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iHouseWatcher is a great idea with flawed execution

Mel Martin

iHouseWatcher is a free, 4 channel house monitor that that's ready to work with a Mac or PC with a webcam, or an iOS device you're willing to leave at home.

I downloaded the universal app to my iPad and my iPhone. After creating a free account, I identified my iPad up as the camera, left the house, logged in with my iPhone and received video and audio from home. Clever.

Now on to the drawbacks. First, the iPad must be in portrait mode, or the picture was not oriented correctly. Also, the video feed looked fine on the local iPad, but was rotated sideways on my iPhone. The app only recognizes the iPad's front-facing, lower resolution camera. Not good.

iHouseWatcher is ad supported, which is fine, but its ads are intrusive. In fact, I had to endure a noisy video ad when I first logged in. You can dismiss the video, but it is still a pain. Sadly, there is no paid version available so you can't forego the ads.

You can go to the iHouseWatcher website and see your video from any browser, which is a good idea. There are Mac or PC clients as well. You can also initiate a two-way video chat between devices.

iHouseWatcher is a really good idea, but it's weighed down with some software bugs and those aggravating ads. I think a reasonably priced ad-free version with a few bug fixes would be a winner. There is built-in help and more detail on the company website.

For my own video security I use the terrific and inexpensive iCam app, and both a separate IP camera and the iSight camera on my computer. TUAW Editor Kelly Hodgkins likes the Loftek cameras and an iOS app called Total Control Multicam 8 which is available at the app store.

The app requires iOS 5.0 or later. You'll find screenshots in the gallery below.

Gallery: iHouseWatcher | 3 Photos

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