Looking to keep tabs on your house while on vacation this summer? Or maybe you just feel like watching Whiskers sleep while you’re at work. Either way, there are plenty of options to get the job done without taking out a bank loan.
Those in need of a sophisticated system and who are willing to fork over a little cash can look into a system like the Thinx 4G LTE Camera. But for anyone not interested in investing in a higher end system can easily set up an inexpensive home monitoring system by using retired equipment most of us have lying around the house. If you have an old webcam or smart device that is no longer in use, consider repurposing it as a home monitoring system. Even without a spare device, there are inexpensive systems you can purchase.
Remember when webcams didn’t come built-in to every laptop, smartphone, and tablet you purchased? If you have an old school webcam lying around, the kind that had to be mounted to your desktop or laptop screen, you can set it up as a security camera. These have the added benefit of flexibility, and can be mounted anywhere near or around your computer. You can also buy a basic USB webcam like the Logitech C110 for about $20 to get the job done.
Eyespyfx features free software called MyWebcam broadcaster, which will let you use any USB or built in webcam as a security camera. The software allows users to broadcast a private or public feed, watch it remotely via a web browser or mobile device, and take time lapse photos at set intervals. If you already have a form of home security set up with other cameras, the software is compatible with USB & built-in webcams, IP or network cameras, and it can enable control of the Logitech & Creative pan and tilt USB webcams. Its available for PC or Mac, and the company also offers an app that users can download to an Android, Blackberry, Java mobile, or iOS device.
If you have an old smartphone, iPod touch, or tablet lying around, you can easily turn any one of them into a cheap home monitoring system, as long as it has a camera (sorry, original iPad owners).
With an app like Mobile Security Camera (FTP), users can create a cloud-based home monitoring system using an old smart device. Images and recorded videos are saved to a website, which the company claims is secure, and users can monitor their home live or view saved videos remotely. Since everything is saved to the cloud, any video evidence is safe from tampering or destruction. If you already have an IP or Network security, you can monitor those through the app as well. It costs $1.50 a month for basic usage, and the app itself is free for Android and iOS.
The Foscam FI8910W
If you are willing to pay a little more than the cost of an app, it can be easy enough to get a low cost system to monitor your home. Some highly rated models go for as little as $80, or less. Others are priced in the $200 range, but there are highly-rated options for any budget.
The Foscam FI8910W is currently available through Amazon for about $80 at the time of this writing. Its not a huge price to pay for a dedicated security camera that can pan, tilt, manage two-way audio, and has an IP connection. It is touted as ready to use out of the box for simple set up. Once connected to a wireless network, users configure the port-forwarding and the camera will operate on its own.
It features night vision and users can pan and tilt the camera remotely. Once configured, the Foscam can deliver notifications and snapshots via email or upload them to an FTP site. The Foscam streams a live video feed that you can watch from a web browser, smartphone, or tablet. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows 8, and Blackberry.