Panasonic BL-C131A Network Camera Wireless 802.11

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out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 682 user reviews
    

10 Responses to “Panasonic BL-C131A Network Camera Wireless 802.11”

  1. FlyingPolarBear Says:

    Rating

    I love everything about this little cam. If I could make it more “perfect” I’d give it a mechanical IR cutoff filter so that it could work it complete darkness using IR LEDs. Outdoors, this can see in dim light until about an hour after sunset. Even though the cam says it is for indoor use only, I’ve had it mounted under a sheltered roof eave working fine for the past 6 months. Another one in the outdoor hallway at my brother’s house is subject to -20C temps and still keeps going. So it seems OK outdoors as long as it doesn’t get wet. You can download a very useful Windows Vista Sidebar gadget to display the live cam images on the Vista desktop. Go to the Windows Live Gallery and search for Panasonic. With this gadget I have a bird’s eye peripheral view on the desktop. It’s great to bring the outside world inside.

  2. BlinkDog Says:

    Rating

    Panasonic did a kick-a** job on this one. I guess the prevous model, the no-sound BL-C30A has been around for a while, but this one, the BL-C131A adds sound and I get the impression a better web interface. Easy enough to set up, full of features that took a little bit to learn, but now easy enough to use. I especially like that the cam can store something like 130 images in time and in motion detect buffers (depends on image size). Once you set these up it is cool to look back in time and see what happened. Motion detect is configurable in many ways, as is the periodic timer. I have not tried multiple cams yet, but you can configure one IP address to access several cameras they say. I just ordered a second camera. The microphone is very sensitive – awesome. I get pretty decent frame rate from my home using RoadRunner cable modem — several images per second. I get a good wireless connection from anywhere in my house, including the garage. Can’t say enough good things about this camera. Thanks Panasonic!

  3. John C. Derrick Says:

    Rating

    It was the glowing reviews here on Amazon that made me decide to invest in this fascinating little camera, and those reviews were spot on. I, like a few others, originally spent about $100 on the Linksys camera – which is a complete waste of time and money. The Panasonic camera blows away the cheap imitations, and the saying, “You get what you pay for” could never be truer.

    If you’re like I was, and feel hesitant to purchase the camera because of the high(er) cost, trust me – it’s worth every penny. Take that advice from someone who tried to save a few bucks with a cheaper camera.

    The resolution is great, panning functions are superb, sound is crisp, and the free hosting is fantastic. Plus the advanced functions are more than I could have asked for. And unlike the Linksys camera, this one doesn’t bog down my whole network while streaming video. We’ll be sure to buy a few more of these in the near future.

    My only complaint… the lack of support in Firefox. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. IE handles it without any problems.

  4. D. S. Perera Says:

    Rating

    I purchased four of these cameras and found out that the recording software included with it comes with a license to record only one camera. If you want to record more than one camera, you have to purchase an upgraded version with additional licenses and that lists for $399 and Amazon has it for $315.03 + Shipping Network Camera Software

    If you are purchasing more than one camera for Surveillance purpose, make sure to take in to account of the additional costs.

  5. LS Says:

    Rating

    I have experience with D-Link cameras, and this one is much better. Setup was a multi-step process, but went smoothly, and the free internet address really works. The camera has yet to lose signal, and I have it positioned a the farthest end of my wirelss network. Picture is clear, sound is ok, interface is very good. Only works well with Internet Explorer. On a Mac, the video will display in Firefox but without sound. I haven’t expored all of the features yet, but the main thing is that it works (more than can be said for many wireless products).

  6. David Schmitz Says:

    Rating

    You can do all setup via the builtin web server – even firmware updates. There is no need for installing anything from the included (windows only) CD. Streaming MP4 or MJPEG video works right outta the box in Safari as does the static captures – no need for drivers or anything else.. Those looking for typical, painless MacOSX setup will get it with this Panasonic webcam..

  7. William L. Cryer Says:

    Rating

    I bought one of these to monior my house while on vacation. The reviews suggested that it was the best for the price. The set up was also supposed to be the easiest of the lot and it turned out to be relatively simple until I got to the internet set up. Using a Mac with a Time Capsule router was not the “easy as pie” operation that I had hoped for. It was more like French torte with cream and chocolate sauce. I began gathering the packing material for a return, and made the cursory call to tech support. I’ve never had good phone tech and did not expect anything different this time. I was wrong. Best ever. The guy walked me through the not-too-obvious steps and within less than an hour was up and running. The phone tech was worth the price of the product itself!

  8. Thomas D. Breithaupt Says:

    Rating

    OVERVIEW

    The BL-C131A is a wireless/router based camera (no PC needed). In my view, this is the ONLY way cameras should be used due to the unstable PC connected solutions (e.g., PC freeze-up, lost power, etc). It is an IP based system which needs its own local internet address which the included software does a pretty good job setting up automatically.

