Portable Safety Beam keeps burglars away, roaming pets...


January 22, 2001

Portable Safety Beam keeps burglars away, roaming pets at bay

American IR Technologies' premier product, the Safety Beam, is a portable, reliable security system that fills a variety of safety needs.

At home, the Safety Beam can sound the alarm when a child enters an unsafe area or a pet wanders into a room that's off limits. At the office, it can announce when a customer enters the reception area. In a hotel room, it can offer additional peace of mind for personal security.

This versatile product is easy to operate. The two small, box-like units are positioned across from each on the ground, on a table or mounted on walls at a distance of up to 75 feet, indoors or out.

The LED indicator will glow red when they are properly aligned. When switched on, an invisible infrared beam between the transmitter and receiver forms an electronic barrier that sounds an alarm if breached.

Three volume levels sound your preference of either an alarm tone or a more friendly chiming noise. Each cordless unit is powered by three AA batteries, which you provide. The Safety Beam retails at $29.95.

Information: 877-844-8288 or www.american-ir.com.

- Jeanette Prasifka /KRT

JVC digital still camera good for shooting negatives

JVC's GC-QX5HD 3.3 megapixel camera appears to be an appealing new addition to the market of digital still cameras. In the point-and-shoot pocket camera mold, the GC-QX5HD ($1,300) is too thick for a shirt pocket - although it fits in a coat pocket.

The camera comes with a 2.3X zoom, a 16-megabyte SmartMedia card and a Universal Serial Bus connection for getting your pictures into your computer. If you like to have more control, you can set the exposure, white balance and several other features. You also can create multi-exposure images. Most of us use an image-editing program to do this, but JVC's camera allows you to shoot over a previous image. The camera can output a High Definition Television image with 1080 lines for viewing on HDTV.

My favorite feature is the film adapter, which allows you to take a picture of a negative - thus digitizing photographs without needing to use a scanner. You'll need a good light source to illuminate the negative.

Despite the neat innovations, however, image quality didn't live up to the other features. Photographs shot inside with flash weren't nearly as colorful as those shot with other cameras in this class even though we used the "pixel shift technology" that JVC claims creates a picture with nearly 6 megapixels to enhance color. And most pictures weren't nearly as sharp as they should be.

You also can shoot a 20-second video clip that is small enough to be an e-mail attachment. But the format is a proprietary one for JVC requiring you and the person receiving the video to have JVC video decoder program that comes with the camera. I much prefer other digital still cameras that shoot brief movies in the Quicktime or MPEG format so that I can see them with one of several popular media players.

So if you want a camera that can help you to get negatives quickly into a digital form, the JVC GC-QX5HD makes a good investment. But look elsewhere for a great 3 megapixel snapshot camera.

Information: 800-882-2345 or www.jvc.com.

- Kevin Washington

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