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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

You can also configure Alert Commander to send a pop-up alert to your desktop when motion is detected, but this only works if your computer is in the same building as the cameras.

The Logitech Alert 750n transmits the video stream over your home electrical wiring system. Because of that, the images didn't suffer the pixellation evident with the other cameras that used Wi-Fi.

Using Alert Commander, you can only play back stored MPEG-4 video clips on your personal computer. Stored videos appear as recording blocks along a visual timeline feature, so searching for a specific recording may involve clicking on and viewing the contents of multiple blocks within in a timeframe until you find the one you're looking for.

If you want to view recorded video from the Web portal or from your mobile apps you'll need to upgrade to Logitech Alert Web and Mobile Commander. The $79.95 annual subscription also includes an upgraded mobile app that lets you configure alerts and upload recorded videos to Dropbox or YouTube.

Bottom line
Logitech's approach combines good image quality with a level of stability and reliability that's hard to beat for remote monitoring. The 750n eliminates the complexity, potential interference and distance limitation/pixilation issues inherent in Wi-Fi cameras. The system is easy to set up and use, and requiring a wired connection doesn't limit your flexibility in most cases, since all but one competing Wi-Fi camera requires a DC adapter that needs to be connected to a nearby electrical outlet anyway.

Unless you need to place cameras in areas well away from any electrical outlets, or you need to record and playback video to the cloud and don't want to fork over $79 per year for that service option, the 750n is a good bet.

Netgear VueZone
Netgear's VueZone is the only cloud security camera reviewed here that doesn't require a power cord, but if you want to record video it does tether you to a service plan.

Netgear VueZone Video Monitoring System

The basic VueZone VZSM2200 package ($200) includes a base unit that plugs into your router by way of an Ethernet cable and a tiny, egg-shaped, battery-operated camera that transmits a 640 x 480-pixel video stream wirelessly to the base station. For $290, the VueZone VZSM2700 offers two cameras, while the VueZone VZSM2720 ($300) includes the two cameras and a 4-in.-high stand with a plastic enclosure for outdoor use.

Netgear also includes spherical magnetic wall mounts that let you easily attach, position and remove the cameras. While the camera supplied in the basic package doesn't support night vision, Netgear does offer a similar model (the VZCN2060 for $130) that does. VueZone cameras do not include microphones or speakers.

 

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