    MY EXPERIENCES

    I have tried over 20 wireless web cameras from 7 brands over the last 5 years ($100-$600) and none are close to the performance, reliability, ease of setup of the Panasonic cams for a consumer based product. Dlink used to lead the pack until the BL-C20A/30A units came out. I was a fan of Dlinks but the software setup, remote camera configurations, and Viewnetcam dynamic DNS service of the the Pana’s is just the best today.

    ADVANTAGES

    - The included software is the best on the market for finding the camera on your system and trying to configure it automatically. Most software engineers should be SHOT due to sloppy code but the Panasonic software and firmware (software inside the cameras) is pretty good for setup and reliability (I am an electrical engineer so I know the sloppy way most of these guys think).

    - Tech support for Panasonic is the ONLY support I have contacted from 7 brands with AMERICANS speaking ENGLISH (not “Engrish”). Their patience and overall knowledge is truly outstanding and worth every extra penny this camera costs.

    - I highly recommend you also buy the Panasonic wireless router. It automatically configures with the cameras and becomes really easy to find/control the cameras.

    - The ability to reset/reconfigure the cameras remotely is INVALUABLE! I am often travleing in China, at my home in Chicago, or my home in Florida and want to make changes. I can do it remotely with 100% success after the first setup. I was even able to configure some cams in Chicago and Fedex to my wife in Florida and they booted up into the other system perfectly!

    - The Viewnetcam dynamic DNS service is stunningly reliable. It has never gone down and my cameras reset/refind themselves every hour so if your local ISP dynamically changes your IP address (Comcast is worst) you are always going to have the cams back up in 1 hour.

    - The ability to snap images, group small video screens, and “mouse-point” the cameras via the pan-tilt-zoom are outstanding.

    - The built in microphones are AMAZINGLY sensitive and pick up small noises remarkably well. I could hear the kids playing outside the house with cams inside.

    - The built in multi-screen servers can integrate different models of cameras. For example, I use a BL-C131A cam as #1 at my mom’s house for PTZ and audio. I then add a BL-C30A for simple PTZ photo/video and a BL-C20A for fixed photo/video. They all coexist in one screen and work beautifully!

    - The photo snaps work PERFECTLY for building a simple web page and placing multiple screen snaps on 1 page (I placed 8) thus a super slim matrix of what is happening in my homes. Each photo at 320×240 is only 8kb so they download fast.

    - The mobile function (viewing on a cell phone browser) works INCREDIBLY well. I use it everyday on my Treo700P via Sprint.

    DISADVANTAGES/CAUTIONS

    - ANY web cam is tedious to setup, no matter the brand. Be patient, and call Pana’s tech support before returning the unit.

    - DON’T expect HD quality video – these are 640×480 screens as best and the upload speed of your home network will always be the limiting factor. I do not recommend more than 4 cams online at once since this overloads even a good 768K upload system.

    - The pan-tilt controls are outstanding. Lots of left-right-down travel but up is limited. Also, the zoom is a digital zoom (NOT an optical zoom) thus very pixelated and not worth much.

    - The cams can fight for packets and “burble” your VOIP telephone calls.

    SUMMARY

    Outstanding product. I now own 14 units around the world and all are stone-cold reliable. Just great products.

  9. JRod Says:

    Rating

    I have two of these at home and I love them. The picture is not the greatest, but it is good enough. You can still read a car’s license plate or recognize a person’s face from the images. What I like about them is how easy they are to monitor and control remotely, how they email images when they detect motion, and how affordable they are. The cameras are very reliable. I have had one for almost a year and it has never stopped working or lost connection or anything like that.

    I have them both inside, facing the outside through a glass window, one facing the front yard and the other one facing the back yard. I use a mini “spider” tripot to hang them on the window. I have the sound turned off on both. I have the motion detection turn on. They send me emails with images when they detect motion. I have an email account created exclusively for this. They do not have night vision, but that is not a problem for me since I also have motion lights in the front and back of the house. The images and video are recorded on the memory inside the camera, and it can be overwritten when the camera runs out of memory space, but I have the images emailed to me so I still get those images that get overwritten in the camera.

    Each camera comes with a web based software that allows you to monitor and control the camera. Panasonic offers a free service that allows me to monitor multiple cameras at the same time remotely, using Internet Explorer. The first thing I do when I get to work is log on to this service so that I can monitor my home front and back from work. Each camera is password protected. So nobody can access your cameras even if they know the URL, unless they also know the user id and password.

    You can download firmware updates from the Panasonic website.

    The only problem I see with this camera is that the software uses Activex Controls. So the software works only with Internet Explorer and I don’t think it will work with other web browsers such as FireFox. This is not a problem for me since I don’t mind using IE, but I can see where this might bother other people. Other than this, I highly recommend this camera.

