

* The power supply included with the camera has a very long cord (roughly eight to ten feet) which helps with installation. The cable extending from the back of the camera is a usable length for routing inside a building, although an extra foot of length probably would make installation easier for some locations.

Negatives:
* The perfect motion detection sensitivity and threshold values that work well for the daytime operation are slightly too sensitive at night time with the infrared night vision. The camera will generate a lot of false positive motion detection events at night due to bugs passing by the camera.

* The camera at times seems to have difficulty selecting the correct brightness adjustment for a scene, possibly adjusting the brightness six or more times in the span of two seconds on cloudy days. This rapid brightness adjustment often causes false positive motion detection events.

* With the camera working in complete darkness, relying solely on its infrared lights, a bright ring of light appears near the border of the recorded videos, with the area inside the ring fairly well lit and the area outside the ring sparely lit. The TriVision NC-326PW 720P camera did not exhibit this bright ring - the location of that bright ring may have been in the cropped area of the NC-326PW's recorded video.

* Black and white night vision video is very grainy compared to the night vision video captured by the older TriVision cameras - the older cameras may have applied an extra smoothing operation to the captured black and white image. The file size of the night vision video is roughly the same file size as the daytime recorded video, while the older TriVision cameras produced a significantly smaller night vision file size than that required by their daytime video.

* There is a slight bowing distortion of the video near the top and bottom centers of the recorded video, as well as near the left and right centers of the recorded video.

* The recommended Android app for P2P video could not playback a live video stream on a Motorola Xoom tablet. The included Camera Live software is not fully documented in the printed manual, making it unnecessarily difficult to simultaneously play back video from multiple cameras. The Camera Live software, while it quickly locates the newer TriVision cameras, does not support the older TriVision cameras.

I recommend contacting TriVision support to obtain the latest firmware version before purchasing the camera; if no response is received from TriVision support, then consider purchasing a different product (even though the preinstalled firmware may be completely usable). In the past I had difficulty contacting their support department through their email address when using two different free email addresses, but was successful with a third non-free email address.

-----

Update October 26, 2013:
I now have eight of the NC-336PW cameras, all of which work well. Some of the cameras are using power over Ethernet with up to 150 feet (46 meters) of direct burial Cat 6 cable. Most of the problems and annoyances that I mentioned in the original review have been corrected or addressed by TriVision support. The fixed problems and annoyances include:
* Bright white ring or white arc in night time video - the video attached to this review shows the problem. Six of the eight cameras that I received experienced the white ring or white arc problem; the two cameras bought in September 2013 did not experience that problem (one with a 3.8mm wide angle lens like the other six, and one a with a 6mm narrower angle lens). So far, I have fixed four of the six cameras using the fix described below; the fix also seems to remove some of the graininess of the night time videos.

* Six or more brightness adjustments within two seconds. One of the recent firmware updates (possibly 5.49 or 5.51) corrected the rapid and repeated brightness adjustments; the cameras now perform a single brightness adjustment. The single brightness adjustment still seems to trigger the motion detection possibly 20% to 40% of the time.

* Update firmware recommendation. The cameras seem to ship from the factory with the latest (or very close to latest) firmware version.

* Quick Guide manual provided with the camera recommends the P2PCam264 app and does not describe how to set up the Camera Live software to simultaneously view multiple cameras. The Quick Guide manual was updated in mid to late July 2013 to address those two issues. The Quick Guide now recommends using the free AnyScene app on Android and Apple iOS devices - that app works well on a Motorola Xoom tablet. Page 13 of the Quick Guide manual now describes how to configure the Camera Live software for simultaneous viewing of multiple cameras.

* Less than two second videos occasionally recorded with no picture. I have not seen this issue in a while, so I am not sure if the problem was corrected by a firmware update, or by locating an up to 29dBm wireless access point within 80 feet (24 meters) of the cameras.

* Grainy nighttime video, slightly muddy daytime video when the image captured by the camera is not in direct sunlight. Firmware version 5.45 seemed to improve the daytime and nighttime video quality a bit. The fix to remove the white ring (or arc) at night also seems to have added a bit more detail to the nighttime video. The camera with the 6mm lens makes objects in the captured video larger, for a more zoomed in picture, allowing even easier identification of the type of wheels installed on a car at a distance of 180 feet when the car is traveling at a rate of about 40 MPH. The 6mm lens, while offering roughly a 40% smaller viewing angle (slightly wider than the 640 x 480 TriVisions), exhibits less image distortion at the edges, and the infra-red LEDs cover a greater percentage of the nighttime image. I understand that TriVision is discontinuing the cameras with the 3.8mm wide angle lens, with the final batch at the Amazon fulfillment center. Once those cameras are gone cameras with 6mm and 12mm (an even narrower, more zoomed in view) lens will be offered.

* Now compatible with the Synology Surveillance Station using an ONVIF camera configuration.

New Minor Issues: Camera firmware version 5.45 seems to have introduced occasional stutters in the video recorded to the internal memory card. The same stutter behavior is seen to a greater extent in the NC-326PW, NC-316W, NC-306W, and NC-107W TriVision cameras. Camera firmware version 5.49 removed the ability to throttle the speed of FTP transfers.

--

TriVision support sent a suggestion to me that eliminated the white ring in the night time picture on the four NC-336PW cameras that I tested (directions that I created for the modification follow). For roughly $1 it is possible to fix up to 15 cameras, and if you have small and steady fingers, the fix requires about 10 minutes per camera.

Go to the hardware store and buy a package of washers for #6 bolts - look for thin washers that are about 1/32 inches thick (I used flat internal star/internal tooth lock washers). Spread a towel or something similar under the camera that is able to trap falling screws. I found that cardboard does not work very well because the screws tend to bounce when striking the card board. You will need a #1 Phillips screwdriver (big box stores sell an entire kit of small screwdrivers for about $5 if you do not have a #1 Phillips on hand) to disassemble the internals of the camera, and a #3 Phillips screwdriver to remove the sun shield. You will also need a thin pair of needle nose pliers to set the washers in position, and the Allen wrench that shipped with the camera.

Unplug the camera. Remove the sun shield and lens cover and set them aside. Use the Allen wrench to loosen the mount and rotate the camera so that the lens points straight up, then tighten the mount with the Allen wrench. There are three very small screws that hold the infra-red lights' circuit board in place, remove those screws and put them in a safe place. Remove the infra-red lights' circuit board from the mount and without unplugging it, let it hang from the side of the camera (do not touch any components on the circuit board, handle by the edges only). There are three screws that hold the lens circuit board in place. Remove the screw that is the hardest screw to reach, and put it in a safe place that is easy to reach. Loosen the other two screws as far as possible, but do not remove the screws. Lift the lens circuit board. Use the needle nose pliers to put one of the #6 washers under the lens' circuit board on top of the screw post belonging to the screw that was removed. Very carefully reinstall that screw just far enough so that it grabs in the threads. Remove one of the other two screws and repeat the process of installing the #6 washer and the screw just far enough so that it grabs in the threads. Remove the remaining screw, install the #6 washer, reinstall the last screw, and then tighten all screws. If any screws or washers fell inside the camera body, use the Allen wrench to loosen the mount, put one hand under the camera, and with the other hand rotate the camera on the mount so that the lens faces down. You may need to swing the camera a bit for the screws and washers to fall out into your hand. Finally, reinstall the circuit board for the infra-red lights on the screw posts and screw in the remaining screws to hold the infra-red light's circuit board in place. Reinstall the lens cover, reinstall the sun screen, loosen the mount, plug in the camera, and reposition the camera as necessary.

If all goes well, the process should take about 10 minutes. Make certain that the lens glass and lens cover glass are not touched when performing the modification.

--

Some people may experience problems when trying to switch the camera from a wired connection to a wireless connection. The explanation of the problem is a little technical, so you may want to skip reading the last paragraph. The simple solution is usually, after unplugging the network cable from the camera, to reboot (unplug the power for 30 seconds, and then plug back in) the device into which the network cable was connected (do not reboot the camera - it is not the problem in this case). The camera may then receive a different IP address, so you may need to use the Camera Setup program to find the camera on the network again.

