Y-Cam Black camera

A customer complained that he was unable to get things working with Y-Cam Black camera. Naming models using colors is already a sign that problems are inevitable. The camera either had old firmware and implemented a different protocol (other than documented) or the documentation sucked but I would like to mention a different thing.

I was impressed that the camera did not accept HTTP authentication from FireFox. Sure it claims to be RFC 2616 (Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1) compliant, it would get insulted being suspected in not abiding it by, but still the fact: open camera URL from Internet Explorer and you get authorized after a propmt for a password and a valid entry. Open it using FireFox and you will be kept prompted for the password infinitely. No firmware updates available free, one should be requested by email. People are seriously releasing and selling such a crappy stuff.

There is a demo camera, a different model however (White) http://guest:guest@y-cam.dtdns.net:8152/, it is free from this issue.

I am whining about software/firmware only, if you need a comprehensive review on the camera, you can find it on networkwebcams.co.uk/blog.

Summary

Things we liked about the Y-cam:

The picture quality was good, outclassing the Panasonic BL-C20 in a lot of areas such as how it handled light and colour. (see example screen captures above)

Using MPEG-4 technology means it can achieve a frame-rate of 30fps which is double the frame-rate of a BL-C20, giving smoother motion.

An inclusion of 1-way audio gives it something substantial over the Panasonic BL-C20. We tested it and although the microphone doesnít seem as sensitive as the built-in mic on a more expensive Panasonic model, it seemed suitable for purpose.

It can record a stream as a video clip. This can be done manually using the on-screen interface or can be set up to record automatically based on a triggered event.

Things we didnít like about the Y-cam:

No cross-browser or cross-platform compatibility. As the camera uses ActiveX technology it will only work in Internet Explorer. Mac and Linux users can forget it.

No support for MJPEG. The camera soley encodes MPEG-4 which means it will achieve a higher frame-rate but if there is a lot of activity on the image, quality will suffer. MJPEG would produce higher quality images.

The setting up of external access is not handled as well as the Panasonic camera. There are instructions provided to help users but these are not part of the initial setup routine and they tend to make assumptions that UPnP will work every time. In our experience UPnP does not work every time and some users will require additional help to understand the concept of port-forwarding. There is good support for DDNS providers but I feel the manual could be expanded upon, indicating the steps a user must take to register with one of these services and the theory behind why they are registering. Although very straight forward, port-forwarding and Dynamic DNS are very alien concepts to the average home user.

One Reply to “Y-Cam Black camera”

  1. This was not the end of the story. The camera responds to HTTP with:

    GET /stream.av HTTP/1.1
    User-Agent: LuxRiot
    Host: ***
    Connection: Keep-Alive
    Cache-Control: no-cache
    Pragma: no-cache
    Authorization: Digest username="admin", realm="Webs", qop="auth", algorithm="MD5", uri="/stream.av", nonce="14b0327792e359d12bb5278ceb1a0428", nc=00000001, cnonce="87463d147f5c6ee3cedf77f4dc890a55", opaque="5ccc069c403ebaf9f0171e9517f40e41", response="47d666dfea18bfba0bb383da1c60b954"
    
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Wed Aug 13 06:48:38 2008
    Server: Webs
    Pragma: no-cache
    Cache-Control: no-cache
    HTTP/1.0 200 OK
    Server: httpd/Aplayer 1.0.0
    Cache-Control: no-cache
    Pragma: features="broadcast"
    Content-Type: application/octet-stream
    Accept-Ranges: Bytes
    Connection: close
    
    ...data...
    

    what makes WinHTTP abort the connection. Why? There is probably some problem with HTTP/1.1 conformance… Maybe it is sending response line twice (HTTP/1.1 200 OK… HTTP/1.0 200 OK…)…

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