So many home security camera ads and reviews focus on the core attributes and behaviors, it's easy for everyone to overlook or under-discuss two things that I think are critical.
PC Web View
By far one of the most overlooked features is the ability to view camera footage on a desktop or laptop PC using a common web browser. Entire ad pitches and product descriptions for the various systems available can fail to mention that viewing camera footage is only available using a mobile app.
Blink camera viewed on desktop PC using Bluestacks because Blink lacks a web interface.
Lack of a website bothers users who demand a desktop-oriented organizational approach to camera review and manipulation. It's sort of a techno-insult to high end users to be pitched a system that has no 'real web' component because it assumes they are pedestrian about their internet use. Suburban moms and people who skipped the WWW era of the 90s and 2000s may be content doing everything important on their smartphones because that's the 'web' to them. But to seasoned techies it feels naked and suffocating to interact with something as important as a home security camera system exclusively through a (cough) 'phone app'.
Arlo cameras include both a web interface and a mobile app.
The forums will tell people that if they really want a system like Blink XT which doesn't include a web interface, for example, that they should run an emulator like Bluestacks on their computer. And honestly, it's not a bad workaround. But it's extra overhead for something that should be considered a fundamental component to any web based security camera in the first place. Plus, an emulator like Bluestacks is not something that cubicle workers are likely allowed to install. If you're an office worker who thought you might dedicate a browser tab to pop in on your driveway camera between preparing slide decks and spreadsheet reports, forget it. You'll need to reach for your phone.
Ability to Work Through Glass Windows
Camera systems use two primary methods for detecting motion. The first is through infrared (or PIR) which relies on the subtle detection of heat. The second relies on a comparison of overall image differences between a frame sample, which is sometimes referred to as 'pixel-based motion detection'. Chances are that the ad copy for a particular camera only tells people that it has motion detection capabilities, but doesn't say which of these underlying technologies it uses.
That matters big for some people's idea of how they'll deploy a web camera.
If you plan to aim your camera through a window you need the latter. Infrared cameras cannot detect heat or throw radar through a glass partition of any sort.
Aiming a security camera through a window makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. First, because it means that a camera designed for indoor use can afford outdoor (doorway, driveway) protection. By being stationed indoors it avoids all weather impact for example. And, there is a degree of security for some users knowing that a property trespasser or general vagabond can't just reach out and take or damage the camera in one swipe.
The 'camera looking out the window' scheme is not ideal for just as many reasons perhaps (snow accumulating on the outside windowsill can block a camera lens, as one example while the visual distortion introduced by a screen, might be another), but it's the 'workable idea' for a lot of people considering setting up a camera. It's crucial to sort the question out before you buy.
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