Caught on Camera: What’s new in video security?

2021.10.31

Read these essential points before investing in a video security system!

 
The days of quietly parting your blinds to see who’s at your front door are over. In fact, you don’t even need to be there to see who’s lurking around your home. Video security systems are affordable, easy to install and connect, and they offer high quality monitoring you can access on your phone from anywhere. Today’s cameras are equipped with sensors that record when someone is approaching and send an alert on your phone. Some models even allow you to talk to whoever is there.

Cameras come as independent mountable devices, either indoor or outdoor. You can also get a video doorbell, which connects to your existing wiring. All items cover the basics – they monitor and record anyone in range. Independent cameras can cover more territory than a doorbell camera, however video doorbells serve dual functions as security and doorbell, and are easier to install.

There are as many camera systems, setups, and styles as there are types of commercial and residential premises. Make sure you’re up to speed with the basics of video security, then check out our links to see the industry’s recommended picks:

Indoor Cameras

Indoor security cameras systems have different functions, from securing your home with motion-detectors, to interactive audio, to baby monitors. Indoor models are typically more attractive than outdoor systems, since they become visible parts of home decor.

Here are some of the best models, based on overall scores for easy installation, quality features, and price.

Outdoor Cameras

The biggest difference with outdoor systems is their durability. They’re built to operate in cold, rain, and winds. The technology is otherwise the same as indoor systems; in fact, some models function in either setting.

Here are some of the best models, based on overall scores.

All video security systems work on the same fundamentals, so before buying make sure you understand the basics. Here are the main points to consider:

Wired or wireless?

Choosing between the wide variety of video systems starts with deciding between wired or
wireless. Wireless cameras can be installed almost anywhere with minimal setup. Mount them, connect them to a Wi-Fi network, and you’re good to go. The downside of wireless is that footage is stored in the Cloud, which requires monthly fees. Video quality is only as consistent as your Wi-Fi signal, plus batteries must be monitored, especially in cold weather which drains them faster.

Wired systems are more of a closed system of camera and recording device. Connection is more stable and secure, however the wiring will probably require a professional to install. The apps are less user-friendly and advanced, and it’s more difficult to change camera placement.

Resolution

Most video security resolutions begin at 1080p, which is good enough quality for most needs. 4K HD offers the best resolution, however it requires a better connection and uses more Cloud storage, which increases fees.

Location, location, location… and more location?

Most residential homes can get away with a single camera over the front door, however larger homes or homes with vulnerable entry points may need multiple cameras giving them 360 degree monitoring. In either case, placement is key for any mounted camera. An expert can help assess the best location and angle for each camera, or you can find dozens of helpful tutorials on YouTube.

Camera lenses vary in field of view, usually from 100 to 180 degrees. The ability to pan and tilt adds even more range and may be practical, depending on how much area is being covered.

What kind of connection?

Video security systems use either a WiFi or Z-wave connection for remote monitoring. Both are connected to the internet, however Z-wave uses less power than WiFi and is more effective when connected to multiple devices. Fewer homes are compatible with Z-wave and may require you to buy a Z-wave smart hub.

What’s your budget?

Prices range from under $75 for a single camera, to between $150 to $200 for higher resolution and remote storage, to $400 and up for multiple cameras with 4k HD resolution. Features such as motion-tracking, facial recognition, and time-lapse recording are also found in the upper end of the pricing range.

With so many models and features, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert or trusted friend to clarify what’s necessary for your home. Answering the above questions will give you peace of mind and help you avoid unnecessary costs.

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