Special attention to the camera installation process is apparent in Compro's literature and software. Installation was very easy. At first glance, the installation process appeared quite long, having over 9 steps in all. However the reason for so many steps was because Compro assumed that the end-user would know nothing about networking.
The first step in the installation process even includes three videos; one for Wired Router setup, one for Wired Switch Setup, and one for Wireless setup. The videos walked the user through connecting the devices together with networking cables. They are set to very soothing music and also quite simplistic, once again taking the approach that the end user knows nothing about networking.
The next few steps find the camera on the network, allowing the user to setup a username and password to access the device and set the date and time using manual, NTP or computer synchronization methods. The user is allowed to either set manual IP address and port details or rely on the automatic settings selected by default. The orientation of the device is chosen next and this is useful if you have the device ceiling mounted.
Compro also includes a dynamic IP service configuration page in the setup process. This lets the user actually search for available iDDNS.org addresses that can be used to access the camera over the internet.
The final step lets you install ComproView, a Compro-developed security system software suite that we will cover elsewhere in the review.
The videos and the installation process were quite simple, and almost refreshing since they did not take any shortcuts and showed even something as simple as how to plug in not only the camera, but also the router and the PC. This seems quite rare as manufactuers sometimes tend to gloss over the basics because they seem so obvious and simplistic.
Overall the setup process was very good; however it was not without its flaws. I had a problem with the ComproView software which upon the first time running asks for a username and password combination. I automatically assumed that the username and password were the ones that I had just barely configured during the setup process. This was not the case. After retyping and opening and closing the ComproView program several times, I read in the paper manual that the default username/password combination for the ComproView Software was [admin:admin]. This was mildly confusing and could be improved upon in later builds of the ComproView Software.
Unboxing Impressions The Camera Hardware
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  • blenheim - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    acti acm series: acm8511/8201/8211. http://www.acti.com/product/Product_Selection_Flow...

    cannot quote price figures for the ptz version, but the indoor megapixel cams (acm3511) are around $500, outdoor (acm 7411) $600. I would imagine the ptz versions are an extra $500 - $700. acti cameras are all POE, and the 4 that i have dealt with are all in service after 15 months. they are large enough in the industry to have drivers that work in the larger security camera software packages too.

    Other anecdotal help: POE camera reliability is very dependent on a reliable POE source. I've had issues with cheaper POE switches, notably netgear. HP switches have been rock solid. By reliability, I refer to video streams recorded which are cut off/unplayable later when reviewed. Even POE injectors have proven less reliable than HP switches.

    Also, PTZ sounds great on paper; in an outdoor setting, most cannot be remotely focused on targets much removed from the original focus point (manual focusing on the camera itself). I assume this Compro technologies camera was similar?

    You can buy outdoor housing units and place non-outdoor models in them to save money, but then you have to know what you're doing and be careful. Make sure you get heated units with moisture sensors...condensation is a disaster to a POE camera.
  • ariharry - Sunday, November 14, 2010 - link

    Great review (and samples, thanks!).

    It isn't clear from the review whether it's possible for the camera to record directly to a networked drive, like a NAS?

    The implication is that I need to run a PC 24/7 to actually record triggered content, but I was hoping that the web interface on the camera would allow it to write to a NAS directly (through the network) without a PC being involved in the process.

    Is this possible?
  • 4cpus4me - Saturday, January 1, 2011 - link

    Yes, it will write directly to a NAS. There's a recording configuration screen that allows you to pop in an IP address and Username/PW for NAS access. It works with an Iomega IX2-200 NAS. There is a little test button to verify if the NAS access is setup correctly, too. I have it working with the wireless USB adapter, too.

    What is a bit of a drag is there is currently no Date or Timestamp watermarking capability built into the current firmware. Compro said they are working on that.

    The recording options in the Compro software range from overly simple to quite complex, depending on your needs. You can record to the computer from the web interface and it creates .MKV files which only the VLC player can play. Win7 has trouble deleting those files, too. Ugh. Something's not right with the .MKV format Compro is using.

    I prefer to use BlueIris software (because it allows for integrating many different brands of cameras in a common interface) and successfully captured the IP540 stream. In Blueiris, the PTZ function works and you can use the arrows to move the camera around. The zoom in and out does not work in BlueIris, but probably just needs an updated command string. The digital zoom does work in the Compro software.

    Here is a little Video showing how the IP540 works in a house with no lights on:

    It seems to be a fine piece of hardware. There are some rough edges as the firmware i not mature... I locked up the camera in several situations requiring a power cycle to recover. It has run over night using its wireless mode without issue. I've only had it one day so I can't comment on longer term stability. My plan is to stick with BlueIris since I have no need to learn in intricasies of the Compro software in spite of it's apparent robustness.
  • ekoostik - Monday, January 24, 2011 - link

    @4cpus4me, I tried to PM you but it wouldn't go through. If you have a forum account and would like to respond via PM please do. I followed your link to the YouTube video and watched a couple of 540 clips. The IP540 looks like a pretty good camera. Now that you've had it for a few weeks, would you mind sharing your thgouhgts & impressions? I've been thinking about picking one up.

    There also 2 concerns I have. I don't know if you can shed any light on these: 1) That it does not broadcast/stream over SSL. I don't know if this is a legit concern or not as it seems many ip cameras support some form of ddns with only username/password security. 2) I've read in some places that IR can be harmful when stared at. However I've found very little (or no) information as to whether the IR LEDs such as what Compro uses are as dangerous as IR lights used in older security cameras. As I may install this around kids, I'm not sure whether or not I should be concerned about the IR LEDs.

    Which version of BlueIris do you use - LE or the Full version?

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
  • ComproStore - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Hey everyone come check out our site. We offer all of Compro Home and SMB line products. Starting with the IP60, IP70, IP540, IP540p, IP570, IP570p, If you are looking for security cameras for your Home or Small Business then you have come to the right place.
  • IPCamHd - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    www.IPCamHD.com sells the entire Compro line of network cameras and has a downloadable catalog. They have specs listed and some good pics and video samples also.

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