Have you ever thought about getting a home video surveillance system? Weâ€™ve been considering it. Mostly because we really want to know what the cats are really doing overnight, because we come downstairs and at least one set of curtains is on the floor (theyâ€™re no tension rods, so theyâ€™re easy to put back up), the water tower is tipped on itâ€™s side with the associated water spill, and one of the litter boxes is two or three feet out of position. I donâ€™t know about you, I but I have to wonder what kind of party theyâ€™re throwing while weâ€™re innocently sleeping upstairs.
Then thereâ€™s the fact we arenâ€™t always home, and violent crime has been increasing in a our sleepy little community, and the police chief, in his weekly column, urged â€œresidents to invest in a home security camera system connected to a DVR.â€
So what do you do? Is there a simple set up? Initial searches come back with some pretty complicated things. Well, to be frank, the systems arenâ€™t that complicated, but setting them up and installing them seems painful. Then the reviews from â€œordinary usersâ€ are so mixed. Thereâ€™s a nice eight camera system at best buy and a four camera system at Harbor Freight that comes with a nice dedicated DVR. But Iâ€™d have to string coaxial cables all through my house. I donâ€™t want to do that.
We went with a wireless HDTV transmission system to try to connect some additional TVs to the satellite box upstairs, but we have two massive brick chimneys going through the center of the house. They do a great job of blocking the signal. Which reminds me, a lot of these systems are VGA quality which means you might be able to tell it was a human instead of an animal walking up to your door, but was it a friend or not? Who knows. So a WiFi system in VGA isnâ€™t going to work, and an HD WifFi system may experience the same communication problems with the router that our HDTV wireless system encounters. I donâ€™t want to spend a lot of money to find out it isnâ€™t reliable.
A few years ago, Iâ€™d heard about network transmissions through the home power outlets. At that time, I assessed it as â€œnot ready for prime time.â€ A friend of mine is using a system like this to monitor their dogs while theyâ€™re out of the house. The downside of this system is no recording capability. I want a motion sensor recorder. I looked at another system, but according to former users, if power went out, it needed to be manually restarted. That doesnâ€™t work very well if youâ€™re gone from home and power goes out. The feedback on the network over power grid was solid, though, so Iâ€™m looking for a system that will do that.
Iâ€™m looking for a self-contained camera with on-camera storage that backs up automatically to my network, which will mostly likely back up to a Dropbox arrangement for off-site storage as well. Iâ€™d like a motion-detection system rather than a camera thatâ€™s always on. Most of the systems I looked at seem to be flexible enough to do three different types â€” always on, scheduled, and motion detection. One really nice feature was zone detection. In other words, if to get your camera to cover the area you want it also picks up cars driving down the street, you want to be able to block out the area of the camera where those cars are driving (maybe). Perhaps you want to only focus on windows and doors for motion-detection recording? Presumably, zone detection will allow you to do that.
Night vision is another important feature. Remember, the cats get active at night. Do they do their carousing while the light on the timer is still on, or do they do it after the light turns off? Night vision capable indoor cameras will capture it either way. For the outdoor cameras, I want to know if someoneâ€™s coming up and checking my doors in the middle of the night â€” whether Iâ€™m home or not, and if they are, I want to be able to help my police department if someone is doing something wrong.
Finally, I want to be able to monitor how many cats are approaching Sneakyâ€™s feeder. How many are using the water tower? Thatâ€™s what the real value of the system is for me â€” as a kitty monitor. The rest is gravy.