Could somebody pls take a moment to explain live streaming webcams to me?

I looked at some webcam options on Amazon to get a feel for price range, but all of the models I saw recorded the feed for later playback. That’s not what I need. One of my cats is old and sick, and it occurred to me that I could set a webcam on a live feed of his usual sleeping spot to check on him during the day. Obviously once I’m back home I can see him in al time and wouldn’t need a playback of the past.

Please explain like I’m your grandmother fussing with AOL dial up CDs. What would I need to do to set up a live streaming video feed that I could check at work without running into corporate firewall issues? (The Photobucket site is blocked, for ex. but the Bald Eagle cam is not. Go figure.)

Not to be unkind, but what is the webcam going to show you? He’s either away and possibly dead. Or he’s asleep and possibly dead.

You don’t think a sleeping cat can ever be distinguished from a dead one via video? You may well be able to see breathing movements and twitches while he’s asleep, so you can tell he’s not dead. Also, he may be be in his sleeping spot when he’s only resting. If he’s resting in his sleeping spot, you may be able to see the cat is in distress and in need of attention. While it may not be possible to tell a dead cat isn’t just sleeping, that’s only one of a range of possibilities.

All webcams can handle live streaming. It’s the software that matters. I’ve never done it before, but I found this free livestreaming software which can publish to all the popular livestreaming websites and found out that provides streaming for free, without ads. Whether that will be available at work, I don’t know. You might have to set up your own website, which would be more complicated.

So the plan is to leave a computer running at home and have a webcam pointed to its usual sleeping place? I assume then you have another device(s) that you intend to view the webcam on when you’re not home?

In any case it would be pretty simple to set up a tinychat room that only you know the password to. Leave it running when you leave, then use another computer to access the chatroom. Livestream is another option. Any webcam will function with these services.
If you have a smartphone, you could probably even download an app that would let you do this (but I get the impression that would be too technical?)

You can get many IP (internet protocol) webcams that provide the functionality you want. These webcams connect to your home network via ethernet or wifi. Search on Amazon for “internet webcam”. All of these webcams can be accessed directly from a web browser in the local network. Some also allow you to stream images to an external website provided by the manufacturer.

This makes getting to the camera from your workplace the somewhat trickier bit.

If you want to access the camera directly, you need to get several things. First, you need your internet routable IP address - this is the internet side of your modem/router. A site like will tell you. This IP address can change over time, so you need to be able to find it when you want to access it. A site like can (for a small fee) be used to provide domain name access to your home ip address - a small utility on your home computer checks and updates the ip address on a regular basis. Then you have to configure your router/modem to allow some sort of access through to your camera - this is called a pinhole or port forward and is not particularly easy to achieve. Some cameras and routers support a system that does this automatically called UPnP. I personally think UPnP is a massive security risk which has allowed thousands of internet connected devices to be hacked through home routers, but it does make things easy. The alternative is some very technical trickery involving static ip addresses and the management system of your router/modem. If you do rely on UPnP compatible gear, you must change the passwords from the default, or you may find hackers watching your cat too, hoping for a glimpse of something more interesting.

The easier alternative is to get a web camera that can automatically stream the images to a manufacturer website. You register on the site and connect your webcam to your account. You can then log into that website from your corporate network and view the stream. However, the website may be on the firewall blacklist. That would be a problem. All the same warnings apply as above - use a strong password and change the default password on the camera. In some cases these websites have not been very secure, and the webcam streams have been hacked.

Once again, I must reiterate - you must change the default security on the camera before using it - there are many cases of people having their internet webcams hacked by strangers because they did not change the password.

Good luck.

Is it really going to matter to purplehorseshoe if some hacker gets to see video of their sleeping cat?

Anyway, teh solution suggested by Fake Tales of San Francisco seems to be by far the simplest and most practical.

Depends. Is the cat alive or dead?

Indeterminate until a webcam is set up so that someone can make the observation.

Am I missing something here? Couldn’t the OP just install Skype on both his home and work computers and set up two separate Skype accounts? Then he would just need to aim the webcam at the cat’s bed, call the work account and have a kindly co-worker answer the call.

In fact, double-checking, I see Skype has an “answer automatically” feature that can be turned on, so that last step wouldn’t even be necessary. If you had it invoked on both ends, the OP could make the call to his home computer from work, or vice-versa.

Just wanted to thank OP for starting this thread. I was going to start a similar one. I need a webcam pointed at my garage door so I can stop getting within 5 minutes of my office and then having to turn around and go home to make sure the garage door is shut.

Been there, done that back in the day. :smack:

What does it mean to have a webcam hacked? What can the hacker do?
I’m guessing that maybe he could broadcast a fake video on your website or something, but other than pulling off a silly prank, can he do any actual damage?

Turn the webcam on when you don’t want it on, to start with.

Hack a baby monitor and swear at a 2 year old girl

Sell your webcam to other people

I was assuming that he had to access the webcam via his web browser due to the firewall. But, yes, that would work if he can use Skype at work.

So we’ve had Shrodinger jokes, but nothing about using live streaming to look at pussy?
Sometimes I barely recognize the straight dope…

A friend of mine set up a webcam using a spare iPhone. His dog had separation anxiety, and they wanted to watch how she reacted when they left the house.
He left it set up so he could start a Facetime session while he was at the office.

I think this requires that you have two Apple devices, though.

FYI, the OP is a she.

I have a Logitech camera a friend gave me as a gift (he has six of them set up to monitor his place). It took ten minutes to mount, set up the program, etc. another few minutes to download/install apps on my phone and tablet.

I can now watch my dogs nap wherever I go. It can also be set up to grab a motion-detected picture and email it to me, so I can see when one of them rolled over.

You guys lead such exciting lives…:slight_smile:

I was thinking how it was a pity the OP hadn’t used Schrodinger for her name.

Again, not the OP, but in similar situation needing (“Please explain like I’m your grandmother fussing with AOL dial up CDs.”) version.

Which camera, which program, and which apps? Did the program come with the camera?

I know there are a million cameras/programs/apps out there. That’s kind of the problem.