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Old 03-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #81
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I've just got a new reason to leave my wifi on when we are traveling. I bought a security camera this week and will use it to look in while we are away. One of the presets will point it to the thermometer. I also set up email alerts that send an email with 3 photos each time motion is detected. (It's easy to turn the alarm setting on and off remotely).

I was amazed at how inexpensive it is. Only cost $48, plus I'm getting a $15 manufacturer rebate. It arrived Monday afternoon and by teatime I had it connected via wireless and accessible over the internet.

IP Camera, Network Camera - Tenvis.com
We have one of those. It's pretty good. We got that one as a swing-camera, to place wherever we may have a special need for a short period of time. It isn't really much good to view things more than eight or nine feet away, though. There really are quality differences between different IP cameras, even though they look similar to each other in the photos posted by the online stores.

I've attached two images. Unfortunately, they're not a perfect comparison. The $50 camera is, of course, the blurrier image. and the $180 camera is, of course, the sharper image, but the lighting isn't quite as good in the room where the $50 camera is (back-lit versus front-lit), and the object in the image is eleven feet away from the $50 camera instead of seven feet away from the $180 camera. However, the images still do a very good job communicating the difference in quality between the $50 camera and the $180 camera.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:46 PM   #82
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Alan:

Sure hope you read the Amazon reviews on this camera, which were pretty bad (except for the paid reviews...).

My daughter had one of their products in her home last year. It died in a few months. Seems to me that lots of Chinese knock offs are all over the place these days and are not of high quality (not just this camera for sure). I hope it works well for you and lasts a long time.
I did read the reviews but decided to give it a shot anyway since it was so cheap, and I only bought the one. If it turns out to be unreliable then I won't hesitate to go with a more expensive version in a couple of years time when we set up a permanent place in England, which is where I will really want one since we will most likely have a house, and I'll want multiple cameras.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:51 PM   #83
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We have one of those. It's pretty good. We got that one as a swing-camera, to place wherever we may have a special need for a short period of time. It isn't really much good to view things more than eight or nine feet away, though. There really are quality differences between different IP cameras, even though they look similar to each other in the photos posted by the online stores.

I've attached two images. Unfortunately, they're not a perfect comparison. The $50 camera is, of course, the blurrier image. and the $180 camera is, of course, the sharper image, but the lighting isn't quite as good in the room where the $50 camera is (back-lit versus front-lit), and the object in the image is eleven feet away from the $50 camera instead of seven feet away from the $180 camera. However, the images still do a very good job communicating the difference in quality between the $50 camera and the $180 camera.

Excellent illustration in the quality difference, nice to see a comparison like that.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:03 PM   #84
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I did read the reviews but decided to give it a shot anyway since it was so cheap, and I only bought the one. If it turns out to be unreliable then I won't hesitate to go with a more expensive version in a couple of years time when we set up a permanent place in England, which is where I will really want one since we will most likely have a house, and I'll want multiple cameras.
Yes, we also are looking for a good camera system in the near future since we moved into our newer home in November.

I have a very good, long time friend who owns and operates a bar/restaurant in The Woodlands. He showed me his 12 or so camera system at his place of business (although very expensive) and the differences between the hardware available. Types and quality is all over the map these days and range from a system like his (high end video card with multiple inputs, mounted in a desktop with terabyte storage, and very good cameras) to the $300 4-camera systems at Fry's.

One of these days I hope to find a good quality camera system we can install that is cost effective and reliable. But for now, we rely on deadbolts and my P99, if needed.

Question: have you tried accessing the camera from a smart phone yet?
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:16 PM   #85
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Yes, we also are looking for a good camera system in the near future since we moved into our newer home in November.

I have a very good, long time friend who owns and operates a bar/restaurant in The Woodlands. He showed me his 12 or so camera system at his place of business (although very expensive) and the differences between the hardware available. Types and quality is all over the map these days and range from a system like his (high end video card with multiple inputs, mounted in a desktop with terabyte storage, and very good cameras) to the $300 4-camera systems at Fry's.

One of these days I hope to find a good quality camera system we can install that is cost effective and reliable. But for now, we rely on deadbolts and my P99, if needed.

