[GOTCHA] WiFi Security Cameras
Home security cameras were once next to useless, except as deterrents. Their tiny, grainy images couldn’t differentiate a Chihuahua from a chupacabra. Video tape (remember tape?) ran out, broke, or jammed exactly when it was needed. But those days are long gone. Read on and learn about the newest wifi-enabled home security cameras...
REVIEW: Wireless Home Security Cameras
"Let's go to the video tape" is an outdated expression in 2018. Today’s home security systems are all-digital, of course. They don’t even need hard drives; many stream their video footage (evidence) to cloud storage. The most convenient and flexible systems use WiFi instead of cables. Some don't even need an external power source, sporting lithium batteries that can last two years.
Cameras now can be so small they may go unnoticed, in which case you may want a “SMILE - YOU’RE ON CAMERA!” sign to deter burglars. The full color and 1080p resolution of even budget-priced cameras have made things infinitely easier for both the homeowner the police detective. But these features are not the end of the list.
Motion detection activates recording only when something moves in a camera’s field of vision; the sensitivity can be adjusted so you don’t record every stray cat. Geo-fencing is the special case of recording only when something moves in or out of a defined area. Motion tracking makes the camera pan and tilt to follow a moving object. Night-vision lets you capture nocturnal intruders.
“Event-triggered recording” makes use of other home monitoring devices to start video recording when something happens. A water leak monitoring system might trigger video recording when it detects moisture on a basement floor, for example. Simultaneously, the homeowner may receive an alert and be able to see what’s going on from anywhere on the Internet.
Some cameras integrate only with devices made by certain manufacturers. Others are compatible with the “If This, Then That” service that I described in December, 2017. IFTTT enables integration of apps and devices that were not designed with each other in mind.
Also, of course, there’s Alexa, and Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod. All of these “smart speakers” are vying to be your robotic butler, the central node through which everything that goes on in your home flows. What better time to show you an ad for a plumber than when there’s water on the basement floor?
Ready To Shop For Home Security Cameras?
Here are some of latest offerings in several price brackets, and the unique features of each.
The battery powered Ring Spotlight Cam is one you may have seen advertised on TV. It's a $199 ruggedized outdoor video camera that packs lots of features. It’s wireless, and runs off a battery that can be continuously charged by an optional ($40) solar panel. The Spotlight Cam offers motion-triggered recording, and a nice loud siren.
Two-way audio lets you hear and speak to people on your property from your iPhone, Android, or PC. I imagine the most common utterances are "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!" or "Put down that package and get lost!" The 1080p video is sharp and it integrates with IFTTT and other smart appliance systems. On the downside, you must pay an ongoing subscription fee to view recorded video.
The Blink XT Home Security Camera System ($129.99) can be used indoors or outdoors; it’s stylish enough for one and rugged enough for the other. Up to 10 cameras can be connected via a Blink Sync hub, sold separately. Motion-triggered recording lets you easily follow intruders from room to room. The Blink XT is powered by two AA Lithium batteries (included) that are rated to last 2 years.
The Zmodo Wireless Security Camera System Smart HD Outdoor WiFi IP Camera with Night Vision has a really long name, but a small price tag. It’s sold in a 2-pack for $59, or a 4-pack for $99. But it sports HD resolution, night vision, and WiFi connectivity. Included is a 7-day rolling window of free cloud storage; you can look back up to a week in time at any given moment. Video can view viewed via an app for iOS or Android devices.
The Tend Secure Lynx Indoor Camera by Tend Insights is perfect for those on a limited budget. It sells for as little as $40 right now on Amazon provides 1080p color resolution, WiFi connectivity, motion-triggered recording an alerts via an app, two-way audio, free cloud storage, and face recognition tech.
The Nest Security Camera ($149) works with Amazon’s Alexa. It can be activated by motion or loud sounds, and it features two-way audio so you can yell, “Halt! Who goes there?” and hear a response. (Hopefully that will be the sound of feet running away.) It can work with smart home appliances made by Nest or other vendors.
Netgear’s Arlo Pro 2 costs $456 on Amazon, but that’s for the 2-camera pack. Unfortunately, two is the least number you can buy; I guess the Arlo Pro gets lonely on its own. But the Arlo Pro 2 (model VMS4230P) is definitely the top of the line, including all the features one can hope for: WiFi, cloud storage, 1080p, rechargeable battery or line power, night vision, but no face recognition.
There's also an Arlo Pro model VMS4230 for $349, which has almost identical features, but records in 720p video resolution. That's still HD quality, but not as sharp as the 1080p in the VMS4230P model.
Do you have a wireless home security camera? Tell me how you like it, or if you'd consider one of the models mentioned here. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 8 Jun 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [GOTCHA] WiFi Security Cameras (Posted: 8 Jun 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved