All these 'smart' WiFi cameras. Displaying on a monitor?

9 Jan 2020
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United Kingdom
I have been thinking for a while about adding some cameras around our large, secluded house - it's in the country up a private lane and as well as security it's just useful to see someone is arriving or looking lost (no phone signal to ring and ask if we're the right place).

Not looking for an alarm system so much as surveilance. I don't really want an old-fashioned wired system when modern WiFi cameras are so modular and have some handy features. But there's so many options, from very cheap through "smart home" solutions and up to professional setups, it's hard to know which way to go.

One thing I don't want to do, is end up needing 3 different apps on my phone - every camera seems to use its own proprietary app! Being able to get notifications and see the camera feed on my phone is great, but with multiple cameras I'd also love to be able to have a live feed on a TV/monitor, the classic 4-camera split-screen sort of thing, so I can have it on in my home office.

It's nice if I could link them to a NAS system or online cloud storage.
I'm currently considering getting new door-bells, I wasn't leaning towards smart/Wifi but I know there are links here.
For what it's worth we run the Honeywell Evohome heating system, I see they have something in this range though that looks more like a Simplisafe-esque alarm system?

Long post but any general advice or information to get started would be great. As would your expereinces - what have you installed and would you recommend it?
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Blink/Arlo are two I remember seeing as part of the modern way of doing things, I only just realised they are fully battery powered so no always-on monitoring on a screen but seem quite neat. I see they both use a central hub so not sure if that means they are using a private WiFi?

I have a Wifi blackspot right where I want one camera to go which could be remedied with an extender if it were on my own network.
We wouldn't recommend any of the above to be fair.

Wifi needs to to be a very strong signal for it to be reliable with video images, not to mention issues with disabling them.

We don't recommend wifi cameras full stop, better internally than externally.

Better to have mains powered than just battery powered, I suspect the batteries wont last very long.

easiest way to confirm this for yourself is to buy a single unit and try it in the different places?
@secureiam thanks - though I get the impression you're probably coming from a more pro angle e.g. having someone like yourself come and install it? Which is fine of course, just not the level I want to spend on :)

Do you have any tips/recommendations for DIY setup? It's more for checking when the security light goes on that it's just a cat, or if I hear someone come up the drive then turnaround and leave before I can look being able to clock the reg, or recording the parcel guy tossing a package into a bush, etc. Peace of mind as much as anything, living in the country you can easily get spooked by a weird noise, definitely not thinking a 'proper' security system here.

BTW I think Arlo lets you use ethernet and mains on some of their kit. I'd agree with you on wireless being a problem though of course widens your options so in a perfect world somebody would make a modular set up you can use both... wired for the outside of the house where it's easy, wireless for across your yard/drive where you don't want to lay a cable duct!
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license plate reading is considered specialist (high frame rates and low resolutions with lenses to adjust to span some distance), I would be surprised if you could find one that will work well at night with the headlights on.

That said after some trials with an IP Color Vu camera 6mm lens (cars probably not going too fast as it was at a junction), I have been impressed with its performance at reading licence plates at night.

any cheap camera should be able to give you an indication of it being domestic animal, wildlife or a person, check You tube for day/ night vision videos is always a starting point day only footage should be cautious. obviously outside needs an ip rating.

having a quick look at arlo and price wise the better stuff isn't that cheap, the battery life is a few months (3-6, and 2-3), sounds like a real ball ache, the batteries will almost definitely fail when you need them the most.

Cant say what best suits your home as dont know it and cant look and map it out. The white light option might be useful but thats going to eat up your batteries?
My neighbour has a 4 camera wireless system I the they are the Amazon ones, they record all the time and picture quality is good, he is constantly up the ladder taking them off to charge, so much so he is considering moving to a wired system.
@secureiam just not the level I want to spend on

A 4 camera Blink system is £350.
A 4 camera Hikvision system is £300 with a 1 TB hard drive, plus cables

Hikvision and others also do wifi cameras but you'd still have to get power to them.

If you do want to go down the 'smart home' route, if the cameras or hub have live viewing on a webpage you could put a Raspberry Pi behind the telly and use that as a web browser.
My neighbour has a 4 camera wireless system I the they are the Amazon ones, they record all the time and picture quality is good, he is constantly up the ladder taking them off to charge, so much so he is considering moving to a wired system.
Yeah I hadn't gone into this wanting battery powered ones - or really aware they were even an option. They quote long battery life but that's based on X seconds use every day, etc. Shame as the Amazon/Blink system sounds quite nice, that they don't do a powered version.

I can quite easily get power to cameras but networking... not easily. That said a camera which supports PoE is neat. One could also use Wifi/ethernet adapters (or powerline) and swap in full cabling later.

Probably the primary place I'd but a camera - front of my detached garage which is invisible from the house - has power but installing Cat6 would mean substantial work.

Thanks for the suggestion @OwainDIYer I'll look into that more.

is a plug poe injector, POe end to camera lan end to the router directly or via ethernet over mains unit.

and an ethernet over mains adapter 500Mbps passthrough units is the minimum would.

if you need 4 units than check which plugs allow 4 units+, you can get these with or without wifi but if you have wifi units you can also boost wifi signal around the home at the same time.

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