Do It Yourself Home Security Cameras Reviewed


Confused over which home security camera to install? Here's the breakdown of four wireless products that send images of your home to your smartphone, plus sends alerts to it when they "detect" something via motion.

Keep in mind that all four products are capable of sending alerts of benign events to your phone, such as your two cats chasing each other. These four products, which can be set up with a phone, also record everything.

Piper ($199)

  • No monthly fee
  • Stores up to a thousand 35-second footage clips
  • Sensors include those for motion, humidity, temperature and lights.
  • Home, work and travel modes
  • May be slow to show its live feed, but the company is working on correcting this.

Dropcam Pro ($199)

  • Monthly fee
  • Can see well in dark rooms
  • Has a feature that zooms in on one specific area and enhances a live image (is that a rat by the door or a bunched-up sock?)
  • Has a time based schedule
  • Can focus on specific zones where you want alerts

Simplicam ($150)

  • Can recognize a human face
  • You can program the camera to ping your smartphone only when it recognizes a face.
  • Monthly fee optional
  • Has a time based schedule

Manything (free app for an iPhone 4)

  • Will eventually have a fee
  • Can focus on specific zones where you want alerts

These webcams sound like a great way to add yet one more layer of security to your home, but the problem is that the technology isn't refined enough to prevent these devices from pinging your mobile phone excessively. Some do allow to completely turn alerts off.

Do you really want to be constantly checking what's triggered the latest alert? Maybe at first you will like this, but when you see the alerts are benign, it not only becomes annoying, but it develops the boy who cried wolf scenario. Over time you'll become desensitized to all the pings, and will start ignoring them every so often. And maybe that one out of eight pings you ignore one day turns out to be a real break-in. You have to do a risk-benefit ratio thing here.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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