It seems that for the longest time, home security cameras were taboo. In the past few years tho, it’s become the “hot” item in home security. Let’s face it, most home security systems give off so many false alarms that people discount them anymore. If police in your area respond to alarms, it could be hours before they check on your property.
This is where security cameras really come into play. I have a few cameras on the exterior of my home. If I get a message that my alarm has gone off, I have the ability to pull up my cameras via an app on my phone and can immediately check to see if there is a problem. In the 2 years that I’ve had my cameras, I’ve used this multiple times. I was also able to use the cameras to prove who stole a package from my front door and what wildlife was eating some of our landscaping.
There are 3 types of security cameras that most home owners go with.
- Wireless Security Cameras. Arlo, Ring, and Nest have both put a lot of effort into this category. The issue I have with these cameras is battery life and that they only record when there is motion. All storage is cloud based; which is great for redundancy, however there are costs associated with such storage.
- Wired POE Security Cameras. POE (Power over Ethernet) means one cable goes from your DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to your cameras. Typically, the systems will come with 100′ of cable for each camera.
- Wired BNC Security Cameras. With this type of system, you will have to run both a data cable and power cable to your cameras. This may not be an issue depending on the location of installation, however it is something to consider.
Before I bought my system, I was considering either POE or the Arlo camera systems. The deciding factor for me was the battery life expectancy on the Arlo systems and that by having a wired system with a DVR, I “own” all of the footage that is recorded.
A friend of mine has the Arlo system and was very impressed with it. One of the huge positives with these wireless systems is that, well, they are wireless. You simply put the mount on the side of your house, attach the camera, connect it to your home network and you are done. The video quality out of his cameras is amazing.
I do have a RING doorbell, for a very specific reason. The motion alert function is separate from the rest of my security cameras. I want to be alerted whenever there is motion at my front door, I care less about the coyote or bobcat walking around my property line, just outside of my wall. Most thieves are going to attempt contact at the front door before they break into your home. They do this because they do not want to break in when someone is home; to lower their chances of getting caught. The added benefit, which I don’t use that often, is the ability to talk to someone through your doorbell. Several of the products are battery powered. The Ring Pro (#ad)is more expensive, however it’s powered off your existing doorbell circuit. It also rings your original “doorbell” inside your house. I like this more traditional approach to a smart doorbell. (#ad)
Next are POE cameras. These are typically the security camera systems that are being installed in most businesses. They are reliable and require minimal wiring. Cat5e/Cat6 cable is fairly small in diameter and is easy to “pull” into place. If you have the right tools, you can add connectors exactly where you need them so you don’t end up with excess wire. In my opinion, POE cameras really are at the top for ease of installation and expandability.
You will need a POE specific DVR to use a POE camera; whether a dedicated DVR or a computer dedicated to the task. I would recommend a minimum of 2TB of storage, ideally 4-8TB so that you have plenty of room; this is specifically dependent, however, on how many cameras you have, your recording settings, the frame rate, and mega-pixels the cameras operate under.
Example: Doing the math, if you are recording at 4mp, have 12 cameras and 4TB of storage, you’ll be able to record 24/7 on all 12 cameras and have about 9-12 days of storage; depending on compression used.
BNC cameras are of similar nature to POE, they just require a separate power supply.
Something to beware of when it comes to a lot of the cameras sold in the big box retail stores; Megapixels are great, but frame rate is king. Having an 8mp (4K) camera does you no good if you are only getting 5 frames per second.
I’ve seen a few cameras in the 4mp range that’ll run 25fps. Keep in mind, the average 1080p feed is 24fps. Below is an example of the difference frame rate makes. This is not my video, it’s just a great example from youtube.
So, now you see the difference. While you want a nice clear picture, you want to be able to see what’s happening in every frame as well. Just imagine a worst case scenario where your home is broken into. As you review the footage, the time between frames keeps you from capturing a picture of the thief’s face. 25 FPS is a step in the right direction.
Buying security cameras is a huge step in the home security arena. It’s also a big purchase. You don’t want to be buying a new camera system every year.
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