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We’re not focused on full security systems with alarms and other features here — just cameras so you can keep an eye on your place with live streaming and video recordings.Many manufacturers are trying to make this even easier, offering plug-and-play solutions linked to web services and smartphone apps.Webcams tend to be cheaper than IP cameras, although they may lack important features like night vision for recording what happens when it’s completely dark.Unlike an IP camera, the webcam must be connected directly to the computer via USB, while the IP camera can be elsewhere in the house and connect over Wi-Fi.Some IP cameras even have built-in Micro SD card slots so they can record directly to that physical media — they may even have built-in servers so you can access the recording remotely.If you’re creating your own server, you’ll need to pick some IP camera software and set it up yourself.
RELATED: Some IP cameras require a network video recorder to record to, while others can record their videos directly to a NAS (network-attached storage) device or a PC you’ve set up to function as a server.Plug it in, link it to an account, and then you can access it from the web or a smartphone as well as setting up automatic recording.Keeping those recordings will cost you at least a month, though.Storing the recordings “in the cloud” on the service’s own server does have one advantage — if someone breaks in and steals your equipment, you’ll still have access to the footage.Other manufacturers have made similar solutions, from the simplicam to the Home Monitor to the Belkin Netcam HD.
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The above devices are convenient and easy to set up, but you may not want to store recordings on a service’s remote servers when you could keep them for yourself.