[GOTCHA] WiFi Security Cameras

Category: Video

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"Let's go to the video tape" is an outdated expression in 2018.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.

Wifi security cameras

“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...

 
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Most recent comments on "[GOTCHA] WiFi Security Cameras"

Posted by:

Bo
08 Jun 2018

I have the Arlo Pro (not Pro 2) and it is wonderful!

Five cameras and the system is flawless with 7 days free cloud storage.

Easy to install and works perfect!

There may be better systems but I can not imagine a system better than my Arlo Pro.


Posted by:

Ron Ryan
08 Jun 2018

I have the Kuna Maximus Coach light with camera and speaker. Works via WiFi with free cloud storage and is hard wired. Free app on smartphone allows real time communication from anywhere. Motion detector and so far has worked flawlessly. I got mine at Costco for less than I have seen it advertised elsewhere, including Amazon.


Posted by:

Thomas
08 Jun 2018

What about home network security with these types of devices? When devices connect to WiFi, isn't the network susceptible to hackers?


Posted by:

j
08 Jun 2018

I have to agree with Thomas. I would love to have a home security system but most are WIFI and/or store on the cloud. I really don't want someone watching me (although it would be pretty boring for them!). I have problems with occasional intruders which the police claim are raccoons. Pretty smart ones since they open the screen door, scoot in, and then mess with the back door, open the screen door again and disappear!


Posted by:

john
08 Jun 2018

I am surprised Bob did not mention security with these cameras. As many of us know, many of these camera companies want you to link your feed back to their servers. I know I use Amcrest and Wansview cameras. They are very well priced and provide good quality video. But I do comb through the settings of these cameras to ensure they do not call home. Do not accept the default setting. I recommend manually configuring and not using your cellphone as many companies lead you to do.


Posted by:

Steve
08 Jun 2018

I have been using a Nestcam for a few years now. I can not recommend it. It sends me about 6 false positives every day. Any change in the room lighting, including passing clouds, triggers it. I have contacted Netst, and they say there is nothing they can do about it. Also, it loses its internet connection a few times a week when other devices in my home do not.


Posted by:

Roy Hoffman
08 Jun 2018

Are there any security cameras that will work via wifi using a hot spot that is connected to a phone vs. a dsl line?


Posted by:

Bill
08 Jun 2018

Many of these send the video back to the cloud with some only keeping 7 days of video. Do they have the ability to download the video that has bee captured?


Posted by:

Therrito
08 Jun 2018

I have been thinking of getting a home security system but nearly all of them that you mentioned send the video to the cloud. Are there any that will send video directly to my PC instead?


Posted by:

Jim
08 Jun 2018

Ever heard of Wyze cams?


Posted by:

George J Beaudin
08 Jun 2018

Trivision NC-335PW HD 1080P Waterproof Bullet Home Wireless Outdoor Surveillance Camera System. Currently 109.99 on Amazon. Great day and night vision, able to record 24/7 using ISpy or any other recording software, no fees for recording or closed systems that require you to pay for storage of your camera feeds. Provides alerts by email on the mobile application or by ISpy (also can do texts).


Posted by:

Chris
08 Jun 2018

I agree... Are there any systems that store locally? Any thief wearing a paper-bag and sporting side-cuts can easily destroy the evidence of his upcoming crime.


Posted by:

Bill
08 Jun 2018

About to drop my money on a Simplisafe system. Really sorry you didn't cover them. They look really good and affordable.

Has anyone here used them?


Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
08 Jun 2018

Which scenario is more likely to occur?

1. Your surveillance footage is stored on a remote server, and some nogoodnik watches you brush your teeth, but when a thief breaks in and steals your computer, you have the pictures to ID him

2. Your surveillance footage is stored on your home computer, and some thief steals your computer, and you have no idea who it was?

I, for one, LIKE the idea of off-site storage of my surveillance footage.


Posted by:

RandiO
08 Jun 2018

I had to come to terms with using surveillance cameras (it's a “do onto others, as you want done to yourself" issue), at first. I used the excuse that it made my mate feel secure and comfy! Then, I decided to put a visible sign in front of the house, so that the neighbors (and local low-lifes) are forewarned and be (half-baked) ethical and law-abiding about their usage. Not wanting to periodically climb two stories for a WiFi battery, I installed 2 TrendNet 5MP (2944x1656) Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), outdoor "bullet" cameras. I have an Intel i7-6700K motherboard, w/a dual-network (NIC) set-up. I run a dedicated 4TB HDD for local (not-cloud) 24/7 continuous recordings that are retained for 31 days. I don’t see much performance reduction of my machine and the live footage is always displayed on my second 27” monitor. Not using cloud storage and no “motion detection only” recording have allowed us to view some bizarre footage, especially at night. Our local Police Department does not want to get involved with video footage as evidence, presumable because they are busy with more pressing problems. I am quite happy with this PoE setup that has been online for over 26 months. Proper setup and configuration is quite geeky (e.g. ONVIF, PSIA, etc.) and not for the faint-of-heart types. ReoLink brand is very similar to TrendNet cameras and their equivalent hardware are much cheaper


Posted by:

George J Beaudin
08 Jun 2018

I used the Simplisafe system as a security system and it was horrible. Look at livewatch as an alternative. I use livewatch for security and the Trivision cameras to provide a visual record of any security concerns/issues. The camera feeds can be capture by several recording software products (I use ISpy) and can provide alerts in both email and text.


Posted by:

Cynthia
09 Jun 2018

I have had a Ring doorbell (camera) for about two years. I truly enjoy being able to speak to someone at my door without them knowing if I am in the house or in Arizona. Because I was satisfied with the doorbell, I recently had two wired cameras/spotlights/sirens installede. They, too, work well. I have had to adjust the settings on one that kept turning the lights on and alerting me when the wind was particularly swift--my flowers were waving!


Posted by:

Jonathan
09 Jun 2018

We have the ARLO PRO HD Security System. We use four cams. The lastest software update to the ARLO app improved the video dramatically. The only downside I see is that some of the cams that are triggered too often run their lithium rechargeable batteries down. The ARLO app provides access to the several functions offered like: Positioning the cam originally for optimal view, control audio sound volume levels, control microphone volume levels, control light/dark enhancement, night-vision, WiFi accessibility, Smartphone ARLO App for immediately notification when motion sensor is triggered to film, "live" filming or monitoring, battery power, strength of WiFi signal to cam in bars, free 7-day Cloud backup recordings, and several memberships for commercial use. Also you can easily download each video and send to an email address for storage. Text any video is also available.

We got the ARLO PRO HD system (with 4 cams) at a very good price at COSTCO.

Any other questions?
~Jonathan, property manager


Posted by:

Nick
10 Jun 2018

What do you consider to be the best indoor/outdoor system that uses the internet and android cells but don't require a monthly fee for monitoring? Thanks


Posted by:

olamoree
10 Jun 2018

I started with just one tiny cam 15 years ago and now have 4 watching the front of my house and 500 feet of the street in front in both directions. I believe local storage is the most secure, and in that vein, IF someone does get into your property, the second thing they might go after is the DVR! So my DVR is located in a security vault (small) where they cannot get to it and take the "evidence". I use a Zmodo DVR that with a 100GB drive, saves 15 days of 24/7 activity and I can check on it via phone. As I live in the tropics, I made some aluminum boxes for the external cameras to protect them from the weather (sun and rain) and like I say, the original one is still working after 15 years. My cameras are "camouflaged" so that a potential thief won't notice them and cover up. Remember too, that video cam filmings are NOT considered evidence... just an indication of what may have happened.


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