written by: Zack Jones•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 7/9/2011
Now with the advent of wireless technology in every aspect of our lives, PC-compatible security cameras are something of an option for the everyday consumer. These James Bond type gadgets are however not so simple to buy as one would expect. If you wish to purchase one, this article is a must-read.
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Security cameras have always been a very useful tool of crime prevention. As the relevant technology grew more inexpensive, they became more accessible for home use. As the technology evolved, it allowed the cameras to connect with a PC and the application of wireless technology allowed all this to be a very slick and almost seamless process, considering that usually their feed goes to the internet so that you can access your camera eye online with a username and password.
In most cases, the process is as simple as this: you mount your security camera at a good outlook point, and install on your computer some program from a CD. Alternatively, you can download an app to your smart phone, if you prefer to monitor your camera on the go.
Naturally, with this advent came many business initiatives that flooded the market with a plethora of options. But if you know what you are looking for, choosing a PC compatible security camera shouldn't be a difficult task. Nevertheless, it is useful (if not necessary) to evaluate all your options so that you make an educated decision.
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In order to make such an informed choice, you need to make use of several criteria. Such criteria would be:
Wireless signal strength - This is related to the frequency the camera uses. Certain frequencies may entail weaker signals due to the presence of signals of similar frequencies from other wireless devices. However, this shouldn't be much of a problem if you have an access point close to your security camera.
Resolution - This has to do with how "detailed" the feed is (the bigger the resolution the better the quality of the images the camera captures).
Variety of features - Some cameras offer a large variety of features, which may come in handy. This criterion is important for the more advanced user though.
Price - Probably the most important criterion, since particularly in this economy, everyone is on a budget. However, it may be worth spending a bit more than the cheapest options, if you plan to keep your security camera for a while or if your property is an easy target for burglars.
Naturally, you can include other factors that you can take into account for your decision. It is good not to have too many though as this would complicate things and make the whole decision process more challenging.
When evaluating your options, you will need to assign certain weights to these criteria and rate all your choices on the same scale. For example, say that option A has an excellent price (special deal). If you use a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the best), you would score this option as 5, in this criterion. The same option may not have that many features, so in the variety of features criterion it may score 3 (or even 2). For more information on this process check out reference 4.
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Some Possibilities for Security Camera Purchases
You can view a few options in this security cameras website. Note that these are not the best possible options, but it will give you an idea of what's out there. It is true that some of them can be a bit pricey but you can find various affordable options too. Another place where you can search for additional options is the security cameras section of Amazon.
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Choosing a security camera that can stream video to your computer is not an easy task but if you handle it systematically it is quite manageable. You need to be aware of what is out there (shop options, products, special deals), but this is relatively easy if you have access to the internet and devote some time for research. What's more important though is evaluating your options, something that you can do by using some criteria such as wireless signal strength, resolution, feature variety, and price. You may add your own criteria in this set, but it is recommended that you don't use too many criteria as this will only make your choice more difficult. You also need to take into account how long you plan to use your security camera for. If you find that you need it only for a couple of years, you might want to avoid buying the most sophisticated model. Finally, it is very important to keep in mind that security cameras are just one aspect of home security. If your place is in a high crime area, you might consider investing in other security products such as alarm systems, 3M windows, metal door add-ons, and of course, motion-detector-based external lights.