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Webcam Home Security - which webcam to use?

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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November 15, 2010 7:50:06 AM

Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to look at this.

I'm working on an academic project and I'd like to recruit the wisdom of this community :) .

We're building a scalable home security system using webcams. Simply put, we'll have several webcams connected to a local server that is accessible from anywhere, provided the user can be authenticated. You might set this up in your home and then when you're on vacation, connect to the server remotely to stream video from any of the webcams.

We're looking for a webcam to purchase, but we're not sure where to start. We know we want the following:

1) relatively high-resolution video storage - 720p or 1080p would be ideal
2) straightforward low-res streaming
4) telling the camera to "record" and "stop recording" through the command line

To clarify - the camera should support streaming 100% of the time, and should record data only upon command from the local server.

I've worked with cameras before that support commands through serial communications (send a specific bytestream through its COM port to trigger snapshot transmission), but I've yet to find an HD webcam that's as accessible as I'd like.

I'm thinking there might be some applications out there that take care of all of this, but I'd like to keep this as simple as I can - ie, I'd like to use command line controls for initiating HD content storage AND streaming, if possible.

What do you think?

January 14, 2011 4:08:25 PM

I have the same problem, but different. My wife and I live in the boonies and have started to have trouble with unlawful entry/theft and vandalism. It's gotten so bad, we cannot leave our home unattended.,

I looked into CCTV but it was way beyond our budget. Then I found an article about using webcams. I found that there were several programs available which would work on a home network and had motion detection.

I ended up buying CamUniversal from fro www.CrazyPixels.com The sales pitch for CanUniversal says, "CamUniversal
Version 4.0 for Windows ™ (98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7) Release 15. April 2010

"You can run an unlimited number of cameras with one instance of the program!
For each running instance you need an additional license."

Please note there is no qualification attached to ". . . unlimited number of cameras . . . ."

I scanned over the material and this looked like the way to go. It turns out the devil is what they did not say.
I had checked out several webcams and found one with the price/qualities I needed. After buying several of them, I found that only one webcam of a make/model would work per computer. I have three computers and plan on 6-7 webcams per.

I exchanged some wedcams and bought some new ones. That's when I learned about "bandwidth." I had bought powered hubs and USB over CAT 6 to reach the outlying areas.

I admit, this has been a learn as you go project but am under some pressure to get a system up.

Using powered hubs and USB ports on the computer, I am able to get fours cameras operational at best. :bounce:  Yet when I check in device manager, there seems to be plenty of bandwidth to go around.

Can anyone suggest a fix for this problem? Have I poured a large bucket of bucks into a project based upon in-complete data.

BTW: Tech support for www.crazypixels.com is by forum only. Where I have found that with other companies, forums are great resources, CrazyPizels is slow to respond and just ignores questions it doesn't want to answer.

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January 17, 2011 11:28:49 PM

I never tried to connect more than 4 unit in a hub, but maybe you should check how many devices your USB port can support? Otherwise, try using other USB port for other webcams.
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