Learn how to set up a Close Circuit Television (CCTV) or a Network IP camera system for your home
The recent terror attack on Mumbai has left people scared. So, it's time for us to pull up our sleeves and secure our homes now.
We're going to talk about how to set up a Close Circuit Television (CCTV) or a Network IP camera system for your home. Bear in mind that a large number of high-end video cameras and surveillance solutions are available in the market. Hence, it's difficult to chart out a universal solution.
We've put forward a step-by-step tutorial for setting up a CCTV or a Network IP camera surveillance system for your home.
Step 1: Choose Your Camera
Out of the several products available in the market, one can choose webcams, CCTV cams, or Network IP cameras. A variety of webcams are available in the market, and you can choose whichever serves you the best. Remember, cheaper webcams don't provide you with good video output or have the best functions.
Some webcams available in the Indian market include Logitech, Microsoft, Genius, Intex, iBall, and many others.
CCTVs are often used in offices and shops to monitor activities of visitors as well as the staff. Usually, a CCTV kit consists of a CCTV camera, camera management software, and a CCTV monitor.
Though, the CCTV systems with analog systems, coaxial cable, and video tape recorders look outdated, they are used even today. Buying this package can really drill a hole in an average Joe's pocket.
Instead of buying a costly CCTV security system, one can buy a Network IP camera and build a cost-effective option. Opt for video cameras with USB support function so that they can be hooked to a computer easily.
If you wish to set up a proper security solution, then the Network IP camera fits your bill. With a Network IP camera you can view live full motion video on an Internet browser. This means you can view the video stream externally from any location across the world. So, the traditional CCTV security can be made live when used with IP (Internet Protocol) technology.
Today, cams with motion sensors are also available, which start recording or start rotating based on the activity in its visual range. Go for a good Network IP camera or a high quality webcam (if you've a limited budget), and make sure it's compact enough to be nearly invisible!
Step 2: Surveillance Management Software Since, the video camera will be hooked to a PC, enough storage (320GB or more), a fast processor, and a RAM is crucial for smooth functioning. Buying costly software is advised only when,
(a) you've enough knowledge and money to go for them, and
(b) they can be used with cheaper or alternative options.
In case you have a limited budget, go for surveillance software that has TCP/IP transmission support. Buy Network IP cameras for they can easily connect to any network, whether wired or wireless. In short, a good webcam and a IP camera management software that offers video streaming over the web is what you need.
Essentially, a surveillance management software with video-audio compression support with multiple profiles is the ideal choice. Streaming a heavy video file over the web can increase your Internet usage and the associated bill.
We narrowed our search down to the WebcamXP for its user-friendly features. The private version costs Rs. 1880 and the professional version costs about Rs. 3525. For more details check here. The major hiccup in using IP cameras is that a PC requires a fairly decent Internet connection.
WebcamXP Before the name misleads you, WebcamXP also works smoothly on Windows Vista as well. The best part of this software is that it supports viewing source even on Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 powered smartphones and PDAs. Also, by installing IP camera software, you'll be able to connect all conventional cameras, to get JPEG or MJPEG streams compatible with Skype, Windows Media Encoder, or the MSN Messenger. Here's a list of IP cameras supported by the WebcamXP software.
Installing WebcamXP is child's play with a mere 3.5MB installation file, download from here.
WebcamXP has neatly laid out feature menus without any complex submenus.
By default, the software takes up your system IP and is ready for video broadcast over the web, like ours took http://192.168.X.XX:8080/ since we've been assigned internal IPs. If you wish to set up the broadcast channel manually, then go the 'Web/Broadcast' tab and click on 'Disable' if the Internal Web Server is running. Enter the relevant IP address and the web server port. You can also use the 'port forwarding' technique if the port is blocked at the router or firewall.
Check the 'Limit Bandwidth' box to set a specified limit since streaming video over the web requires a fatter pipe. Note that using lower bandwidth limits (10kb/s) will result in extremely slow video streams. Alternatively, enabling FTP/FTPS upload will turn the computer into a personal FTP server.
For restricting outsider access to your HTTP video stream, go to 'Access Restriction' and set up username-password as well as other parameters if required. One can also set IP filters to restrict a certain range of IPs from accessing the video stream online.
Another interesting part of this software is that one can set up email/alerts. If you've your own domain, then it would be an extra step to set up email/alerts for this software. You can use any email service, like that of Gmail or Yahoo, which offers SMTP/POP3 support. Like many other digital video recording programs, WebcamXP can also be scheduled to perform video recording between specified time frames. A feature for sending SMS alerts exists; however, it didn't work for us since it is dependent on an online service - textU.org.
The most impressive and important part of this software is that it allows setting up video and audio compression codecs. This is essential since it makes video streaming on the browser easier to handle. Additionally, Windows Media Player 9 profiles can be used for streaming videos over the LAN or Internet.
Lastly, you can use install WebcamXP Mobile client on Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 devices to access the source.
Other Solutions In case you don't want to go through the hassle of buying webcams, CCTVs, cam management software, etc., many companies offer home security solutions. A number of companies offer pre-tested solutions like motion sensors, alarms, etc. devised for home security.
If you're feeling lazy or stingy, you can just buy a dog or hire a watchman. However, hiring a watchman or getting a dog might add up to your annual security expenditure.
Hence, we'd suggest buying a CCTV or Network IP camera. Get the WebcamXP software and set up a CCTV-like surveillance system for your security.