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ACTi is one of my company’s top selling brands. IP video is all ACTi does, the price is attractive, the cameras look good, and they’re a well known name. I went ahead and grabbed the ACTi TCM 3511, an older indoor, day/night dome, 1.6 Megapixel camera to try out for myself.
I used the camera from the office to test out at home and didn’t grab the software. It turn out to not be a problem because ACTi has it available for free download on their site at http://www.acti.com/IP_Utility. Using the TRENDnet TRE-T88g, I plugged the camera into the PoE+ switch and it immediately powered up. With IP Utility installed, it immediately recognized the device and gave me the IP address. Putting the IP address into the browser brought up the viewer for the IP camera which was actually a very functional tool. It included auto-flip, which I love; I don’t actually mount these cameras, so it’s great to set the domes on a flat surface and not see everything upside-down on the viewer.
The ACTi TCM 3511 is a small dome camera with IR lights for true night vision capability. It’s a plastic body with a bottomless base to make interfacing easy. While I didn’t test it out, it does have digital input and output along with 2 way audio. I originally viewed it at 8 fps VGA resolution, which did alright, but as the evening wore on in the fading light, it wasn’t able to catch my face while walking by. I went ahead and kicked it up to 1080 x 1024 resolution at 9 fps and it did much better. It should be mentioned that this was the twilight hour, so the quality of the photo here was more pixelated as it tried to compensate for the lighting. The night vision is black and white with low noise and pretty good balance, depending entirely on how you aim it.
If you already have a system working with ExacqVision, you’re set. With the most current version firmware, Exacq will recognize the device. If the firmware is out of date, ExacqVision will recognize the camera but won’t play the feed. The free version of Milestone’s software gave me trouble and wouldn’t auto detect the device, but with the advanced detection and some customization, Milestone eventually found it and it worked beautifully from there on out.
Overall, not too bad. It has the day night functionality, a dome cover, easy to integrate and works very well with third party software. It’s not going to give you a lot of trouble, and that might just be worth more than the price tag!