In simple terms, what happens is the device into which the camera was connected remembers "any time someone wants to access the camera, send the communication to Ethernet port nnn". When you unplug the Ethernet cable, the camera will automatically switch to using its wireless network adapter, which has the same fingerprint (MAC address) as the camera's Ethernet port adapter so that the camera's IP address does not change when you unplug the Ethernet cable. What happens is that the router or switch (or whatever you plugged the camera into) continues to insist that the device with the camera's MAC address is found on Ethernet port nnn, even though the camera announces to the network that the camera's MAC address is connected to the wireless "port". The router or switch (or whatever you plugged the camera into) is effectively blocking the communication between your computer and the camera.

The problem boils down to an issue with the router or switch not correctly updating its MAC address routing table when the camera's MAC address jumps from a wired connection to a wireless connection. I have not yet experienced this problem with the NC-336PW cameras, but did encounter the same problem with Y-Cam's Bullet 1080P cameras, and the older TriVision NC-107WF cameras (and probably the NC-306W also). I am guessing that the reason that I did not encounter the problem with the NC-336PW cameras is either because I updated the firmware in my Cisco (Linksys) routers, or because I had multiple Cisco (Linksys) routers (that configuration effectively allows the first router to see that the camera's MAC address is found on the Ethernet port that connects the two routers when the camera jumps to the other router's wireless connection). Ideally, the camera should use a different MAC address for the wireless and wired connections so as not to confuse routers and switches - the problem is that DHCP servers on the network (which hand out IP addresses) use the MAC address to decide if a device should receive the same IP address (I remember you, here is your old IP address again), or a different IP address; the camera would likely have 2 different IP addresses depending on if the camera was using the wireless or wired connection.

--

Using a "Kill A Watt" meter I checked the power requirements of a TriVision NC-336PW camera when using the supplied 12 volt power supply:
Infra-red lights off, Ethernet connection, one client viewing 1080P stream: 0.06 AMPs (120V), 3.6 Watts
Infra-red lights on, Ethernet connection, one client viewing 1080P stream: 0.10 AMPs (120V), 5.6 Watts
Infra-red lights off, Wireless 802.11g (no antenna to simulate a weak signal), one client viewing 1080P stream: 0.07 AMPs (120V), 3.9 Watts
Infra-red lights on, Wireless 802.11g (no antenna to simulate a weak signal), one client viewing 1080P stream: 0.10 AMPs (120V), 5.9 Watts

So, it appears that the camera requires 3.6 Watts for basic operation, uses 2 additional watts when the infra-red LEDs are used, and uses 0.3 additional watts when connected wirelessly

-----

Update August 23, 2014 (14 month update):
I now have 16 of these cameras. While the cameras still are not perfect (primarily contrast problems when part of the scene is dark while part of the scene is well lit), the cameras have been extremely reliable for their intended purpose as security cameras. Each camera has a SanDisk 32GB class 10 microSDHC memory card installed, with the cameras configured to upload recorded videos to a Synology NAS using FTP. I have not had to replace the memory card in any of the cameras, although I have had to reformat the memory card from one camera using a computer three times, and the memory card from another camera twice.

I still use the MultiLive program that shipped with the old 640x480 TriVision cameras for a quick view of all cameras at a site, even though the MultiLive program does not produce high quality video playback from the cameras (it seems to pull the camera's lower resolution secondary video stream). I recently determined that I could construct a simple web page stored on my computer's desktop to create a MultiLive-like play back with live high resolution video feeds from all cameras within an Internet Explorer web browser window (using the camera's ActiveX control), so I may make the transition to that method of multi-camera live viewing. The Windows version of the CameraLive program (there is now a Mac version included on the CD that ships with the camera), even the latest version with a June 3, 2014 date stamp, still lacks the multi-camera live viewing flexibility of MultiLive (or my Internet Explorer simulation of MultiLive).

