If you are old enough to remember taking photos with film, you probably know about Kodak.
For most of the 20th century, the American brand had been synonymous with photography.
However, the company has struggled with the transition to digital photography. It recently emerged from bankruptcy and is now focused on the corporate digital imaging market. It is also licensing out its brand name, which still has a certain cachet among many consumers
In other words, the Kodak Video Monitor (CFH-V15) reviewed here is not actually manufactured by Kodak.
Instead, it is made by Tend Insights, a firm that specialises in video monitoring.
The CFH-V15 looks similar to rival products from Aztech and D-Link. Its circular base can be attached to a wall with the provided mounting kit.
The camera module is held in a cradle that lets it pan 350 degrees left and right, and tilt 105 degrees up and down. It can capture 720p videos at up to 30 frames per second.
To set up the camera, you need to download the iSecurity+ app (available for iOS and Android), which will guide you through the necessary Wi-Fi configuration, and with signing up for a free account.
The app shows the live view captured by the camera, which can be accessed as long as your mobile device is connected to the Internet.
Expect a delay of around two seconds for the real-time video.
From the app, you can pan and tilt the camera, which felt responsive in my testing. You can also take photos or videos, which are saved to your mobile device because the camera lacks any form of internal or expandable storage.
The camera comes with a microphone and speaker. The unavoidable latency makes it impossible to hold a long conversation.
The audio was sufficiently loud although, apparently, the camera made me sound like Darth Vader.
Included with the CFH-V15 is free cloud storage for one day's worth of videos that are captured as a result of the camera's motion-detection feature. When motion is detected, the camera starts recording as the app sends an alert to your mobile device.
These motion-triggered videos expire after 24 hours, though you can download them to your mobile device before that happens.
For those who wish to store more than a day's worth of videos, they can upgrade to premium 14- and 30-day plans for US$9.99 (S$13.50) per month and US$19.99 per month respectively.
These premium plans include a smart detection feature that analyses the videos to distinguish between moving objects and human movement.
This is useful as you can filter the videos to show the ones with people rather than your pet's latest antics. From what I could tell, this feature appears to work accurately.
However, the app (tested on Android) needs more work. It is functional but the interface is not very intuitive.
For instance, I could not understand why I had to click the Save icon at the top right corner of the app to save Setting changes. The app should instead save any changes immediately.
The app was slow to display the list of uploaded videos. It also took around 15 seconds to start playing one video, which could be because the servers are in the US instead of Singapore. Tend plans to shift to a Singapore-based cloud server in Q3 2016.
The Kodak Video Monitor is a decent home security camera with some shortcomings. It is more affordable than the polished but pricey Netgear Arlo Q.
VIDEO RESOLUTION: Up to 1,280 x 720 pixels
VIDEO FORMAT: H.264
FIELD OF VIEW: 350 degrees (pan), 105 degrees (tilt)
NIGHT VISION: Yes
MOTION DETECTION: Yes
MOBILE APPS: iOS and Android
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
This article was first published on April 6, 2016.
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