As part of our Home Networking Month, one of the most requested articles we promised as well as a few others was “What is the best CCTV system for the home.” So that’s what this article is on, now we have looked at the market and there are plenty avaible out there, such as the Nest Camera, Phillips and more. But one that caught our eye is the Ubiquiti UniFi Video system, which offers a wide range of camera types and the software is really easy to use. The problem with most of these proposed “all in one” camera systems is that they rely on WiFi, the Nest Camera for instance only offers a wireless connection, while this may make installing it extremely easy, this really isn’t the best idea. But for the sake of argument, here’s a look at the other options, then we’ll move onto what we recommend.
The Starter: Nest
Google’s Nest offers one camera in the range, it can be mounted on a wall, ceiling or just standing on a table or shelf. It uses WiFi to connect to the internet and records to the cloud if it monitors something moving, it also has deep integration with other Nest products like the Learning Thermostat and the Nest Protect Smoke Alarm. For instance, if the systems detects smoke the Thermostat will automatically disable the gas boiler to prevent an explosion and the camera will start recording so that you can see later what happened. This type of integration is exactly what homes need, but the camera side of it and the fact that it relies on WiFi isn’t great.
- The Nest comes in as starter because while it offers superb quality and price for most households, the recording is still pushed to the Cloud and for users with data limits this isn’t helpful and it uses WiFi and not wired ethernet, so using a number of these will effect the WiFi performance in the home. Despite this, the Nest is still a strong choice for a lot of people and has easy remote login and neat integration with a lot of other smart-home accessories including Nest’s own products and Mercedes.
The Runner Up: Withings
Withings is primarily a health company, making sport watches, scales, baby monitors and temperature monitors – all of which connect to the internet for monitoring. The company’s home camera is called Home and is one of the most impressive cameras for the price, at £169 it is the same cost as the Nest but it offers WiFi, Ethernet and sensors for heat. For event automaton and triggering, Withings Home supports the IFTTT platform, allowing you to send emails, tweets or activate other devices by what camera does.
- The Withings Home comes in at Runner Up in our #HomeNetworkingMonth. The Withings camera offers good quality HD and remote login through an app and it serves multiple functions such as being a baby monitor for families.
The Winner: Ubiquiti UniFi Cameras
Ubiquiti is the main star of this months #HomeNetworkingMonth and the new range of IP cameras from the company are fantastic, but maybe a little complicated for the average home, but with a little networking skill this system offers a large amount of benefits. The UniFi range has a number of cameras that can be used outdoors, indoors and one which is the size of a golf ball. All these cameras, bar one are powered by POE over ethernet, meaning the need to only run one cable from the camera to the network switch.
Also for businesses and larger homes, most of the CCTV or camera solutions that are used require network ports to opened on the router to allow remote connections in and this isn’t really secure to open ports. The UniFi system uses a web based server to connect to the NVR in the home and let’s you log in remotely and securely.
The NVR has a 500GB hard drive, although any USB 3 or USB 2 hard drive can be added to increase the storage size quite easily. The UniFi Video software features motion detected recorded for all of the cameras in the range and has zone recording to detect motion in certain areas.
The range of cameras are assorted of a few dome versions for installations in ceilings, one for indoor/outdoor installations and when it’s outdoor it must be under a overhang. The below is the smallest of the range, about the same size as a golf ball and costs only £90.
Home and business surveillance is complicated to get right and there are many choices to consider in addition to the ones here and it’s more about if there are enough camera to have in different places and models that work together to go outdoors as well, so in our opinion the Ubiquiti system does this better than any other platform out there, it has all the features for recording, motion alerts and remote login. Also the hardware of the cameras are fantastic and with a new G3 range just launched a few weeks ago you can’t really go wrong. The only downside is you probably need a little networking experience to set up, but that’s all really.
But if that isn’t for you, the Nest Camera is easy and simple to configure and offers good integration with other platforms and other products.