Honest Technology’s My IPTV&Cam Anywhere Deluxe is one of the stranger devices to land in the Lab lately, but you probably guessed as much when you saw the product’s name. This little device not only streams TV over the Internet but also serves as a motion-detecting surveillance webcam. Huh?
Once we managed to wrap our minds around this split-personality concept, we set about testing both aspects of it. The product’s $150 price tag renders it considerably cheaper than any other location-shifting TV tuner we’ve seen, but it has so many limitations we just can’t recommend it at any price. For starters, the device is a dead end for A/V signals—they go in, but there’s no way to route them back out to your TV or home-theater system.
A mini RF connector brings analog TV signals from cable or an antenna into the device (an adapter cable stub is provided, so you can connect it to a normal-sized coax cable), but you’ll have to provide your own splitter if you also need to bring that cable to a set-top box or directly to your TV. The built-in analog tuner can’t descramble encrypted channels—which is typical—but the tuner provides the only means of changing channels. Unlike all the other streamers we’ve reviewed, this one doesn’t come with an IR blaster for controlling a set-top box or any other device.
If you have digital cable or satellite TV, you’ll connect the set-top box’s analog outputs to a provided gang of stub cables consisting of stereo audio and composite- and S-video inputs on one end and a mini USB connector on the other. Video is streamed using the MPEG-4 codec only.
Software pretty much limits the webcam to surveillance applications (monitoring up to three cameras). You can set it up so that when it detects motion, it records video to your hard drive in MPEG-1 format, sends you a clip or a single frame via email, or even burns the video to DVD. But it doesn’t have a mic, or an input for one, so it can’t record audio and is therefore not suitable for other applications, such as online video chats. All in all, this is a weird little product.
No signal pass-through and no IR blaster; video streams are MPEG-4 only. No Wi-Fi.