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Build A Web-Based Video Security System

Introduction

Ever wanted to watch your kids play while you’re working or monitor your home while you’re away? Getting a professionally installed video surveillance system is a great way to keep an eye on things from afar, but even a basic set up with a few cameras can run several thousand dollars.

The good news is that you can create and set up your own Web-based surveillance system in a couple of hours. In addition to the cameras and software, you’ll need a PC and a home network that’s connected to the Internet in order to remotely observe your home. All told, expect the system to cost less than $800 for a three-camera set up.

Once it is set up, you can catch your kids jumping on the living room couch while you’re working in the kitchen or watch your dog sleeping in his favorite corner. There are serious security benefits to such a system as well, because a video-security system can show that your home is safe and secure while you’re not around. Night and day, the cameras take in what’s going on, record any action, and will alert you when something’s amiss.

Before you start, check with your insurance agent to see if you can get a discount on your home-owners policy for adding a surveillance system. It can potentially cut your premiums by 10%.

Follow along with these step-by-step instructions as I set up three Logitech WiLife cameras in my house. For less than $800, this video-security system won’t break the bank and can give you a little peace of mind.

  • Zonemider FTW
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  • Spanky Deluxe
    While all this is certainly useful and true, there are other ways in which you can do it on more of a budget. You might also want to factor in the cost of a dedicated PC for this too since that software will probably use up a fair chunk of CPU cycles.

    My security system is far more budget but nevertheless gets the job done. I've got a cheap old 17" Intel iMac with a broken screen hidden away in the garage. I then have a 10m USB extension cable (with a signal booster) going across the garage to a Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro that's beet waterproofed and has been installed in my front porch. I then run Periscope (http://www.freeverse.com/apps/app/?id=7002) on the iMac and have set it set up to take a camera shot every time movement is detected and save it to disk. You can set it to email you if movement is detected if you like or to ftp the shots up to a server but an outside camera detects soooo much movement that you'd quickly fill your inbox.

    As an added security measure, when I go away, I run Periscope on my desktop machine as well although this time its set up to email me if movement is detected (which is fine, since its indoors).

    This set up cost me $25 for the Periscope software per machine and about $100 for the outside webcam (although they're much cheaper in the states). The usb extension cable was about $15. My desktop machine already had a webcam so I didn't need anything there and the garage machine cost me $170.

    So all in all, my setup cost a little over $300. I plan on adding an extra webcam to the back of the house via another USB extension cable or via a USB over CAT5 adapter, connected to the garage machine, which would cost me roughly an added $140.

    I can also stream/record the video from the webcams by splitting the signals with CamTwist and by using QuickTime Broadcaster / YouStream. The novelty of that wore off pretty fast though and I choose to save the CPU time for other more useful things.

    Of course, I'm sure there are similar camera motion monitoring software packages out there for Windows and Linux so you could easily build a cheap dual core garage computer for what I paid for my one and then the other components would cost roughly the same.
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  • This is all too much effort for the results - check out the lowest price security DVRs, I saw a four camera input for $160 - spend the money on better cameras - http://www.gadspot.com/product_info.php?products_id=202
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  • ukcctvsystems
    There is some really great software here and could be very useful, need to keep our eyes out!
    http://www.ukcctvsystems.co.uk/
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