I noticed that the night time vision of some of the NC-336PW cameras seemed to be a bit darker than I had recalled. Earlier this week I checked nine of the cameras that are at least eight months old, and found that either the top half or the bottom half of the cameras' infra-red LEDs had failed on four cameras. One or two of the other cameras had a couple of slightly dim infra-red LEDs. I contacted TriVision support through email yesterday, and received a response a short time later stating that replacement infra-red LED light boards would be sent to me for free under warranty - I was also provided with a firmware update that was released on August 18, 2014 (that firmware update uses the Adobe Flash Player for stored video playback, rather than the Apple QuickTime player). The TriVision Tech company is still in business, even if their website is still unavailable.

As some other reviewers have noticed, the current TriVision NC-336PW cameras ship with a 6mm lens that provides a roughly 60 degree viewing angle (not 90 degrees as stated on the product page, as was the case for the original NC-336PW). I installed a 4mm lens into four of my recently purchased cameras to provide a wider angle, roughly 90 degree view. When installing the last two lenses I found that it really was not necessary to remove the infra-red light board, so that procedure change made short work of the lens switch. The wide-angle lenses may be purchased here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IHA4C5E/

I installed the 5.57 firmware on all of my NC-336PW cameras in late December 2013, shortly before the polar vortex and the accompanying -14F temperatures arrived. None of the cameras had any problem operating for the day and a half when the temperature did not rise above -13F. I just checked nine of the NC-336PW cameras and found that three have operated continuously for 242 days (the date that the 5.57 firmware was installed), one has operated continuously for 205 days (the memory card corrupted 205 days ago, so the camera had to be powered down), and the remaining cameras have operated continuously for 60, 51, 44, 9, and 1 days (these cameras self-rebooted for some reason). Even for those cameras that tend to self-reboot on occasion, the cameras have always worked when needed.

Overall, even though I have experienced some minor issues, I would not hesitate to purchase another TriVision NC-336PW (unless, of course, TriVision or some other company released a 4K ultra high definition resolution security camera with similar functionality).
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on September 8, 2014
I am comparing this, the TriVision NC-336W to the Foscam FI9805W. All setups are using wireless and are NOT using ethernet or POE.

Video Quality

This is probably the most important aspect of a security camera so I will cover it first. The TriVision NC-336W is 1080p or 1080 x 1920 resolution. That means it records in wide screen and will play in wide screen just like an HDTV and will cover the full screen of an HDTV, no cropped borders of any kind. The Foscam FI9805W is 960p or 1280 x 960 resolution which means it records in full screen and you will have black borders on the left and right side of the screen, no wide screen. However, the field of view is limited to the TriVision. It seems to be focused 2x or 4x closer then the Foscam which has a much better field of view in my opinion. After a bit of research I found out why. The TriVision NC-336W is fitted with a 6mm lens which is only a 50 degree angle field of view VS the Foscam FI9805W is fitted with a 4mm lens which covers a 70 degree angle field of view. So that is the reason why the fields of view are different. However, you can purchase a 4mm lens for the TriVision for around $25 to give it the same field of view as the Foscam FI9805W. I also performed a snapshot comparison between the two to see how clear a persons face could show up while the person was standing back roughly 20 ft from the cameras. The TriVision clearly has a higher resolution then the Foscam and comparing the two snapshots side by side I was able to make out the persons face more clearly with the TriVision's snapshot. So the quality of the TriVision is noticeably better.

Recording

There are a couple different ways to record using the TriVision. The best would be to have the camera record to a micro SD card which you can insert into the camera and then auto transfer to an FTP server or NAS(this is a feature built-in to the TriVision camera's interface). This way the recorded video has less frame skips and less lag then if recording directly from the camera to an FTP server or NAS. The TriVision offers just that. However, the Foscam does not offer this and the recordings from the Foscam show frame skips and sometimes severe lag which lead to a person appearing on the left side of the camera field of view to the right side of the cameras field of view as if the person teleported. So there are extremely noticeable frame skips with the Foscam. It seems to do a bit better when plugged in via an ethernet cable but the reason for purchasing these cameras are to use their wireless capabilities. However, when viewing the TriVision recordings there are constant skips that flow with the video which looks better then huge frame skips like the Foscam. Mind you I am using local gigabit LAN and 300N LAN networks for testing so I have plenty of bandwidth.

