With all the recent threads about people setting off motion sensors, or being inside the back yard and dogs dying ect. I thought I would throw this out there. There have been mention of putting up game cameras ect. to take pictures of possible intruders or to see what is happening when you are not at home. Those are good ideas, however you could quickly spend quite a bit of money and time before it was all done.
This past year we had some stuff come up missing from our garage. It was little stuff really but it was still my stuff. Full gas cans, tackle boxes of gun cleaning gear, son's BB gun ect. Our garage is left open when we are home at times, but never when we are not home. Anyway I got fed up with it and decided that I was going to install video systems at both the office and the home.
One of our clients does video security systems, mostly for schools and large businesses. I asked one of the partners when he in about how much it would be for a dvr system from them. He said roughly 4k for a 4 camera system installed and programed ect. Ok, I am a tightwad and wasn't going to spend 8k for systems at the house and office, so I mentioned to him that I had found some cheap ones online that were a few hundred bucks and were supposed to be able to be programed for remote monitoring and such even through smart phones. He commented to let him know how it works out when I got it installed. I am sure that their systems are better than what I got, but hey, I was willing to risk 500 bucks on a couple of systems.
After doing some research I decided to get a couple of Q see systems purchased through Amazon. 4 camera system with a 500 gig dvr were 250 each. The installation was pretty straight forward since they are wired systems. Some time in the attic and drilling through the brick wall into the house behind the tv to install some conduit and a junction box was the toughest part. Really nothing that anyone on the forum who can disassemble their guns and get them back together isn't capable of doing. The office already had an entry point for the wiring into the building which took just a little modification to work through.
I installed the one at the house first. They allow for several video outputs, so I hooked the pc connection to the tv in the den since the dvr is located in the tv stand with the wireless router ect. and ran the video out connection back to our bedroom. This allows me to simply switch the input on either tv and view all 4 cameras at one time. If you had a 8 camera system it would show all 8 at one time I believe. The only downside is that in order zoom in on one particular camera or such you have to be at the dvr in order to work the mouse. Not really an issue with only 4 cameras.
I am recording 24/7 on all cameras. The motion detection function is too sensitive on these systems so I opted not to use it. With the motion detection I ended up with lots of 20 and 30 second videos and it was impossble to try to view what was going on. With it set to 24/7 recording I can pick the time I want to view by the hour and watch all 4 cameras. It has 4 speed settings so that you can watch an hours worth of video on all cameras in about 3 minutes or so at the fastest speed. You can also slow down the video to 1/16th speed as well. With it set to 24/7 recording at 4 frames per second and 75% quality resolution I can record for about 10 weeks straight before it records over the oldest date. I chose to set both systems up the same.
Programing the DVR to be able to monitor it remotely wasn't that difficult. I think this is what the partner was referring to when he said to let him know how it works. However I have been building my own computers and doing my own networking ect. for nearly 20 years, so I might have an advantage over folks who are unfamiliar with routing ports ect. Just remember if you have two routers on the network to set one to DMZ so you don't get both routers trying to assign IP addresses. Yes I woke up at 6 am one night after nearly going crazy trying to get the house stuff to work right. It was an "oh what an idiot moment" when I realized it.
The actual software for remote viewing on a computer is simple to install and use. The DMSS pro software is available for android and iphone mobile devices and works great. It allows for viewing up to 4 cameras at a time from multiple dvr locations. I have both systems set up to email my cell phone if they loose signal from any of the cameras. It will take pictures from the remaining cameras and send the pictures in the email. The cameras that come with the setup all have IR, but some lighting makes a huge difference in the quality at night.
Here are some of the snapshots from the system when viewed remotely. The last picture is a single frame from the video when two guys tried to remove a camera off the office and make a half hearted attempt to get into it. He was jumping up and trying to knock the camera down in this picture.
So for those who have had issues around their home and want a somewhat inexpensive option to monitor what is going on outside when you are inside, or away from your home this might be an option for you. For 250 bucks it has given me some piece of mind, along with the alarm systems, and motion detectors.