Home security cameras are seen by some as the “silver bullet” that makes their home invincible to break-ins and burglaries. This is decidedly untrue. However, with a properly installed and configured security system that includes video surveillance, video surveillance can help law enforcement catch criminals.
The Evolution of Home Security Cameras
Back in the day, I had a friend whose dad had a “security camera.” This involved setting up a regular camcorder in front of their bay windows, with only the lens poking through the curtain. With this, he managed to catch people dealing drugs on his lawn, could take note of anyone trying to look in through the windows at night, and the footage even helped police who were looking for someone that happened by on the street.
Still, putting in a video tape and going through hours of surveillance footage isn’t exactly easy to do. These days, home security cameras are capable of more and are also more convenient. They often tie right into your home alarm systems, as well as provide clear footage and the convenience of viewing it any time you want — even when you aren’t at home.
Wireless security cameras, when indoors, can have a range between 100 and 150 feet from their controller/receiver. Outside, with the right equipment, that range extends from 250 to 450 feet. Of course, wireless range factors always depend on how clear the line of sight is, building materials used around it, and any other objects that might be in the way.
Different Features of Home Security Cameras
The variety of home security cameras is large. There are still wired cameras, to be certain, but wireless security cameras are easily in the lead in terms of ease of installation and popularity. They vary by size, shape, color, inconspicuousness, motion capabilities, and more. There are even fake cameras to give potential perpetrators the illusion they are being watched.
Bullet cameras are cylindrical and long and are normally mounted to a wall. Dome cameras can be ceiling mounted, and are distinguishable as shiny glass bubbles. Higher end security systems might even have hidden cameras to tuck away in your clock, vase, or stuffed animal in order to keep an eye on visitors or babysitters.
As for individual features, does High Definition Imaging sound good to anyone? What’s the point of a camera catching someone in the act of something if you can’t make out who it is? Security cameras these days have the ability of capturing video up to 1280×800 pixels these days, which is easily HD quality. No more grainy feeds.
Another feature is the mobility of your camera. Cheaper models will come as a fixed point, meaning whatever direction you set them in will be the only direction in which you get a feed. Pan-and-tilt cameras, on the other hand, have the capability to move to capture multiple angles.
Other features include night vision, as well as motion sensors. Both are particularly helpful for outdoor cameras.
Who Has the Best Cameras?
All the top security companies have pretty good reviews. However, FrontPoint Security takes the lead on security camera reviews. Their packages come with your choice of how many cameras needed, and 500 GB of storage for the footage shot. Their resolution is 1280×800 — which certainly is not bad for a home security system — and they have infrared detection, a mobile app, and the cameras are motion activated, which means they aren’t normally filming constantly.
As for the cameras themselves, every installer/integrator company utilizes a different brand. FrontPoint Security uses GE for their equipment manufacturing, and they seem to be a popular choice, given that four of the top 10 home security companies use them.
There are multiple options when it comes to home security camera systems. If you’re a do-it-yourself sort of guy or gal, then you might look into installing your own security system and network. For those who want someone else to worry about installation and monitoring, home security companies — like FrontPoint Security will be happy to perform the installation for you.
FrontPoint Security in particular has three basic monthly plans ranging from $34.99 to $49.99 a month. Their highest end plan includes wireless video, remote access and control, cellular access, and lots more. Their installation cost undoubtedly depends on the number of cameras you install.
How do other companies stack up? XFINITY Home usually runs specials on their installation, and is currently advertising a $199 installation deal. The information on their website is pretty sparse, but this is likely because XFINITY’s security service is relatively new. Still, the advertised monthly rate is $39.95 a month.
SafeMart, another highly rated company, doesn’t seem to advertise any basic prices, but rather customizes your security system according to your needs rather than being a “one-size-fits-all” system.
Pinnacle Security is another one. They, too, avoid advertising many prices on their site, but they do list which packages include cameras. Their install fees are on the “ouch” side. On their “Frequent Traveler Package,” the fee runs around $599.
Overall, home security cameras bring about a peace of mind, whether you’re asleep in bed at night, or across the country on vacation. Knowing you have access to your home even when you aren’t there is highly comforting. Better yet, even the top companies are competitive with their prices. Once you get past the initial cringe-factor of some of their initial installation costs, the monthly price is definitely worth it.
Photo Credit: Josh Koonce