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Hands-on with the Vue Personal Video Network

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Wireless webcams are traditionally difficult to set-up and install. I remember one model I used required a quick trip down to the server room to open a number of fairly exciting ports in my firewall which threatened to tear down the whole network. Now there is the Avaak Vue Personal Video Network, however, and I’m quite excited.

The system includes two cameras and a base station. The system uses a 2.4GHz network called a FrameMesh that connects to either a base station or another camera up to 50 feet away. Originally developed for the Army, Avaak is also testing a system that uses thousands of tiny cameras – cubes about an inch across – that you can throw around a scene and watch remotely. In short, these are disposable cameras for home use that can stick almost anywhere and use very little power.

The sensor only powers up when you access the cameras so all you need for each one is a small coin battery. The base station sends the video to VueZone.com where you can activate different cameras and watch what’s going on in your home.

Sadly, the kit has no motion sensor so you’re stuck checking things out whenever you feel that something might be amiss. The kit with two cameras costs $299 and additional cameras cost $99.

In our brief tests the system worked amazingly well. You can simply stick one of Vue’s mounts on the wall and then magnetically attach the camera. You can then change the angle at will. There are no firewall ports to open because the system tunnels over port 80, the standard Internet port.

The Vue is a very exciting product for a sadly stifled market. Wireless webcams are either too complex to maintain or aren’t really wireless, requiring wall power to keep an eye on things. While you do have to make a few unfortunate compromises with Vue, the package is one of the most compelling camera solutions I’ve seen in a while and, best of all it, works.

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