Security Camera to watch house from work

Hi. I would like to purchase a security camera that would allow me to watch my home from my work office that I commute to. I would want the following:

  1. Email me if motion is detected (i.e. if burglar breaks in)
  2. Allow me to see my home in a camera shot when I wish

Where is this technology today and what are my options? Do I need the camera hooked up to a home computer? I would prefer one that interacts directly with internet modem so I do not need it hooked up to a home computer. I would like the price not to be more than $200. Would I need a subscription service to email me pictures? Do you have a system that you already use that you are happy with? Has anybody every nailed a burglar in action?

Thank you very much.

Linksys makes a wireless webcam that I think will do what you want. It has a web server that you can use to view the camera from any web browser, and it can e-mail you if it detects motion.

I have absolutely no experience at all with this camera and I can’t say how it works, but a friend of mine was looking into buying one.

There are probably several others out there that can do the job as well.

Something like this Web Enabled Security Camera System?

I don’t know if it can email on motion detection, but it is a pretty comprehensive package for a bit of cash. I’ve got an older, non-web version, just for watching my yard/driveway/dock at home, and it does alert on masked out motion (people, large dogs, etc) but ignores the non-masked spots like the road.

I hooked up a $20 Logitech webcam with this software: Dorgem. The configuration of the software is a bit obtuse (but at least it’s all GUI, not config files) but I got both JPG captures and real-time Internet connectivity working. I don’t think this software will do exactly what the OP wants though, because I didn’t see a way for it to send an e-mail, and it will detect any sort of motion, there is no sensitivity setting.

I had it set up a week or so ago pointing down from a 2nd floor window to my front yard, checking every 3 seconds for motion. It was neat to watch cars drive by, birds fly around, and me drive down the driveway. The coolest thing was watching the sunlight and shadows progress across the snowy yard. It captured a hundred or more images a day though, but indoors there should be a lot less (or no) activity.

The ones I’ve seen don’t use a motion detector per se but the software compares any changes in the video feed and that is how motion is detected. The nice thing about this is that the screen was gridded and you could choose which grids to use as detectors. That way you could eliminate lower grids for pets. Unfortunately I don’t know what the system was so I’m posting this as background information for additional research.

I recommend a web cam with a built in web server and wireless.

I bought two “ABS Megacam4220” cameras from NewEgg for $229 each.
They had remote pan and tilt and a microphone to listen, bundled software that could do motion detection or logging. The cameras contained their own webservers so no connection to a computer was needed. It also had a night-vision mode you could turn on, where it would shine infared LED’s.

I did not use the motion detection feature, as I had the cameras to allow some remote monitoring of an elderly relative (with their permission). The little “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” pendant was not able to do its job because it lacked the magical ability to fly across the room to find the fallen elderly person, so we went to cameras.

I set up my router to log its IP to a free ( service so I could discover the IP of the camera if it changed. You also need to hardcode a local IP for the camera and open a port and define a route on your router so that you can connect to it from the internet.

If you can do without the wireless ABS has a pan/tilt model that is hardwired for $179. If you can do without the pan/tilt as well, that gets things down to $129 or so.

Looks like JDC has what you need.

Almost all security product companies are in the process of going to full-IP camera systems. They include software that is capable of motion detection, motion tracking, motion activation(will begin recording when motion is detected), all sorts of advanced features, and all very easy to use. You can check in on it and monitor from any computer; once set up, it’s as easy as checking your email. Cost for this type of system will almost assuredly exceed the $200 budget you mention, more in the range of double to triple that or more. Many advanced locksmith shops should be able to give you a quote.

Can you go into this a little further? If the camera is connected to a router (which is always on) then what steps are you going through? It sounds like you’re setting up a web page that only you can access. I would like to be able to do this with my cell phone.

You want to watch an IP camera from your phone?

If the camera can be viewed on the internet then cell phone/internet access is a natural extension.

There’s a good FAQ about IP cameras here:

Once the camera is set up, viewing from your phone should be as simple as viewing any webpage. However, it’s not necessarily a secured webpage, and not necessarily accessible only to you.

There are a lot of iPhone apps to view security cameras so I would imagine it’s quite common to view them on a phone.

I’ve been thinking about doing this recently and have seen a lot of free motion detection software. I was only looking for Linux programs, but I would think there have to be a few windows/Mac programs as well. That and a webcam seems like a pretty cheap way to go.

If you’re looking for something simple like watching your foyer during the day you can do something simple like an Axis 207 or if you want wireless you can do an Axis 207W. Hell, megapixel with the Axis 207MW.

If you know what you’re doing you can even open up a port in your firewall and view the camera directly on a smart phone as long as it can handle Java (or ActiveX - do any phones do that?).

You can even set a schedule so that it will only email you on motion between the hours of X and Y.


Anything worth anything will be password protected. Spend on a decent camera and you’re looking at even https.