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January 28th 2014 2:13 pm

Cheap alternatives to Dropcam with local storage

I bought a Dropcam Pro last month for both home security and to watch over our dog while we're out and about (even though it doesn't prevent him from eating furniture for fun). After using it over the past few weeks, I'm left with some really mixed reactions.

  • It's a pretty neat package. You basically just plug it into the wall and it's good to go.
  • 1080p video that looks good in a well lit environment. Plus a 130 degree view.
  • Sound is good too.
  • Night vision mode is nice as long as you're in a small room (it's picking up reflections from its built in infrared LEDs).
  • The yearly plan: you're playing $99 / year to store up to 7 days of video. On one hand, it's nice that you have offsite backup. On the other hand, it's your only way to view the video archives, which is annoying because...
  • The web interface. The only way to scrub through your video is through a slowish web interface. Want to quickly scrub through video to find an event? You have to wait for the video to buffer once you move the play marker. It's a bit frustrating.
So, knowing what I know now, what are my best options for video that allow me to do a few things:
  • View live video of our home via my computer or phone so I can check in on Furniture Monster.
  • Video archive is stored on a local computer or NAS (Synology has a built in IP camera application that can automatically archive all your footage but only works with certain cameras).
  • Doesn't look too ugly. This is personal preference, but some of the FOSCAM IP cameras look like medieval instruments of torture.
We've previously talked about Dropcams and IP cameras before. But now that I have a bit more experience, I'm looking for some better recommendations.

See previously:

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9 replies

I have 2 ideas for you Dave.

For your "nice looking" camera that records to NAS etc I would urge you to look at the Y-cam Cube range of cameras - www.y­-cam.com­/product­-range­/­#ipcameras

The second option would be to look at a Dropcam alternative - which is also made by Y-cam - the HomeMonitor - www.homemonitor.me - this is a very similar cloud camera, so does not record to NAS drive as you wanted, but doesn't cost any money to keep using - you get 7 days of FREE online storage with every camera - so no nasty ongoing fees! They do a HD version which can be picked up for around $180.

Other than that, the market is currently quite limited for cheap and feature-filled cameras that do what you want - it seems that cameras are either complex and ugly and cheap, or easy good looking and expensive...
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The HomeMonitor product and service is looking like a good alternative to DropCam. One thing I noticed though when I checked their website--a webpage screenshot in viewing archive videos shows they are using http instead of https. This concerns me on the connection they use when you try to view a life stream. If it's http then it is not very secured.
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Update: I emailed HomeMonitor's support to confirm what I saw from their Web site showing http connection and they responded right away and sent me an actual screenshot from their screen that clearly shows it is using https.
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Thank you thetwopct for posting this! I've been looking for alternatives to DropCam for a while now and the closest I was getting to a viable solution were Samsung's latest batch of cameras into the market. Thank you again!
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I'm leaning toward some of the Y-Cams. They look like they meet most of my requirements. The only thing holding me back at the moment are the reviews on Amazon. They're pretty bad!

But it sounds like the best overall competitor to Dropcam, so I'm still interested in checking it out. I think I need to do some more research.
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Yeah, I was starting to research a little more in depth as well and I would need to know more about the solution, but it does sound to have potential.

Some of the concerning issues are that it only records the 'movement' clips, however some people were reporting bugs in this performance which means you could in theory miss the very thing you were attempting to capture.

Another area I've been kind of waiting to see if they come up with a good product is either Nest or SmartThings... Both seem like they should be getting in this market sooner rather than later.
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Hi guys, I've been doing my research and I can't find the solution I'm looking for. I'd like to be able to have an IP camera/Dropcam type option which uploads directly to my Dropbox account. It wowould be great not to have a computer on 24/7 at home. Anyone have an idea?
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Any solution yet? Did you ever find an alternative? If so, what solution and what did you think of it?
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Hi Dave, any further updates? I just picked up a Dropcam Pro. Good device for cloud. I would also like to get a local storage camera with similar activity zones capability.
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