There are currently many choices in IP cameras for those looking to monitor their homes and business locations. Anandtech recently reviewed one such camera, the Dropcam Echo, which was geared towards the non technical consumer. Today we are looking at an IP camera offering from Compro Technologies which hopes to provide advanced features for small businesses and technical home users, while still paying close attention to the ease of installation for the end user.

First off, some information about Compro Technology Inc, as many readers may not have heard of them and they are trying to enter the US market just now.

Compro was Originally founded in 1988, based out of Taipei, Taiwan. Compro manufactures PC-TV, digital audio/video and IP security products for the IT consumer markets. They have been developing PC based TV tuners and data broadcast receiver products since 2003. However they have just recently in 2008 released consumer oriented analog/digital TV tuner products that some of you may be familiar with. Compro's IP security products include a full range of IP camera types from static ones to full PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) offerings with high resolution.

Today we are looking at Compro's mid-range PTZ (Pan-Tilt- Zoom) IP Camera, the IP540. The Compro IP540 lists the following as key features of the product.

  • 1/3" CMOS Megapixel progressive scan sensor
  •  Pan, Tilt, 4x digital zoom (Pan of 340 degrees, Tilt of 100 degrees)
  •  Day and night functionality with mechanical IR cut filter switching
  •  Built-in IR lamps
  •  Supports real-time H.264, MPEG-4 and MJPEG compression (Triple Codec)
  •  Supports dual streams simultaneously
  •  Image frame rate is up to 15 frames per second at 1280x1024 resolution
  •  Smart motion detection
  •  Two way audio with built-in MIC (External speaker required)
  •  Easy and smart installer --- iWizard IP camera utility
  •  Support UPnP (Universal plug and play)
  •  Support 10/100 802.3/Ethernet
  •  Upgradable WiFi USB module to 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
  •  Supports local storage (MicroSD and MicroSDHC)
  •  Exclusive multiple channels viewing and installation-free mobile phone PTZ control --- WebVuer
  •  Web browser support via MJPEG mode (video only) on wide range of iphone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile and PDA devices to view the IP camera live video anytime, anywhere, anyplace
  •  Remote monitoring from 3G mobile or phone with web browser
  •  Bundled with powerful 32-channel IP video management software --- ComproView
  • Optional Digital I/O box for External Sensor and Alarm (3 In/3 Out)
Unboxing Impressions
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  • blenheim - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    acti acm series: acm8511/8201/8211.

    cannot quote price figures for the ptz version, but the indoor megapixel cams (acm3511) are around $500, outdoor (acm 7411) $600. I would imagine the ptz versions are an extra $500 - $700. acti cameras are all POE, and the 4 that i have dealt with are all in service after 15 months. they are large enough in the industry to have drivers that work in the larger security camera software packages too.

    Other anecdotal help: POE camera reliability is very dependent on a reliable POE source. I've had issues with cheaper POE switches, notably netgear. HP switches have been rock solid. By reliability, I refer to video streams recorded which are cut off/unplayable later when reviewed. Even POE injectors have proven less reliable than HP switches.

    Also, PTZ sounds great on paper; in an outdoor setting, most cannot be remotely focused on targets much removed from the original focus point (manual focusing on the camera itself). I assume this Compro technologies camera was similar?

    You can buy outdoor housing units and place non-outdoor models in them to save money, but then you have to know what you're doing and be careful. Make sure you get heated units with moisture sensors...condensation is a disaster to a POE camera.
  • ariharry - Sunday, November 14, 2010 - link

    Great review (and samples, thanks!).

    It isn't clear from the review whether it's possible for the camera to record directly to a networked drive, like a NAS?

    The implication is that I need to run a PC 24/7 to actually record triggered content, but I was hoping that the web interface on the camera would allow it to write to a NAS directly (through the network) without a PC being involved in the process.

    Is this possible?
  • 4cpus4me - Saturday, January 1, 2011 - link

    Yes, it will write directly to a NAS. There's a recording configuration screen that allows you to pop in an IP address and Username/PW for NAS access. It works with an Iomega IX2-200 NAS. There is a little test button to verify if the NAS access is setup correctly, too. I have it working with the wireless USB adapter, too.

    What is a bit of a drag is there is currently no Date or Timestamp watermarking capability built into the current firmware. Compro said they are working on that.

    The recording options in the Compro software range from overly simple to quite complex, depending on your needs. You can record to the computer from the web interface and it creates .MKV files which only the VLC player can play. Win7 has trouble deleting those files, too. Ugh. Something's not right with the .MKV format Compro is using.

    I prefer to use BlueIris software (because it allows for integrating many different brands of cameras in a common interface) and successfully captured the IP540 stream. In Blueiris, the PTZ function works and you can use the arrows to move the camera around. The zoom in and out does not work in BlueIris, but probably just needs an updated command string. The digital zoom does work in the Compro software.

    Here is a little Video showing how the IP540 works in a house with no lights on:

    It seems to be a fine piece of hardware. There are some rough edges as the firmware i not mature... I locked up the camera in several situations requiring a power cycle to recover. It has run over night using its wireless mode without issue. I've only had it one day so I can't comment on longer term stability. My plan is to stick with BlueIris since I have no need to learn in intricasies of the Compro software in spite of it's apparent robustness.
  • ekoostik - Monday, January 24, 2011 - link

    @4cpus4me, I tried to PM you but it wouldn't go through. If you have a forum account and would like to respond via PM please do. I followed your link to the YouTube video and watched a couple of 540 clips. The IP540 looks like a pretty good camera. Now that you've had it for a few weeks, would you mind sharing your thgouhgts & impressions? I've been thinking about picking one up.

    There also 2 concerns I have. I don't know if you can shed any light on these: 1) That it does not broadcast/stream over SSL. I don't know if this is a legit concern or not as it seems many ip cameras support some form of ddns with only username/password security. 2) I've read in some places that IR can be harmful when stared at. However I've found very little (or no) information as to whether the IR LEDs such as what Compro uses are as dangerous as IR lights used in older security cameras. As I may install this around kids, I'm not sure whether or not I should be concerned about the IR LEDs.

    Which version of BlueIris do you use - LE or the Full version?

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
  • ComproStore - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Hey everyone come check out our site. We offer all of Compro Home and SMB line products. Starting with the IP60, IP70, IP540, IP540p, IP570, IP570p, If you are looking for security cameras for your Home or Small Business then you have come to the right place.
  • IPCamHd - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link sells the entire Compro line of network cameras and has a downloadable catalog. They have specs listed and some good pics and video samples also.

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