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Contract-Free Wifi Security Cameras?

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allenlondon | 20:14 Thu 21st Jan 2021 | Technology
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Can you buy wifi security cameras that you can connect to your ‘own’ cloud, e.g. iCloud or Google, and so not pay monthly subscription fees?

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Yes.
You'd need more storage than normally comes free with cloud accounts.

For example, to use HomeKit secure video with an iCloud account you'd need a 2 TB storage plan (at £6.99 per month) for up to 5 cameras, although you could get away with just using a 200 GB storage plan (at £2.49 per month) if you were only using 1 camera. The 5 GB of free storage that you can get with iCloud simply isn't anywhere near enough to handle all of the data from the cameras.
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT210538
Just to add to Chris' post, you'd probably need approx 1 TB of storage, depending on your set up.
I say this because we have 4 cameras; 2 of which record 24-7 and the other 2 record when motion is detected. We have a 1 TB hard drive and it usually lasts just over 3 weeks, before it's full and it starts recording over the oldest recording .... so what storage you'd need would depend on how many cameras you've got and how long they're recording ..... plus the quality of your cameras .... the better the cameras, the quicker they'll fill your memory up.
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So is what your saying is that the cloud element is unimportant, if for example I connected the cameras to a big enough hard drive and wasn’t bothered about overwriting?
Overwriting shouldn't be a problem because if there's a problem and there's something you need to view on the cameras, you'll probably be aware of it quite early on, so the data should still be there.
2 problems that I can think of with using a hard drive:
...... possible failure of the hard drive.
and:
..... if someone breaks into your house and finds the CCTV system, if they steal the hard drive, all your data is gone along with any incriminating evidence.
you can also buy them with internal storage on a memory chip, just change the chip and save the contents elsewhere. Security cameras can be set to only film when there is noise or movement and some can be set to only activate if there is movement in a certain area of the coverage to avoid stuff like moving plants or the neighbour's car setting it off.
Woof, I have such a camera and it is great for what I want. It was sold as a security camera some years ago and I use it to film the badgers and foxes. It is useless as a security camera ~ no alerts on my phone, can’t be viewed if I’m not at home, overwrites recordings if I’m away from home for extended periods. Burglar Bill could steal the memory card if he knows it is there and has a hammer. I rely on my WiFi cameras for security
I have mine in the house
and they overwrite after about a month

the failures I have - have always been inadvertently pulling the plug out. - I dont think I have used them in anger but they are a good deterrent
jesus I thought I lived in a crime ridden ghetto
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Like Barry, my main interest is recreational rather than high-security - who uses the cat door, the foxes in the garden, etc.

So we want good quality, but not such good storage. The Arlo range look good, as long as you can avoid the contracts.
Allen, you don't need WiFi and cloud storage for that. Consider the sort of camera I have with on board storage - you can get memory cards with huge storage these days - or a camera that connects to a hard drive or other recorder.
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Barry.

As usual, you are going to straighten out my muddled thinking.

This is what I want to do. Knock down my skittles!

I want a decent camera (maybe an Arlo Essential).

I want to look at its pictures on my iPad, wifi, through my home router.

If I do want to store longish films, I want to connect (wifi) to a hefty Tb drive, maybe 10TB.

To set this up, I assume I’ll need www access through my iPad.

Later, I might want to add more similar cameras to the system.

Sounds simple, so what (if anything) am I missing?

Oh, and my ladder-climbing days are over, so I want battery-powered cameras, not mains.

A
If you want battery powered cameras won't you have to climb the ladders a lot?
Arlo are probably amongst the most expensive cameras you can buy and far exceed your needs.
Have you considered this one?
https://www.swann.com/uk/swifi-camw
Question Author
Thanks Barry, that Swann link looks very good.

Battery changing will be limited by the fact that I'll position the camera(s) fairly low (security not being an issue).

But apart from that, does the rest of my scheme look feasible?

A
Yes, very feasible. The camera I mentioned earlier that I use for filming the local wildlife is 15 years old at least and cost me around £50. Compared to today's cameras it is very poor spec and old fashioned - but the footage is good enough.
I am sure that you will be pleased with the Swann recordings but there is something else to consider - a trail camera that is designed to film wildlife and is usually battery operated. Some do connect to the wifi if the camera is in range but most once again use memory cards which can of course be viewed on your iPad (not live footage, obviously) and downloaded to your hard drive. The advantage of these cameras is that they are designed to be mounted anywhere - often strapped low down to a tree - and can be moved about. They are rugged and can withstand all weathers. It is a simple no faff option.
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The Swann says I’ll need Google Assist + Chromcast.

Ain’t got them!

Why can’t life be simpler?
Well it is a technological marvel, really, allen, being able to see what's going on outside your home when you're many miles away. A bit different from chatting to your pal using two empty baked bean tins and a long piece of string :D

I'm not convinced that you do need google assist and chromecast to access the features you want. Check with them before you buy.
what about blink? i think you can attach a usb stick to them. Theyre battery operated - i think they estimate the battery lasts 2 years if you use it in th motion activated mode
do you want to watch it in real time or just lok back once its recorded?
I have got the old version of these to use around the garden and they are excellent. Not wifi but great low light quality. Amazon.co.uk User Recommendation

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