  10. K. Lam Says:

    Rating

    My wife and I wanted to keep an eye on the nanny with our baby from work. After researching the network cameras for several months, it seemed that only Panasonic cameras consistently received positive (usually glowing reviews) whereas cameras from other major brands like Linksys, D-Link, etc received mediocre or poor reviews. So I went with Panasonic. And after about a month, I have to say I am very impressed with it. Some background: I have a classic Linksys WRT54G 802.11g router, with 2 WinXP PCs connected to it via ethernet and 3 more PCs connected wirelessly; plus, I have AT&T/SBC DSL service via a Speedstream 5100 DSL modem. If you’re moderately computer literate, you should have no problem following the included instructions to setup (view and control) the camera in wired mode or in wireless WiFi mode.

    But if you want to setup the camera to be viewed (and controlled) from the internet, you need to do a bit more work. And this is where Panasonic’s excellent, excellent customer support comes in. Panasonic’s support line is 8_0_0-2_7_2-7_0_3_3; they are open Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM and Sat/Sun 10AM-7PM Eastern US Time; this tech support is available to you for the LIFE of the product. They will walk you through how to setup the camera, configure your router (for, among other things, port forwarding), and register with Panasonic’s FREE Dynamic DNS web service. This last point is important: Panasonic network cameras include FREE Dynamic DNS hosting service for the life of the product; other brands offer the service for an annual fee.

    Okay, step-by-step, here’s how to config the camera for internet viewing:

    First, if you use DSL as I do (as opposed to cable broadband), you have to configure the DSL modem for “bridge mode.” (If you don’t use DSL, then you can skip this step.) This is because DSL modems act as a router, and port forwarding cannot work behind both the DSL modem’s router and (in my case) the Linksys WRT54G router. If you want, you can call your DSL tech support to ask them to walk you through how to “bridge” your DSL modem. But here’s what I did.

    1. Login to your DSL modem (for me, it’s 192.168.0.1) using your DSL account (for me, it’s my SBCglobal email address).

    2. Select Advanced >> PPP Location

    3. Select Bridged Mode (PPPoE is not used), then Change PPP Location

    4. When prompted, restart the DSL modem

    5. Login to your router (for me, it’s 192.168.1.1)

    6. Under Setup> Basic Setup >> Internet Connection Type, select PPPoE and enter the DSL login & password info you normally would enter in your DSL modem to authenticate your DSL service.

    7. At this point, the “bridging” should have been successful. To check that bridging has been successful, click Status >> Router, and check that you are “connected” with an IP address showing. If successful, you should also see that your DSL modem’s “internet” LED light is off while your router’s “internet” light is on. What you basically have done is to move the point of authentication for your DSL service from the DSL modem to your router; your DSL modem merely acts as a bridge for the DSL service to your router.

    8. Now, we move on to configuring the camera itself. I assume that the camera has already been configured for wired and wireless mode. Login to the network camera (for me it’s, 192.168.1.253).

    9. Click Setup. Change the Port No. from the default of 80 to 50000 (fifty thousand) and enter the IP address of the camera (for me, it’s 192.168.1.253). Click Save, and the camera will restart. When it finishes restarting (taking as long as 1.5 min), it’ll bring you back to the “Top” home page of the camera config screen.

    10. Log back into your router, and go to Applications & Gaming, where you’ll be able to set up port forwarding.

    11. In the Port Range, enter 50000 as “Start” and 50000 as “End.” Enter the IP Address of the camera (for me, 192.168.1.253). Check Enable. Save Settings.

    12. Now, log back into your camera. Go to Setup >> DynamicDNS. Select viewnetcam-dot-com, then Next.

    13. Click on “Your Account Link” to bring up the viewnetcam.com registration page, where you then select New Registration. Enter your desired registration info and select your domain name at viewnetcam-dot-com (e.g. yourname-dot-viewnetcam-dot-com). Click Choose.

    14. Now, you will be shown a page confirming your registration. Under DDNS status, you will see Active-waiting. You need to wait up to 10min as the domain registration occurs, at which time, the status will change to Active.

    15. We’re almost done; stay with me! From WinXP Start Menu, click Run and type “cmd” to bring up a DOS window.

    16. In the DOS window, type “ipconfig/all”, which shows your computer’s various network information. Under Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection, copy down the two addresses under DNS Servers.

    17. Log back into your camera, select Setup, and enter the 2 DNS Server addresses from ipconfig/all in the 2 DNS boxes.

    18. Go back to viewnetcam-dot-com, login to your account, and check that the DDNS status is now Active. If so, then you’re all ready to go!

    19. Go to yourname-dot-viewnetcam-dot-com:50000 to see your network camera on the internet!

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