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The Diamond Multimedia PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (Review)

August 12, 2013 1 comment

Pic1PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit
Live video security camera hardware
Diamond Multimedia
$119.99 Retail/$94.66 Amazon (Prime)
Product Spotlight Video

Like all Diamond Multimedia products, the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (PlugnView) is a high quality, low cost product. Diamond succeeds in putting a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ into every one of its devices. And you know that you have a Diamond Multimedia product because it has all the familiar design features: small footprint, abundant ventilation slots, highly visible labels, status lights, attention to details such as furniture-protecting rubber feet, and high impact plastic construction.

Diamond Multimedia (DMM) puts a lot of thought into its products. The PlugnView is standard high quality fare for a DMM product, which is worth noting here.

Pic2Included in the kit is everything you need except the apps, which are available through Apple’s App Store or through Google Play. You get the PlugnView camera, a HP500AV Home Plug Adapter, a Quick Start guide, and a three-foot Ethernet cable.

DMM also has a reputation for making products that are very easy to setup and use. The PlugnView follows that time-honored tradition too.

To setup the PlugnView, attach the Ethernet cable to the HP500AV, plug in the Ethernet cable’s free end directly into an open slot in your router or into an open slot in your network switch, and plug in the HP500AV to electric power. The HP500AV has to access your network via the Ethernet cable and then it attaches to your PlugnView camera via wireless. All three lights should be green, when properly connected.

Plug in the PlugnView camera to electric power and aim it at whatever you want to view. The camera swivels left and right on its base plus you can adjust the vertical (up and down) pitch as well. These adjustments are manual. You can’t move (pan) the camera electronically to scan an area.

Next, download the PlugnView app from the Apple App Store or, if you have an Android device, from the Google Play Store.

Open the app, tap the Plus (+) button to add a camera. On the next screen, select the way you want to add your camera to the app: via QR code on the bottom of the camera, local network search, or manually. I suggest that you attempt to add your camera first by searching. If that doesn’t work, then scan the QR code on the bottom of the PlugnView. Finally, if those two fail, add it manually. But one should work and adding manually is a pain because of the length of the ID and the password. You can change the password later in the app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

A local network search should find your camera within a few seconds. Once it does, you’ll see the cryptic identification code for your camera. Tap the found camera to edit its properties. Name your camera. I named mine “camera”. Leave the Camera ID as is. Enter the camera password from the bottom of the camera. Be careful to type it in exactly as you see it. Tap Save when done. Tap the Done button when your camera light in the app turns green.

Tap the camera that you just setup. You’ll see a “connecting to camera” message and then in a few seconds, you’ll see what the camera sees. You can also take pictures by tapping the camera icon on the screen. See Figure 1.

If you tap the Edit button (upper left corner), you can change the configuration of your camera, such as enhanced night vision, frame rate, resolution, and a few other details.

I suggest changing the frequency from 60Hz to 50Hz for better viewing inside your home. 60Hz probably works better outside. I also like the highest resolution and best quality picture available. You’ll have to experiment a bit for your surroundings and lighting conditions. Once you change something, tap the Apply button for it to take effect and then evaluate the results.

The PlugnView has pretty good resolution for the cost. Remember that this camera is not high definition video capable. It is what it is, which is an inexpensive, easy to setup, easy to use security camera. If you need something with higher resolution, sound, faster frame capture, and a panning camera, then you’ll have to spend a lot more money. For around $100, I doubt you’ll find anything better.

The PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit will keep you aware of what’s going on inside or outside your home. The PC software that you can download from DMM’s site is quite good. You can monitor multiple cameras at once with it but the app is a quick view used for occasional monitoring from your mobile device.

My overall impression and evaluation of the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit is favorable. I like the ease of setup, the product quality, and the mobile app combination.

Why it’s frugal: The PlugnView is inexpensive but it’s more than price. If you need a decent quality home security camera, it fits that bill. You have night vision that is quite good, live video, snapshots, and good resolution. It is a good value and a good product.

Review: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it with an understanding of its limitations and its features.

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