Question: have you tried accessing the camera from a smart phone yet?
I don't have a smart phone, but do have an iPad onto which I downloaded the TENViS app (free) and it works very well. In fact it allows you to turn on the microphone so you can hear what is going on in the room, and to turn on the speaker so you can talk to whoever is in the room. Not a particularly useful feature, but I tried it and it works. To move around the room you move the iPAD and the camera moves in unison, very clever.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:24 PM   #86
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I don't have a smart phone, but do have an iPad onto which I downloaded the TENViS app (free) and it works very well. In fact it allows you to turn on the microphone so you can hear what is going on in the room, and to turn on the speaker so you can talk to whoever is in the room. Not a particularly useful feature, but I tried it and it works. To move around the room you move the iPAD and the camera moves in unison, very clever.
Thanks for the update. I may look into one of these to play around with it for future planning. I've thought about mounting a camera on our covered front entry way as a way to see who may be at the door. I'll have to check the specs to see if these will work outdoors (but not in the rain).
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:35 PM   #87
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I'm looking at getting a dimmer, a transceiver for my garage door opener and maybe a Wifi thermostat.

However, the flip side of this is that some of these may be vulnerable to hacks. So for instance, would you want your garage door remotely openable by hackers?
True, but if your network is secured (for example, with WPA2 encryption), you will eliminate the vast majority, if not all, "crimes off opportunity" because there is too much other low-hanging fruit to pick when yours is so much harder to reach. That said, with such security in place it's probably easier to "get in" with brute force than by cracking strong security, and if a sufficiently determined thief wants to get into *your* house specifically while you are away, they probably can. But we can still reduce the odds and make it a lot harder.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:55 PM   #88
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Question: have you tried accessing the camera from a smart phone yet?
As an aside, I actually have three different brands of IP cameras, the two I provided samples for, above, and one that's "in between" - a IP camera from TRENDnet. That third camera's web browser-based access actually relies on Java (!), and uses APIs that are considered security exploits, and so Java will eventually block using those APIs. In other words, at some point in the near future, I won't be able to access that camera through any self-respecting web browser. The manufacturer was notified, and their reply was (in a nutshell) "It is out of warranty, so we're not going to do anything about it." They still sell IP cameras, and I don't know whether or not the new cameras rely on the same APIs or not, so I would warn folks away from TRENDnet.

What's relevant about this, though, is that accessing the camera through apps available for smartphones (even our arcane Windows Phone) and for tablets works fine.

Better, actually. And that's true of all three camera brands/models. Their browser-based access is provided through a web application server running in the camera. That means that browser-based access is beholden to the firmware that camera happens to be running. Updates to the firmware have never updated the web application server software running in any of the cameras we have. We actually have several cameras that are the same brand and same model, but the old cameras have one browser user interface and the new cameras have a different (better) browser user interface - even though the firmware in the old cameras was updated after we bought the new cameras. Apparently, at this price-point, these manufacturers don't go back and do much sustaining engineering work to bring software enhancements which are reflected in the firmware for newer hardware versions to later versions of the firmware for older hardware versions - even of the same model.

By contrast, apparently the apps for smartphones and tablets access the video feed and interact with the IP cameras using some other (evidently standard) protocol. The user interface is dictated by the app (and consequently the same app shows active video from cameras from the three different manufacturers, even composited onto the same page, no problem). And the app developers, they put out frequent updates, with major enhancements coming quite often. Their user interfaces (all of them I've checked out) are substantially more responsive and just plain work better than the user interface of any of the IP camera's own on-board web application servers (i.e., the user interface you get when you access the camera through the web browser). Consequently, even if I'm using my laptop, if I want to "check the cameras at home", and my tablet is within reach, I'm going to use my tablet.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:08 PM   #89
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we set up a permanent place in England, which is where I will really want one since we will most likely have a house, and I'll want multiple cameras.
You Brits certainly love your CCTV!!
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:15 PM   #90
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I'm looking at getting a dimmer, a transceiver for my garage door opener and maybe a Wifi thermostat.

However, the flip side of this is that some of these may be vulnerable to hacks. So for instance, would you want your garage door remotely openable by hackers?

Someone was saying they were pushing things like the Android operating system used for smart phones and tablets to appliances. But these smart appliances may give hackers a potential vector into your home, by putting things online that weren't connected previously.
Some visitors to our apartment neighbors said they had a garage door they kept finding open when they returned home. The owner thought maybe truckers' CB's were triggering it until he caught the cat jumping up and hitting the button so he could go outside!
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:08 PM   #91
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You Brits certainly love your CCTV!!
"Smile, you're on Candid Camera "
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:59 PM   #92
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We have one of those. It's pretty good. We got that one as a swing-camera, to place wherever we may have a special need for a short period of time. It isn't really much good to view things more than eight or nine feet away, though. There really are quality differences between different IP cameras, even though they look similar to each other in the photos posted by the online stores.

