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Keep watch: 5 cloud security cameras for your home

Robert L. Mitchell | June 26, 2013
If you want to make sure nobody's making off with your valuables — or that your dog isn't chewing up the furniture — try one of these cloud-based cameras

Installation involves installing supplied batteries in the cameras, cabling the base station to your router, syncing the cameras with the base station by pressing a button on the base unit, and then registering on the VueZone Web portal. I had everything up and running in about 10 minutes. VueZone is the only product in this roundup that requires that you enter your telephone number and address before you can start using the product.

Portal service
The free MyVueZone portal service lets you view live video streams. It supports two cameras and allows for motion-based alerting, as do the free apps for Android, iPhone and iPad.

The portal includes Cameras, Library and Setup tabs. The first displays the live camera image and includes a Wi-Fi signal strength meter and battery level indicator for the selected camera. The Cameras tab also includes control buttons for recording video or snapshots to the cloud (which requires the optional subscription service), digital zoom, brightness and time-lapse mode that generates still images at a relatively crisp 1600 x 1200 pixels. You can also schedule a recording, engage motion detection or change the video mode from the Setup tab.

Setting up motion detection alerts is fairly easy: You enter an email address and choose to record a video or snapshot, select the length for video (from 10 to 90 seconds), adjust motion sensitivity and you're done. The email links back to a Shared Media Viewer on the Web that does not require logging into the MyVueZone portal.

The portal's image library lets you sort video clips and still images, view the thumbnails in a list or grid format, download a video, email a link to friends or upload it directly to YouTube or Flickr.

The MyVueZone portal allows for basic viewing of video streams. An optional subscription service adds a Library feature with thumbnails and the ability to sort video clips.

For $4.99 per month, Netgear's Premier service adds video recording, the aforementioned library feature with 250MB of cloud storage, the ability to connect up to five cameras and motion-activated alerts. The Elite service ($9.99/mo.) supports up to 15 cameras in three locations and doubles the storage space. (The basic package includes a 30-day free trial to the Premier service.)

While you can view only one video stream at a time using the free portal, the VueZone mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android can view up to 15 live feeds, which appear in a scrolling list. The mobile apps offer the same controls as the portal, and have an option to restart the base station if the connection is lost — a useful feature given how sketchy Wi-Fi connections can be.

 

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