You've done some research and come to the conclusion that professionally installed service is not right for you, but you're still interested in smart security options. But what differentiates all the options? Here, we take a closer look at some of the essentials and differences of home monitoring kits so you can pinpoint what's right for you.
Indoor and Outdoor Coverage
Deciding what rooms you want to monitor should be the first question on your mind. If you plan to use your camera outside, you'll want to consider weatherproof options with a wider field-of-view (something greater than 130º should do the trick). Indoor cameras obviously don't need the extra weatherproof protection and most often won't need the wide field-of-view. Think about where you plan to place each camera and how many cameras you'll need of a particular type when planning your monitoring system.
Are you the type of person who archives or skips to the highlights? Different home monitoring systems offer various solutions for video storage. Some offer accompanying DVR devices for constant recording onto a physical drive. Others record to servers in the cloud. Others record only when there's motion. If you're the curious type, constant recording is the way to go. If you're a minimalist, just access highlighted content in the cloud.
Different security systems offer a range of alert options. Do you want a more passive system that only records and stores videos? Or do you want an active system that detects motion and sends text, email or phone alerts? If camera footage seems good enough for your needs, stick with a passive system. If security is of the utmost concern, we recommend a system with real-time motion alerts. Keep in mind that some systems may only alert you, while others can alert police under special circumstances.
There are plenty of other features and options you may see when perusing security cameras. Check out our handy guide to get the lowdown on security features inside and out.
Security Cameras 101
VIDEO MONITORING FEATURES EXPLAINED
|Weather Proofing||Ensures your camera can withstand rain and snow — ideal for outdoor placement|
|Video Resolution||Different cameras offer 720p or 1080p HD for varying playback quality|
|Field of View||Field of view varies widely from 69–160º. We recommend a wider field of view for outdoor cameras or larger rooms|
|Network Connection||Cameras connect to the internet through Wi-Fi or a wired connection. Other systems connect locally to a DVR box|
|2-Way Communication||2-way communication allows you to speak from your phone to the camera like a walkie-talkie|
|Low-Light Viewing||Some cameras allow you to see higher quality playback with low-light — ideal for nighttime security|
|Video Storage||Video storage breaks down into two main categories: cloud and DVR. Depending on the product, cloud storage may have recurring fees|
|Power Source||Cameras are powered with batteries or an AC cord. Batteries allow for more flexibility in camera placement|
|Recording Type||Some cameras offer motion-activated recording while others are always on|
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