Interface

The user interface, which is what you see when you log into the camera using its built-in interface, is far more friendly for the Foscam then the TriVision. The Foscam is more eye candy and has eye friendly buttons and has a nice feel to it when navigating. The TriVision looks old school with very few buttons and instead text as buttons and you have to click right on the text in order for it to respond. The TriVision interface could definitely use a major upgrade.

Customer Support

Even though Foscam has support phone numbers you ALWAYS get a hold of someone outside the USA country and have a very rough middle eastern accent agent. I have called their support numerous times and I feel like I am talking to a teenager with very little to no experience about their products. And the first thing they always want to do is remote in and take control of your computer using Team Viewer. And then when I ask for a more qualified level 2 technician to call me back they never do. Lets just say I have had extremely painful phone conversations and it ends with me being frustrated. However, they have a website where you can post on their forum, email support, which I never used so can't comment on it, and a download site to download your most current firmware updates in pdf form that have picture illustrations and very detailed instructions. As for TriVision support, there is no current website, no support phone number (they stated in an email that they would have both soon) and the only way that I have seen to contact them is by when you purchase their product you get a contact email in the support manual. However, I have had more educational and above all better support experience with TriVision's email support then Foscams phone support. TriVision usually emails you back within 24 hours with mostly a non-broken English email with pictures and details instructions to your problems. This is also the only way you can stay up-to-date with firmware updates is to contact their support and ask if their have been any firmware updates. Its crude, and I don't usually trust companies without a website and contact number, but TriVision has shown they are more responsible about their products and have better knowledge about their products then Foscam does.

Cost VS Quality

The TriVision NC-336W is more than double the price of the Foscam FI9805W. Why? Well, the TriVision camera obviously has better video quality but not as better that it costs us double. So then we go onto how well the camera is built. The TriVision is skinnier but a little longer then the Foscam. The TriVision's socket ball mount is much more flexible and can be rotated in pretty much any direction you can go. The Foscam socket ball mount is more limited and is not as flexible as the TriVision. The TriVision's camera is made up of hard metals and you can tell it would last a lot longer. It also looks more modern and very expensive. The Foscam seems to be made up of aluminum or maybe even very hard plastic. But you can tell side-by-side that the TriVision is more slick, more modern and more durable then the Foscam. Also, the antenna can be bent and screwed in much easier then the Foscam. But does all this make up for the steep cost of the TriVision camera? In my opinion, no.

Summary

In my opinion, the TriVision NC-336W recording quality is superior to the Foscam FI9805W and that is usually what counts in video surveillance systems. In fact, the TriVision is superior to the Foscam in every way except for the expense and the user interface which the TriVision is a little more then double the price of the Foscam but is it worth the extra money? I believe no, it is not worth the money. I believe the extra cost for the TriVision is more than 25% of what it should be. However, if they included the 4mm lens with a viewing angle of 70 degrees rather then the 6mm lens that has a viewing angle of 50 degrees, I may have overlooked the price. I took two stars away, -1 for being too expensive and another -1 for not having a website or phone support available.

I hope this review helps you choose between these two security cameras.
44 comments|96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 6, 2014
After many trial and errors with cameras, I ended up spending the extra money and getting these. Boy they didn't disappoint!

Setup isn't difficult, but requires at least SOME technical knowledge. Firmware upgrades are needed immediately, and you must email support to get those updates. Support is FANTASTIC with this company, despite their being in China. Usually 1-2 hours maximum to get detailed replies back. Very friendly. info@trivisiontech.com usually respond immediately, and if you email them ask for the firmware and they will email back the firmware with detailed instructions.

