Logitech announces Alert series of high-def security cameras, we go hands-on (updated with video!)

While it's not too difficult to see what's going on inside your DVR from anywhere in the world these days, keeping an eye on what's happening inside your house is sadly a little bit more complicated. Sure, there are solutions, but few are entirely plug and play -- and those that are tend to be far from affordable. Logitech's new Alert system is certainly easy to set up and, at around $300, won't exactly break the bank. Announced today and available later this month it's a simple, albeit somewhat limited, solution for home security and remote monitoring of... well... anything you can point a camera at. And, with mobile apps for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android, you can do that monitoring from just about anywhere. Click on through for the full details, some early impressions, and a little sample video.

The system basically consists of a camera and a pair of bulky plug adapters. Connect one to your camera, the other to your network via Ethernet, and that second one will pipe signal to the first via HomePlug powerline networking. While WiFi would seem like a better choice initially, this does mean you won't have to worry about having a completely uninterrupted signal in and around your home. And, you'd need to run power to the cameras anyway. Logitech did thankfully include thin Ethernet cables which are easily tucked behind your vintage crown molding and don't look too obtrusive.

The camera we received is part of the 750i Master System package, the "i" standing for "indoors." There is also a 750e Outdoor Master System package, where the "e" presumably stands for "everywhere" or "environment-ready" or something like that -- it's weather resistant, anyway, and ready to be stuck on the outside of your abode where it can film day or night thanks to an IR mode. The 750i camera, meanwhile, can only film during the day and has to go indoors, though it can be situated to point through a window. Both cameras offer 720p video, and are backed by motion-detecting software, so they're not recording all the time. You can even customize zones within their field of view to isolate exactly where movement will trigger footage and where it won't.

Each camera records to microSD, starting with 2GB out of the box. But, once a desktop computer (PC only) comes online running the Logitech Alert Commander software, it will automatically download the footage and empty out the camera again. Since the camera only records when motion is detected, Logitech estimates you can get about a week of recording between downloads if you like. Monitoring that footage from your LAN-connected PC is free, as is watching live footage through a browser or smartphone. But if you want to review recordings from anywhere you'll need to step up to the Mobile Commander tier, which is an additional $80 per year -- though you do get a free seven day trial.

Surely you have two questions left at this point: how much does it cost, and how well does it work? The first question is easy: $299.99 for the 750i bundle or $350 for the outdoor-resistant 750e model. Additional indoor cameras go for $230, outdoor ones for $280, and you can have up to six going simultaneously on any given installation. Now, when it comes to the second question of how well they work, that you'll have to wait a little longer for us to answer. We've just received ours and want to make sure it can spot wandering zombies and angry press representatives at night before we give it our stamp of approval.

Update: We stuck this on the front door and happened to catch a prowler looking in, so we thought we'd attach the footage. Note that this is completely unedited, cut exactly how the camera itself shot it, showing off how well it does at detecting the presence of a person but ignoring the car traffic in the background.

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Introducing Logitech Alert Digital Video Security:
Be There Even When You're Not

Logitech Alert Delivers Complete HD Video Security System, No-Hassle Setup, Motion-Triggered Alerts, That You Can Watch from Anywhere

FREMONT, Calif. - Aug. 3, 2010 - Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) today introduced Logitech® Alert™, a complete HD digital video security system that lets you keep an eye on what matters most. Whether it's looking in on the house while traveling, checking in on the baby while you're at work, or monitoring your second home, the Logitech Alert™ 750i Master System and the weatherproof Logitech Alert™ 750e Outdoor Master System with night-vision let you be there when you're not, by providing everything you need to monitor your home inside and out. The new Logitech Alert master systems come with a smart HD camera, powerful PC and Web software, and free remote viewing on a PC or Mac® computer, or smartphone.
To support easy expansion, Logitech also introduced the Logitech Alert™ 700i Add-On Camera and the Logitech Alert™ 700e Outdoor Add-On Camera. And for those who are often away from home, Logitech Alert™ Web and Mobile Commander is an optional premium service that lets you watch video that is recorded and stored on your camera and manage settings and alerts from the Web or your smartphone. Logitech also plans to bring Logitech Alert to the TV later this year, by enabling Logitech Revue™ with Google TV™ customers to view who is at their front door or check in on the baby in the crib, without leaving their couch.

"The video security market is characterized by expensive, hard-to-install and hard-to-use security systems, as well as poor-quality monitoring cameras," said Eric Kintz, vice president and general manager of Logitech's video business. "As part of our vision to bring HD video to anyone, anywhere, Logitech is thrilled to introduce a completely new video security solution to consumers and small businesses, which offers HD video quality and motion-triggered live viewing and recording at attractive price points."
No-Hassle Setup
Setting up your Logitech Alert security system just takes minutes with a simple three-step process - install the Logitech Alert software, connect to your network, and plug in your camera. Logitech Alert features HomePlug® AV networking, which means connecting your Logitech Alert camera is as easy as plugging in a toaster. There's no new wiring or networking hassles - HomePlug AV uses your existing electrical wiring and outlets to connect your cameras to your network.
Motion-Triggered Alerts and Recording – Capture Only What's Important
Logitech Alert smart cameras also feature a built-in DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and automatically record video when motion is detected, letting you capture only important events. The Logitech Alert Commander software lets you define up to 16 motion zones, allowing you to easily pay attention to critical areas of your home while ignoring others – reducing false recordings. Logitech Alert cameras come equipped with a 2GB MicroSD card for storage, eliminating the need for your PC to be always on. The card can give you enough space for up to a week of video based on the amount of motion-triggered recording in a typical home. The recorded video is automatically backed up when your PC is connected to your network.
Capture More Clearly, Event at Night or in Any Condition
Every camera in Logitech's new video security lineup captures high-definition 720p video and features a 130-degree wide-angle lens, making it easier for you to recognize the faces of potential intruders or the license plates of suspicious vehicles. The Logitech Alert 750e and 700e feature IP55 (International Protection Rating) certified, weatherproof outdoor cameras with powerful HD night-vision, allowing you to monitor in complete darkness regardless of weather conditions.
Watch From Anywhere
Logitech Alert Commander software allows you to easily configure your video security system, watch live video, archive recorded video on your PC and review the recordings captured by your camera. The Logitech Alert master system includes free remote viewing of live video through a browser on a secure site from any Internet-connected computer or through Logitech's free smartphone applications for iPhone®, Blackberry® and Android®. For power users who would like more control on the go, the premium Logitech Alert Web and Mobile Commander provide you all the access of your Logitech Alert PC software, even when you're away from home .
Easily Expandable
There's no need to limit your security coverage to a single camera. Logitech Alert is designed to be easily expandable. You can set up as many locations as you want and mix and match up to six Logitech Alert cameras per location- indoors and out.
Pricing and Availability

The Logitech Alert 750i Master System and the Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System will be offered for a suggested retail price of U.S. $299.99 and $349.99, respectively. The Logitech Alert 700i Add-On Camera and the Logitech Alert 700e Outdoor Add-On Camera will be offered for the suggested retail price of U.S. $229.99 and $279.99, respectively. Logitech Alert Web and Mobile Commander will be available as a bundle with a seven-day free trial and a suggested retail price of U.S. $79.99 per year. All products are expected to be available in the U.S. and France in August. Please visit for more information.
About Logitech
Logitech is a world leader in products that connect people to the digital experiences they care about. Spanning multiple computing, communication and entertainment platforms, Logitech's combined hardware and software enable or enhance digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security and home-entertainment control. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI).