Can you access a video camera remotely with a hotspot card?
July 22, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the simplest and cheapest way to set up a video camera at a temporary site that I can access on line. Is there a way to use one of those hotspot cards? Usually we use a dvr system that has a static ip, forward the port within the router and then dynamic dns or something like that but I want to eliminate the need for the computer, router, and permanent connection. Thanks!
posted by Raichle to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We ran a similar setup over a cellular modem at the DNR building at the Minnesota State Fair. We setup a laptop to stream the video over ustream would have worked too.

When there was a lot of cell traffic, we'd often lose the stream for a few seconds, but the setup with Flash Media Encoder took care of reconnecting and starting the stream again.

Here's a helpful link.
posted by advicepig at 10:26 AM on July 22, 2011

What exactly are you looking to do? Surveillance? Videoconferencing? Some kind of broadcasting?

How do you plan to get internet access? I'm guessing you want to use 3/4G wireless? If so, you'll need either a router or a computer somewhere in the mix.

And, finally, what is your budget?

A single 3G wireless card is not terribly useful for streaming video for anything other than surveillance or webcam purposes, although I suppose you could try it. However, you'll be dealing with low bandwidth, high latency, patchy reliability, and possibly violating your carrier's terms of service.

If you want to cut the computer out of the mix, there are plenty of standalone webcams that have ethernet ports or 802.11 (WiFi) wireless capabilities. You could pair these with a 3/4G wireless "router" or hotspot to achieve your desired result if there's no other internet connection around. (Protip: If the router's sitting right next to the camera, use an ethernet connection.)

If you already have a camera or other video source that you want/need to use, want to cut the computer out of the mix, and don't care what you spend, there are plenty of standalone encoders that will stream Flash video for you, given an internet connection and a camera. You'll still need internet access and a camera though.

If you need live video that's reliable and doesn't look like crap, these days, the pros use LiveU for online broadcasting (ie. news coverage) in places where a dedicated internet link is not possible or easy. It bonds 6 3G modems together, and gives you a picture that is more or less SD-broadcast-quality. Livestream has their own branded version. Not Cheap.
posted by schmod at 11:27 AM on July 22, 2011

Oh. You said cheap. Ignore the last two paragraphs. Those are Not Cheap.

Really, you're going to have a tough time finding anything cheap here.

(My best guess? Laptop with 4G wireless card + DV camera + Flash Media Live Encoder)
posted by schmod at 11:29 AM on July 22, 2011

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