By Marc Saltzman
IT’S A SAD FACT of life that burglars make a pretty
good living off our homes and businesses.
Fortunately, a video surveillance system can help
reduce these intrusive and possibly expensive crimes.
These systems allow you to keep an eye on
your family, property and belongings—from anywhere life takes you. Visible security cameras in
a home or business can also act as a deterrent
to a would-be thief.
Popular features of cameras with
remote access include photo or video
snapshots whenever a sensor is triggered (such as when your kids walk
in the door after school), tapping
into a live video feed to see how
your renovations are coming
along or video-chatting, from
wherever you are, with someone who rang your doorbell
(even though they think
Best of all, most of these surveillance systems
are relatively affordable and don’t require a monthly
subscription. Here are some suggestions on choosing a DIY video surveillance system that best suits
your needs and budget.
• First, consider the area you’d like covered. If it’s just one location—such as your
front porch or a loading dock—you might
buy just one stand-alone camera instead of
a multi-camera system. With both options,
you’ll often have a choice of static cameras
that are fixed on a single area or cameras
that have pan, tilt and zoom options
(which cost a little more).
• Next, determine whether you’d like
to archive the video footage, just in case
you need to go back and watch it. Often
included in a multi-camera kit, a digital
video recorder, or DVR, can conveniently
store and play your surveillance video. The
more cameras you have and the higher the
resolution of the video, the more hard-drive
space it’ll take up, so consider a high-capacity
DVR in this case. Some cameras save onto SD
memory cards or online to a cloud account.
• Not all camera systems offer remote
viewing, where you can log on to your cameras
via an app on your smartphone, tablet or lap-
top, to see what’s happening in or outside your
home. If remote access is important to you, be sure
what you’re buying offers it. Also double-check to
see if your camera has motion and/or sound detec-
tion with push email notifications that contact you
in case of activity.
• Do you want outdoor cameras? Make sure
the box mentions this as they’ll need to be able
to withstand varying temperatures and climate conditions.
What about cameras with good night
vision? These cameras can capture detail
in dark environments. Also, wireless
cameras are convenient so you don’t
have to fish cables through your
walls, but be aware that you’ll still
need to have them plugged into an
AC outlet for power.
• Other helpful features to
look for in a camera system
include high-definition video
Some video cameras sold as “Wi-Fi baby monitors” have an integrated temperature sensor and
two-way audio. These typically don’t have extensive recording capabilities.
• These DIY camera systems help you keep an
eye on your home, but most are not tied to an alarm
company if an intrusion is detected. For that, you’ll
still need a home alarm service, which comes with a
monthly monitoring fee.
If you’re not technically inclined to set up one
of these camera systems, enlist a savvy friend or
relative to help you, or consider hiring a trusted
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Costco features a variety of home and business
surveillance systems in the warehouses and online
Video surveillance systems can
help protect homes and businesses
fi t y
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