How to choose a home security camera?

Home security cameras usage is picking up, especially among those who have left their homes on vacation in this holiday season, or just need to keep a track of what is happening in their house in their absence. The usage can vary and can help in keeping a track on pet, nanny, child’s activity or to secure their home from intruders.

Now, coming to the cameras, almost all of them perform the same functions like detecting an event, recording it, and sending an alert to the user.

However, certain cameras go beyond those basics and some can be mounted outdoors.

So, while shopping for a home security camera here are some innovative features which need to be present –

  • Alerts- A security camera used in homes should be able to send notifications on smart phone, as soon as it detects events. This gives an opportunity to the user to keep a tab on their home in relative real time, without the need to watch the live feed constantly. The camera should send text alerts when it detects motion, sound, a face or all the three at a time. Nowadays, manufactures coming up with home cameras for security purposes are inducing the ability to send alerts to multiple people. The alert includes text sms, email or both.
  • Cloud recording- Cloud storage has taken the digital world as storm and has also hit the security surveillance field. Many camera manufacturers are now offering cloud storage plans with their camera. They record video to a server in the cloud and store it for 24 hours to a couple of weeks.
  • Sometimes offered free, these cloud plans typically require a monthly subscription, but may be worth both for their convenience and if you want constant 24/7 recording. Some subscription services record video only when motion is detected and they’re not infallible and may miss an event. With 24/7 recording, like CCTV systems, you can rewind and watch any point in time (back the limit of your subscription).
  • If you want the camera record and store the events on your premises, then you can just integrate the camera to a laptop, desktop or a Home NAS appliance.
  • Facial Recognition- Only few manufactures out there in the market are offering facial recognition software tools embedded in home security cameras. Thus, with this feature, when a known person enters the premises like a kid after school and a family member after office, the camera doesn’t send the alert, as the person was customized as authorized. It’s also useful to alert when specific people are at home.
  • On-board storage- Some home security cameras have memory card slots for onboard storage. It can be a useful option, as it can cut down the cost of monthly storage fees invested on a cloud storage service. These on-board memory card slots will offer high capacities like even up to 64GB to 128GB. But the downside is that if a thief breaks into and steals the camera, all the precious video evidence will get lost. Otherwise, the evidence would have been stored on a cloud platform or a NAS platform.
  • Applications- Almost all latest cameras are accessible via a smart phone or tablet application. In addition to offering a way to view the cameras’ live feed, apps often let a user adjust settings and turn on and off recording, motion detection and more.
  • Motion detection- This feature is nowadays the most desirable feature in every security camera. It works as follows- each camera has in-built sensors which pick up the movement within the camera’s field of view and trigger video recording. As these sensors are sensitive to any movement- like shifting of light as time progresses and leaves falling from trees; it’s important that system adjusts the sensor’s sensitivity or otherwise has the customization of this feature to cut down on false alerts. If the camera lacks these smart features, then it is better to avoid such camera purchases.
  • Night Vision- Most intrusions happen at night time like burglaries and other issues and so the said feature will prove extremely essential in motion detection. Technically speaking, most home security cameras support infrared LED illuminations, versus true night vision based on image intensification or thermal vision. Some camera’s will switch to night vision automatically in low-light conditions, while others allow the users to customize such settings on when and how it should be activated.
  • Pan Tilt Zoom– If cameras can be manually tilted and swiveled to focus on certain viewing area, it can prove much useful. But nowadays, automation is proving as a key to sell goods and so cameras which can remotely panned, tilted, swiveled and zoomed are on high demand. So, cameras which have a motor to help a live feed viewing user move its lens, as per the moving object, can prove as a great feature to attract more customers.
  • Resolution- This is a very important feature to look for while shopping for a security camera, as evidence with high clarity makes true sense under all circumstances. Therefore, always look for a camera that offers the highest possible resolution. High Definition is now acting as a selling point for all CCTV cameras and so customers shopping for home security cams should also go for those which offer a minimum of 720p of clarity. However, higher resolution cameras use more internet i.e. Wi-Fi bandwidth and battery life and so you got be aware of this issue.
  • Scheduling camera operations- This feature presence in the camera allows users to tell the device when to turn on and when to turn off, when to detect motion, and/or send alerts at specified time. This proves useful, when you only want to be notified when the children get home from school or just want to monitor your home when you’re away. It also reduces the amount of false alerts.
  • Two way audio- Most home security cameras do not offer this feature. But it proves wise if you go for the cameras which are having a two-way audio feature. Though, most people feel contended with what cameras are offering on video front, it is always better to have a complete picture on camera along with audio. This feature also helps in alerting the user if something occurs out of the camera’s field of vision. It also allows the user to speak through the camera, a great tool for remotely commanding an unruly pet, or startling an intruder in act. But you need to keep a powered speaker for this feature to work along with the camera recording.
  • Viewing Angle- Always remember that a camera’s field of view determines how much it can see through its lens. And most home CCTV cameras are having 130 degrees of viewing range. Sometimes these wide angles can cause image distortion at the edges in the form of a fish eye effect, particularly when used in small rooms. But that isn’t an issue when you trying to capture evidence, as it only matters in cameras taking snapshots for a photo album.
  • Web Client- Accessing a camera via a web browser always proves beneficial. This comes handy when you don’t have access to your phone or a wireless connection. The web app should closely mirror its mobile counterpart, so the user doesn’t need any training in learning whole new set of controls. It may also offer some extra features, such as the ability to download video clips.

Hope, these features will help you get the best, while shopping for a home security camera.

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