The DIY home security market is one that has seen massive growth over the last few years, mainly because of the bandwidth capabilities of modern networks and the development of Cloud technology. Wi-Fi connectivity has taken away the need for an installer to fit cabling and the use of the Cloud is popular because it does not involve the fitting of an on-site recording device.
Of course professional CCTV systems are no stranger to wireless operation or Cloud technology, however for the homeowner who wants to do the job themselves these two features have logical attraction.
Improvements in IP camera technology and the reduction in pricing have led to the introduction of many boxed complete systems to the market all with their own claims of USPs. As a result the idea of purchasing a one-camera, all inclusive, surveillance solution is one that has appeal to those not wanting to go for a more ‘professional’ installation. So what do people get for their money? We thought it would be interesting to look at one such system and see how it performs.
The unit we are reviewing is the HomeMonitor Indoor HD Wi-Fi camera from Y-Cam, a unit that boasts 720p image clarity, motion detection, remote access and alerts. The USP for the system appears to be that each unit comes with seven-days of free cloud storage included in the initial price of around £135 with no subscription fees.
There are a number of camera options in the range:
- Indoor VGA – Indoor Wi-Fi Security camera with VGA video
- Indoor HD – Indoor Wi-Fi Security camera with HD video
- Outdoor HD Pro – Outdoor Wi-Fi Security camera with HD video
All HomeMonitor cameras have the option of upgrading the Cloud storage to ‘Plus’ allowing 30-days of recording while more cameras can be added to an account for larger applications.
The system doesn’t constantly use bandwidth– it only streams when it needs to, only transmitting data when motion is detected or when the camera is being watched live. With no activity or access to the camera, it uses 40 MB of data per month. The HD Pro option uses 85MB per month under the same conditions.
Users can download important clips before they expire by clicking the ‘Download clip’ button at the top of video player in their archive. These downloads are in .mp4 format using the H.264 codec.
The camera can be installed using Wi-Fi or a network cable via the router. Set-up instructions are provided in a Quick Start Guide with only four steps to complete.
Firstly the camera is connected to the router using a network cable and to the power with the supplied unit. Once this is done you connect to the HomeMonitor website which we did using an Android mobile phone. From the homepage of the site click on ‘My Cam’ and then follow the account set-up routine.
That is essentially the set-up procedure apart from the options such as setting the zones for motion detection, choosing to receive email alerts and times of detection.
To find out how the camera performed see the December edition of PSI magazine.