I've attached two images. Unfortunately, they're not a perfect comparison. The $50 camera is, of course, the blurrier image. and the $180 camera is, of course, the sharper image, but the lighting isn't quite as good in the room where the $50 camera is (back-lit versus front-lit), and the object in the image is eleven feet away from the $50 camera instead of seven feet away from the $180 camera. However, the images still do a very good job communicating the difference in quality between the $50 camera and the $180 camera.
Seems that the blurry one is out of focus. I have a similar camera and there is a ring for focusing. Have you tried that?
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:02 PM   #93
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Seems that the blurry one is out of focus.
It's not. These cameras we're discussing in this thread are auto-focusing. The bluriness is a matter of lower resolution and a limitation of the cheaper optics.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #94
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until he caught the cat jumping up and hitting the button so he could go outside!
Did he redesign the button to make it cat proof?
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:46 PM   #95
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We leave ours on for these reasons:

1. WiFi Cameras: I have two Smarthome IP cameras; work well enough, can see them from my phone

2. Our cellphones automatically switch off of cell data to the wifi upon arrival at home, saves battery, faster throughput.

3. Located in the basement, too hard to reach to turn on/off daily. The basement, you say? Look at antenna radiating patterns...

Now, there are some things I won't use wifi for. Any computer hooked to a TV for video streaming gets a wired ethernet connection, because no matter how fast your wifi, you're at the mercy of every neighbor on your same channel for contention. We ditched DirectTV and now use over-the-air for local stations and Netflix/Hulu for most else. Also, we still have a couple of desktop computers, so I just ran the wires. You can cascade ethernet switches at least once so you don't have to home-run every wire all the way back to the switch by your DSL or cable box.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:28 PM   #96
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Hopefully everyone with a home wireless network has it secured with WPA2 network encryption. It is much better than WEP or WEP + Mac filtering.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:54 PM   #97
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Simple Internet-connected devices can end up in complex online crimes - latimes.com
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But now, a whole new generation of often mundane, household devices is being connected to the Internet — and hackers are having a field day.
Thanks to smaller, cheaper processors, speedier wireless connections and the explosion of smartphones and tablets, it's becoming easier and more affordable to digitally link just about any object — sports equipment, watches, light bulbs, washing machines, thermostats.
If you can think of it, someone has probably stuck a sensor on it and connected it to the Internet.
Like a PC, the devices have operating systems and processors. And when they are connected to the Internet, hackers can break in and seize control.
Manufacturers and consumers haven't taken the same security precautions as they would with a PC, however, enabling hackers to turn seemingly innocuous gadgets into drones that can be used to spread malicious spam or launch a massive cyberattack — disrupting services or shutting down entire networks.
Even more frightening for many security experts is the prospect that the hackers could cause physical harm to people by shutting off thermostats, cars or even medical devices.
and
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Consumers for the most part are helpless because they usually have no idea their gadgets have been commandeered.
A home wireless router can be configured to provide some rudimentary protections, but most users typically turn on the firewall or anti-virus software on their PCs, thinking that would be enough. And as such the wireless router becomes an unlocked door of sorts for hackers to gain access to the household devices.
excerpts... more details in the article
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:17 PM   #98
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Just thought I'd post an update after being away for 5 months in Australia and New Zealand. It worked as well as I hoped it would, probably better as I rarely had to access it over the internet.

I had set it to send emails when it detected motion and each day at sunrise and/or sunset it sent one or more emails with 3 photos attached as the changing light triggered it. With Gmail multiple emails show as a single entry each day so I was able to view the photos of the indoor/outdoor thermometer and a view of the room behind which assured me all was well, and it didn't clutter up the inbox. Our son was also captured on a few as he came over now and again to check on things.

Pretty neat.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:29 PM   #99
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Hopefully everyone with a home wireless network has it secured with WPA2 network encryption.
+10
I suspect I've mentioned this before on this board on related threads (I know I have on other boards/forums) but IMO, at this time, the minimum security with WIFI is to "use" WPA2 with a strong PSK. Without it you might as well put a physical CAT 5 cable in front of your house inviting folks that live nearby (or that drive by looking for open connections) to connect to your network and use "your" Internet connection, at a minimum. There's a lot more you can do if you feel you really need more WIFI security but to me this is an absolute minimum.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:36 PM   #100
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I think a lot more people, especially those apartments that I stay in when I'm out of town, should use WEP. When they don't, I have to knock on their door and ask them for the password. And they have said "yes" more times than not!
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