Home Security Camera

Home Security Camera – Do You Need One?

When planning a security system for your dwelling, you’re likely wondering if a home security camera is for you. While anti-theft is what most comes to mind when we think of video surveillance, there are plenty of other uses for home security cameras including: baby monitoring, elderly monitoring, worker monitoring (like when you have remodeling done in your home), front door monitoring, wildlife monitoring (yes, those naughty racoons), capturing your domestic animals’ covert antics, and more.

If you’ve been thinking about adding a home security camera to your home, there are lots of options, from wireless, to wired, to do-it-yourself systems, to fully-monitored systems. We’ve compiled a little bit of information to help you be an educated shopper. Do you need a landline to have a home security camera? No. Most home security companies are gearing systems towards the modern, digital lifestyle. Wi-Fi is the new standard and cellphone apps allow remote monitoring, which is a huge improvement over antiquated security systems. You can even integrate Alexa into many systems.

Do home security cameras prevent theft?

A visible camera might be a deterrent, provided it isn’t easily disabled (think large camera high off the ground), but other security labels and markers would definitely deter some thiefs. Most burglars aren’t going to steal in their own neighborhood and some don’t care if they are filmed (and will conceal their faces). That said, if you are broken into, having a video can help identify and prosecute a burglar. Initially, it’s most important to get a basic motion-detector-type system installed as a foundation for your security plan.

Note that there are other reasons for security cameras (in addition to theft) including monitoring for certain types of activities. Many people opt for a security camera if they are repeated victims of break-ins and/or suspect the same culprit is responsible.

Do home security cameras really help capture criminals?

When home security cameras capture license plates, facial features, and other identifying details, yes, they can help capture criminals. Also, we’ve all seen crime footage played on social media…

What should I look for in an outdoor home security camera?

  • Night vision.
  • Thermal protection and weather resistance (especially if you live in a cold climate).
  • High video resolution.
  • Easy playback to device(s).
  • Secured Wi-Fi enabled (if you have Wi-Fi).
  • Appropriate lens for coverage (wide angle if you want a lot of coverage).
  • Live viewing (and multiple views if you have multiple cameras).
  • Small footprint and discreet installation.
  • Ease of operation (set up and software configuration).
  • Recordable and savable video clips.
  • Customizable alerts.

What should I look for in an indoor home security camera?

  • Night vision.
  • High video resolution with a ratio that works for your playback device.
  • Easy playback to device(s).
  • Secured Wi-Fi enabled (if you have Wi-Fi).
  • Customizable alerts.
  • Appropriate lens for coverage (multiple sensors and/or wide angle if you want a lot of coverage).
  • Live viewing (and multiple views if you have multiple cameras).
  • Small footprint and discreet installation.
  • Ease of operation (set up and software configuration).
  • Recordable and savable video clips.

Wired or wireless?

Most truly wireless systems run on lithium batteries, which can limit how much data they can record. Many systems dubbed wireless are actually hardwired but have wireless communication capability.

Analog or IP Cameras?

Analog is old school, requiring lots of cabling and connection to DVD or VHS players. Newer, IP systems were really expensive when they first came out, but prices have been driven down by the competition. Some analog systems are now less expensive and yield better resolution through analog to HD conversion, although they are still of lesser quality than a good IP camera due to the lower frame rate. The coverage of analog cameras tends to be less than IP types, which can influence the equipment requirements and installation costs. Some IP cameras are built with multiple sensors, which is how their range is expanded beyond what an analog camera can deliver.

  • IP cameras run on fast ethernet cables and, if you invest in a higher-end system, the image quality can be pretty amazing, especially with HD systems. Unlike analog cameras, which are wire-intensive, IP cameras only require one cable.
  • IP cameras are more secure than analog due to built-in, authenticated encryption. A hacker could, conceivably hack into your analog system.
  • IP cameras are more upgradable so that you can easily expand your system in the future as your needs grow or as you’re able to afford it. This is something to ask your provider about before signing a contract.
  • IP cameras require a bit more storage space than analog, depending on how much surveillance you capture and save. Plan on having storage added to your phone or computer to accommodate your recorded footage.
  • One downside to IP cameras is there’s a bit more a learning curve for the user’s interface. For the average tech-savvy person, this will not be an issue.
  • Most of the major home security companies are installing IP systems, so if, for some reason, you want to stick with analog, you may have to do some searching.

Are home security cameras expensive?

There is a huge range of prices in home security cameras. Some are quite affordable, and other, high-end systems can be quite expensive. A very basic camera with installation, might cost around $300, but the monitoring systems will be another $30 or more per month. Of course, if you purchase a whole security system with the camera and other features as components, your monitoring fees are likely to be less. If you are only self monitoring and want a DIY camera, of course you’ll save money, but won’t enjoy the benefits of a security-company-monitored system, which usually includes some kind of 24-7 surveillance, phone notification, and police reporting.

The best thing to do if you are considering security cameras is to talk to an expert who can help you figure out your needs and get a free quote.

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