Swann Alert 4

Swann Alert 4
Rating
Overall: Not yet rated

Targeted squarely at users of security and surveillance cameras, this card promises to turn your PC into a machine that the guards at Fort Knox would be happy to catch bad guys with.

Price
Price: $499
> Pricing info
Specs
PCI capture card with four RCA inputs and one RCA output; plus Stingray Pro Ultra 2 software.

Atomic has been delving into the art of digital cameras lately, usually of the hidden or small variety, so it was only natural that we checked out the Alert 4, a PCI capture device that is happy to suck up the input from four different video cameras. Targeted squarely at users of security and surveillance cameras, this card promises to turn your PC into a machine that the guards at Fort Knox would be happy to catch bad guys with.

To install this device you simply whack it into an empty PCI slot, install the drivers and away you go. There are four RCA inputs on the back of the card, as well as a single RCA output. But the real power of this package isn't in the hardware -- it's the included software that makes it worthy of your attention. And it probably explains the very high asking price of $499, which the card itself certainly does not warrant.

As well as the PCI card, a complete version of SureLabs Stingray Professional Ultra 2.0 is included within the pack. This powerful piece of software monitors each of the four cameras that you can plug into video capture card. Using some tricky AI programming (actually, it's not too complicated) it then detects if anything moves in front of each camera.

Provided the host PC is hooked up to the Net, it will then automatically send you a screenshot of the movement via email. Or if you have a voice modem in your PC, it will actually call your mobile and let you know about the warning -- surveillance gear doesn't get much cooler than that, especially in this budget price range.

If you'd rather monitor your cameras remotely than rely upon the software to detect movement, you can connect to the host PC via the Net or LAN, and have access to everything your cameras are seeing.

Considering how cheap this package is, if you're in the market for a new surveillance system you can't really go wrong with this kit. The capture card does the job, but it's the user friendly, feature rich Stingray Pro Ultra software that clinches the deal.

This Review appeared in the February, 2003 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

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