Over the years as I’ve acquired various bits of hardware, I’ve somehow ended up with a few ‘extra’ webcams. Not really wanting them to languish in my parts bin, I figured I’d take a stab at setting them up as home security cameras. And, I wanted to check out what my dogs were up to during the day 🙂
My kitchen was the perfect test area, as I already had a windows-based PC there. All I needed to add were some USB Extension cables and I was set. So for you list-minded folk, here’s what I used:
- ASRock Ion 330 — PC running Windows XP SP2
- Logitech QuickCam Connect
- Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000
- Belkin USB Extension Cable — 6ft
I positioned the cameras where I’d have a good view of the floor-space and entrance. It takes a bit of trial and error to get the right angle and in one case I had to use a weight to keep the Logitech Camera in place…the twists of the cable wouldn’t let the camera sit flat.
On the software side, I chose to go with an online solution, HomeCamera.com. This was much simpler than setting up a home web server and webcam capture solution. I wanted something that was pretty much plug-and-play.
Our subscribers use HomeCamera’s built-in motion detection for security cameras, to receive image and video intrusion alerts on their email and mobile phones. Features like automatic recording schedules enable you to see what happened in your home throughout the day, even while you’re on an out-of-town work trip. Business customers use HomeCamera to watch over their factories, their shops, warehouses, and more.
Setup was pretty simple. I tweaked the camera settings using the camera manufacturer’s setting software, then ran the HomeCamera.com client.
The Client allows you to set up and share your cameras. Again, very easy.
Since HomeCamera.com is in beta, their service / performance may fluctuate — though I’ve never had any issues.
As well, HomeCamera.com service is free during this beta period. According to the site, there will be a free option, but also a paid one too:
We expect to exit beta and go commercial in early 2010. At that time, we will offer two service plans: FREE (which is pretty much the service you see now, with a few limitations on number of online cameras and server storage) and the full service (with video streaming) at US$ 29.95 YEARLY. Yes, that’s $29.95 per year — we want to keep the price low enough for regular people to easily afford the service. At this price, it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee a month…
So, I now have a video-based home monitoring system. Basically free, as I had all the parts anyway.
There are other online monitoring solutions out there, but this one just seemed to be the simplest for me…got any ideas how I can improve this setup? Let me know!