X10 Helps Keep Wide Watch

X10's Ninja Pan 'n Tilt gives your remote camera more than just one viewpoint

A few years back, I came up with an idea to take some of my extra computer equipment and create a remote camera system to watch my familys vacation property. I figured that for very little cost, I could use a computer and Web camera to take periodic pictures of the property.

I was wrong. To see more than just a little section of lawn, I would have needed additional cameras, cabling, hardware and even some customized programming.

Times have changed, however. With X10s Ninja Pan n Tilt camera mount, configured with an X10 wireless camera, you can see more than the grass growing in the same old place. In backyard tests, I was able to scan almost all of my back and side yards.

The Ninja has a couple of configurations and add-ons. The basic package with camera includes the Pan n Tilt base and wall mount, an XCam2 wireless camera, a Video Receiver and a Ninja ScanPad wireless remote unit to control the robotic bases movement. Using this $170 package, you can quickly and easily start monitoring your property with a TV or VCR. Simply mount the Ninja unit with camera on a wall, plug it in, connect the video receiver to a TV or VCR, point the receiver at the camera, and a picture of reasonable quality appears.

To view the video images on a computer, you need X10s USB Video Capture Adapter. To view and control the robotic base from that same computer or over the Internet, you also need X10s Wireless PC Transceiver and PanTilt Pro software.

When all is said an done, it will cost about $260 to get everything you need to connect, control and view video over the Internet.

A word of caution, however: There is no all-inclusive set of instructions. Each X10 unit has its own manual, and it can be a little confusing to determine the correct order for connecting things and which drives are needed.

The Ninja Pan n Tilt kit, along with other X10 automation and security products, is available at www.X10.com or by calling (800) 675-3044.

eWEEK IT Specialist Tom Rasmussen can be reached at tom_rasmussen@ziffdavis.com.