It’s easier than you might think to turn your home computer into a video surveillance system, even if you’re not a technical wiz-kid. You can use something as simple as a motion-activated web camera or, you can choose from a huge range of options that involve gadgets and software.
Consider Your Needs
What you choose for home surveillance depends totally on your needs and the kind of information you want to gather. If all you need is simple video monitoring to keep track of the comings and goings in a particular area of the house, a good quality video camera will definitely do the trick and will make barely a dent in your wallet at less than $100. This is also the kind of camera you would buy to Skype with your kids if they live across the country. It will record excellent quality video and will add sound if you like.
One thing to remember is the size of your hard drive. The more data you record, the more space it will take up on your computer, so unless you plan on buying a computer that will be dedicated to monitoring your home, this is definitely something to be aware of.
Picture Credit Logitech Alert Brings HD Video Security on iPad
If you plan to monitor continuously, and not depend on a motion detector, a relatively inexpensive option here would be to record your data on a connected VCR. This, however, would involve another piece of equipment and a stack of tapes, as well as a need to be aware of the fact that tapes will run out and have to be changed after a number of hours if you plan on doing 24/7 monitoring. This won’t be a big issue if you want to monitor only for a few hours at a time, let’s say, while you’re out at work.
Variety of Features
The truth is that you can get a lot more security features for an extremely reasonable price. One of the major manufacturers of computer cams has gotten into the home security market and produces a little kit that is easy to install, includes its own software and has a bundle of nice features, all for about $300.
With this setup, you can monitor your home remotely from any computer or mobile phone that has an internet connection. It has a webcam with night vision and can be expanded to include up to six additional cameras both indoors and outdoors, at an additional cost. The outdoor cameras are weatherproof and night-vision capable. There are no new wiring requirements as the system works from your existing home wiring and outlets.
The main camera itself has wide angle viewing, motion sensor activation, sound recording with a built-in microphone and it can record to a micro card like, for example, the one in most smart phones and digital cameras. This is probably going to cover the needs of nearly anyone who wants to keep an eye on the goings-on in their home, and even in the outdoor vicinity of it.
Naturally there are other accessories available that will run the cost up higher, but these are all simple-to-install goodies that even a reasonable savvy novice could handle with no trouble. To make a do-it-yourself system that is at the “sublime” end of the spectrum, you can add a few more cameras and a master control module. Longer cables will let you mount the cameras farther from an outlet if that’s needed. The master controller will let you remotely pan and zoom the cameras, view recorded video, set up alerts so that you can be notified if any activity triggers the motion sensor, and, in general, remotely manage your entire system from any computer or smart phone. Depending on how many cameras you need, this can still, amazingly, come in at less than $1000.
For a measly $20 you can even get a warning sign for the front yard telling the bad guys that your home is protected by a surveillance system if you like.
Hire a Professional
If you need more than this, like someone to sit by the monitor 24/7 and watch the house for you, then it’s time to think about hiring a professional home-monitoring company. And actually, even some T.V. cable companies have gotten into the home monitoring business and can set up a surveillance system through your cable equipment. This, of course, can start running into some serious money and monthly charges as well, because those people watching your place 24/7 expect to be paid.
However, for an extremely reasonable price and a small amount of effort you can accomplish a very good surveillance system of your own, using no more than your home computer and some good quality products.