After the firmware is updated you are ready to install them. First, some important facts;

1) The cameras are IP66+ rated. Which means you can submerse them in water. They are resistant to dust, dirt, blunt force, and water. Essentially these are full military grade cameras. You do not have to be concerned where you mount them, unlike most other cameras.
2) Mounts are STURDY.. Very thick steel, able to sustain a lot of force if necessary. Unlike most flimsy camera mounts!
3) Top camera shield is steel, and sits above the camera buffered by rubber knobs.
4) Camera has 'seals' for all openings, including rubber plugs for screw holes!
5) Camera has 'several' mounting areas underneath, so you can adjust how/where the mounting post screws in. This is a superb feature missing from most cameras.
6) Camera comes with a 6db antenna, very good, and capable of incredible range, even through walls. Most cameras come with 1-3db antennas - for the record.
7) SD card is mounted inside of camera - you need to unscrew the camera mousing.
8) Camera junction box is sealed, mountable outside, and has romex attachments for direct home wiring, or power supply attachments!
9) Night vision is STRONG, but fairly low spread, keep this in mind. It can see effectively out to almost 100 feet, but there isn't tremendous spread to the night vision.
10) Camera defaults on 17.5 FPS, 1920x1080 high definition.
11) TRUE high definition - and it's remarkable in quality! License place ID at over 40 feet!

Some important things to consider;

1) Software that this comes with is rubbish. Absolutely limited. You WILL need a third party software like Blue Iris to effectively utilize this powerful camera. Not a big deal!
2) Included "Camera Live" software needs to be installed for true configuration, otherwise the cameras firmware overrides SOME settings in Blue Iris and other packages. For example 10FPS is really what you want, but the camera overrides Blue Iris. So you need to login to setup under Camera Live, and turn the camera down to 10FPS.

To setup properly, you need to do the following;

1) Connect camera directly to router/switch, and wall outlet.
2) Load Camera Live, go into 'setup', and upgrade firmware with the firmware supplied by Trivision.
3) Go into NETWORK aspect of Camera Live, setup Wireless to reach your network.
4) Unplug everything, mount camera, plug it into power or direct wire with romex.
5) Now load camera live, extra the IP address of camera, and adjust the 'settings' (such as lowering it to 10FPS)
6) Install Blue Iris, it will find the camera (click plus sign).

Now you are ready to go. You can also enable P2P connection, and connect to your camera directly with the free software, and mobile apps (camera live). However this offers NO functionality for recording or anything else, but at least verifies it's all working. Now it's easy to add more cameras.

There are cheaper cameras, but not cheaper with the level of resolution, night vision, durability, and configurability as this one. If you want a REAL camera, you pay $300+ for one. $100 cameras will get you frustrations, trust me on that!
55 comments|66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 4, 2013
I have the Trivision NC-336W (w/o POE) and have been using it on my wireless network without any trouble at all. It is a very well built camera. The camera is a bit heavy but that's because it's made from quality materials. The mount is the best and most sturdy I have found on any camera.

Though this camera is an outdoor bullet camera, I have it mounted inside my garage door window to keep it hidden and therefore I am unable to use Infared night vision. I enjoy excellent night vision using 2 (40w equivalent led bulbs in ) coach lights mounted outside my 3 garage doors. Daytime vision is excellent (even through a garage door window). The camera automatically adjusts to brightness/darkness. I have had no trouble with wireless drop outs, camera failures, or any other trouble. The camera is in my attached garage about 50' from my router which is in my home. This camera is rock solid stable and delivers a great picture even connected to a wireless network. Bandwidth usage is low due to video compression. I enjoy 12 frames/second (FPS) at 1080P daytime viewing and 7 FPS @ 1080P night vision.

The Trivision accepts an SD card for recording storage though I have not used that feature. I have this camera connected to Blue Iris DVR software (Ourstanding Software) and use BI software to control motion detection sensitivity, motion masking, recording, email notifications, etc. There are plenty of features included in this camera like email notifications, recording on trigger, motion sensing, motion masks, night vision control, IR control, Audio record, video record, SD card storage, File Transfer, and 2 way audio which requires a (not included) speaker at the camera.

I have contacted Trivision support both pre and post purchase and have received outstanding support. They are very timely (overnight, usually because they're in China) and through in their support. I arranged for a technician to log into my camera and make some initial adjustments as this was my first camera and I had no experience whatsoever. I contacted their support later and asked about a firmware upgrade which they sent to me. A web site would be very helpful which they say they are creating, but I have not found it operational as of Nov, 4, 2013.

The camera is a bit pricey but you get what you pay for. My next purchase will include the PoE feature which is not possible with the NC-336W ... Note: to get the PoE feature, you need to purchase the NC-336WP.
22 comments|55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 16, 2013
Pros. Easy set up, great views. Can hear what is going on in area, easy to use with android phone, iPad and computer.

Cons,
I've sent an email to company for the firmware update, two weeks no reply.( that changed to very rapid responses)
The instruction manuals are generic to cover multiple products.

I have not seen where you can put an sd card.( you must unscrew the front of the camera to get to it, still a con)

If I can get the function to be able to talk both ways i would upgrade this to a five star. I have two now in my home and the video is great.

Third update. The response time to emails has been incredible. Just a few hours for them to respond to emails. Plus they showed what was needed to talk through the camera,with great illustrations.
I highly recommend getting this camera if you need a few cameras and want to actually see what your looking at. They are worth every penny.
22 comments|20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 30, 2013
I chose this camera because it advertised all the features I was looking for, which were:

1. Record to NAS cabability. Does not work with large NAS, mine is 3TB. As of this write up their tech support is still working on a fix.
2. POE 802.3af. It does work with POE but the attached POE adapter is bulky about 4inch by 4inch with a 2.5ft cable. When you mount the camera on a ceiling or a wall you have this 2.5ft of cable and the adapter that will remain visible. It won't be a clean mount that only shows the camera and cat6 cable.
3. HD H.264 stream. No problem here.
4. NightVision capable. No problem here, just know It does with IR and picture will be black/white as expected.
5. External weatherproof. No problem here.
6. Record to onboard MicroSD. 32GB max and not included. No problem here.
7. Audio Stream over the H.264. No complaint.
8. Wireless b/g/n 2.4ghz. It would be nice if it had 5ghz n. But no complaint

I am giving it 3 stars because my #1 reason for purchasing it was for the NAS capability, not working with mine because it's too large. My #2 reason was for POE so that I would not need bulky power injectors. This doesn't have a separate power injector, but the attached POE adapter is just a bulky as a power injector and does not make for a clean installation. If recording to NAS is not a feature you need, and you don't need a clean aesthetic install then this camera for the price is worth it.
22 comments|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 8, 2013
In addition to all of the usual security benefits of a camera, we wanted something that would help us to know when someone drives into the yard as the visibility on that side of the house is poor.

This turned out to be an outstanding choice, there are a ton of features here for the money.

Installation was pretty straightforward & much easier than I would have expected.

I did not use the WIFI features as I had a CAT5 cable run near the camera. I mounted mine on the siding of the garage, right beneath the over-hang, so that is what I will describe here.

The camera itself connects to a mount that you screw into the siding with three screws, which they provide. The mount has excellent tilt/swivel capabilities, so once you have it attached to the wall, you loosen an allen screw and adjust to get the view you are seeking & then tighten it down to lock it in place.

There is a cable running out of the back of the camera. You'll need to drill a 3/4" hole through the siding to get the connector & cable through. The cable is about 2ft long - I didn't recognize it as being any sort of standard cable that you could extend. Push the cable through into the attic.

Inside the attic you screw the cable from the camera into the control box. They provide a nice waterproof enclosure for this box if you need to mount it outside.

You plug your CAT5 cable and/or AC power adapter into the control box in the attic.

If your network switch offers POE you can skip the AC adapter. It wasn't clear to me before I purchased the item if this camera included a POE injector, so to be clear, it does not. They recommend the NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port Fast Ethernet with 4 Port PoE Desktop Switch (FS108P).

Once the device is plugged in you need to do the standard IP setups. I was able to configure the camera just fine by putting a DHCP reservation into the router & then connecting to the camera's IP. I always appreciate not having to load unnecessary software.

The web interface is low on beeps & whistles but very functional & it gets the job done.

The quality of the image itself is outstanding, as is the audio recording. I can easily hear people talking in their "outside voices".

