GigaCam Simplifies Wireless Video

SAN FRANCISCO (01/20/2000) - Wireless video got a little easier yesterday, when X10 announced its new GigaCam, a video camera that can transmit video and audio signals up to 100 feet. The GigaCam integrates a color analog video camera, a microphone, and 2.4GHz transmitter into a single device that is smaller than a golf ball. The device is expected to sell for less than US$100.

A receiver included in the GigaCam package receives the video and audio signals. The video signal can be viewed on a video monitor, recorded on a VCR, or viewed on a computer display using a video capture device. With the proper software, the signals can be distributed over the Internet.

The GigaCam is the latest incarnation of X10's XCam device, providing significantly more integration than earlier models.

The GigaCam transmitter has a "100-foot range, and weighs only 3.85 ounces," according to X10 President Alex Peder. Because the GigaCam can be mounted almost anywhere, it provides the user with more options than most computer cameras, Peder notes. The camera "is useful in many applications, right from the beginning. It operates effectively in home automation, home security, and home entertainment," Peder adds.

Prime-Time Viewing

To view the video, users can send the signal output by the receiver to a video capture card, or connect the video signal output to a digital video camera that features a video input (Intel makes such a camera). Computer users who don't have a video capture device can use an XRay Vision kit, which includes a video-to-USB cable and software for viewing the images on the Internet. XRay Vision includes a server application that can send the video to a server, and also includes client software for viewing the images.

GigaCam can transmit and receive over any of four channels, making it possible to use as many as four X10 video transmitters (XCams or GigaCams) simultaneously. The current version of GigaCam includes a power transformer that must be plugged into a wall outlet or extension cord to provide power to the transmitter. A battery pack that will supply adequate power to the camera is being developed, Peder notes.

The GigaCam can be purchased directly from X10's Web site. The company typically offers additional bonuses such as remote controllers or switches with each purchase.

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