I was able to setup the camera to email an alert & a snapshot when it detects motion in certain zones of the camera's vision. Very, very cool. I did have to turn off the motion sensor at night due to the bug's attraction to the IR. I will try turning off IR and putting units elsewhere as another reviewer suggested.

I have it streaming in HD to a NAS device, so far after running for about 40 hours I've used about 64GB of storage.

The P2P option is also excellent - I did not need to do any config in my router to be able to view the camera on my iPhone. That is really cool and a little scary all in one - not sure what the security implications of that really are.

Overall I can't say enough good things about this camera, I am very pleased!

*** Update 1/12/2014 ***
Have had this camera up & running for several months now & I don't know what we did before we had it.

This week temperatures dropped to -30F with wind chills in the -50F range. I was curious how the camera would do outdoors & with the control box in an unheated attic.

In short: it did awesome. It was so flawless I never would have known it was cold outside.

Prior to buying this camera I considered several models that had defrosting capabilities & I'm pleased to say that so far I'm good without it.

I emailed tech support for a firmware upgrade a few weeks ago & they were very responsive & sent me a link to the update. Install went smoothly & knocked out a few minor flaws with time stamps.

Several months into ownership, this is still a 5-star product.
22 comments|26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 22, 2013
After having a horrible experience with the Y-Cam Bullet HD 1080, (with which I lost months of time and hundreds of dollars) I am happy to report that this TriVision NC-336PW WiFi & POE HD1080P camera has not only met, but exceeded my expectations. This will be my "goto" camera from now on for all my clients who are in need of HD IP cameras. It works reliably without any fuss and the light sensitivity of the camera is phenomenal. I've also used the highly praised Sharx outdoor IP cameras, but the Shark's image quality at night time is far darker and the resolution is far less than this TriVision. This is a very nice outdoor IP camera. The only negative is that it utilizes a somewhat bulky junction box/power adapter (which is required for all connection methods be it POE, etc.), but so do the Sharx cameras.
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 20, 2014
I purchased this camera to keep an eye on a home we purchased until we are able to move in. I mounted the camera on a barn on the property. I found a nice location right in the corner, under the eves so it is somewhat protected from the weather and has a nice view of the driveway and the house. I then ran ethernet out to the barn using a powerline adapter (also works great, btw).

After the physical installation, I then set about doing the software configuration. I checked my DHCP server on the wireless router and found the IP address of the camera and then connected to the camera using a web browser from my Mac on the local network. That all worked fine. I changed the admin password and a variety of other settings (e.g. using digest auth rather than basic, etc.) and was very pleased with the quality of the video from the camera. I also configured my router to create a virtual server so that the camera could be accessed using a browser from outside my LAN.

I then tried to set up the iOS app but I had a lot of trouble getting the app to connect to the camera and even when it said it did, I wasn't able to see the video feed. I suspected that my firmware might be out of date but I had difficulty finding a support web site to download updates. I emailed the company using the email address on the camera web interface and got a prompt response which pointed me to the updated firmware. I downloaded the rather large zip file, found the firmware for my model and updated the camera. That all went smoothly and at that point the iPhone app started working and has continued to do so.

After reading the documentation a bit more I realized that I could put an SD card in the camera and configure it to store videos there. So, I bought a 32GB card and installed it and, sure enough, it happily stores the videos in ~ 160MB chunks and removes the oldest ones as necessary to make room for new ones. This gives me a couple of days of videos stored on the camera. You can also configure it to FTP the videos to a separate server so I will probably do that soon.

All in all, I've been very impressed with the camera. It works as advertised and has been very reliable. I love being able to check the video feed on my iPhone just to make sure things are okay there. The only complaint I have is that it would be nice if there was a web site that had firmware updates, manuals, etc. But, at least the email support has been very responsive so no real complaints.
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on May 3, 2014
Hardware is high quality. Customer support answers quickly. Wi-Fi range is great. Easy to set up with all major software packages.

The problem: No control over video. Our video is washed out and too bright, and we are unable to adjust it in software.
55 comments|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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