Watch your home from anywhere: Indoor security cameras explained

Security cameras connected to your broadband can alert you in an instant to suspicious activity, stream HD video to your phone and even let you talk to people in your home.

Home security isn’t just about keeping your windows and doors locked: with wi-fi and unlimited broadband you can easily install cameras that are always on and easy to check from anywhere over an internet connection.

It’s not just about keeping an eye out for burglars - you can watch the kids, check that your dog isn’t getting lonely while you’re at work and you can even talk to people through your cameras.

Who supplies indoor security cameras?

BT Shop sells indoor security cameras from Hive, Honeywell Home, Honeywell Total Connect Care, Nest and Somfy. You can use them on their own or as part of bigger smart home systems that give you control of your home security, heating and lighting.

Each one has different features, but all indoor security cameras connect to your broadband home network, and you connect to them using your computer, smartphone or tablet. These apps and interfaces allow you to either live stream video from your cameras, or view the most recent photos and video clips.

Hive has the View camera, Honeywell Home has the C1 and C2 cameras, Honeywell Total Connect Care works with the EVO Wireless Motion Sensor & Camera, Nest supplies the IQ Cam and Nest Cam, and Somfy offers the Somfy Security Camera.

Somfy security camera

Do I need extra network cables to connect my indoor security cameras?

Hive, Nest, Honeywell and Somfy all supply wireless cameras which connect to your BT Broadband wi-fi home network. The Honeywell EVO camera also needs a Wireless Evohome Security Hub to connect to your broadband.

Many of them can be set up using the Bluetooth feature on your phone, and you manage them using wi-fi from an app on your smartphone or a web interface on your computer.

The only new cables you will need are for power - usually a USB power supply like your phone charger. The Hive, Nest and Somfy cameras also have a rechargeable battery in case of power failure, and the Honeywell EVO camera is powered by two batteries that will last for four years.

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Can I mix indoor security cameras from different brands?

Each brand of camera has its own security technology and user interface, so you can’t mix them without having separate logins for each make.

The exception is Somfy, which like the Nest Cam can be connected to a Nest thermostat so that it turns off your heating if no-one is detected at home.

Most of them can also connect to other home automation services like Apple Home, Alexa, the Google Assistant and IFTTT.

Hive View security camera

Do indoor security cameras have night vision and motion detectors?

All of these cameras have night vision modes which use infrared LEDs to illuminate your room in the dark so intruders and pets won’t notice any light. Some of them, like the Hive and Honeywell EVO cameras, switch to black-and-white in night vision mode.

They all feature motion detectors, and except for the Honeywell EVO, they also have sound detectors and visual activity zones which you can block out so that they won’t react to the movement of ceiling fans or be triggered by pets on the floor (the Honeywell Evo will ignore pets up to 36kg). When they detect motion, they’ll start recording and send you an alert.

The  Hive View can detect faces and use them to either trigger notifications or ignore them. The Honeywell C1 and C2 cameras can react to sounds like smoke or carbon monoxide alarms or a baby crying, to record and send out alerts.

The Nest cameras can recognise faces and either record people, or ignore people they know. If you have multiple Nest cameras, they’ll follow a person and switch the video stream that’s being uploaded. Infrared LEDs enable night vision.

[Read more: What is Google Home?]

Do indoor security cameras take still photos or record audio and video?

The Hive cameras supply up to 1080p video with a 130-degree wide-angle lens and up to 8x digital zoom.

The Honeywell EVO camera takes still images at 640x352 resolution. The C1 films video at 720p HD with a 135-degree lens, while the C2 has 1080p Full HD and a 145-degree field of view.

The Nest cameras record in 1080p across 130 degrees, with 8x digital zoom. The Nest Cam can also take 3-megapixel photos with 8x zoom; Nest Cam IQ can shoots 8-megapixel photos with 12x zoom.

The Somfy Security Camera live streams in 1080p with a 130-degree wide angle lens and up to 4x zoom.  It records in 10-second clips when triggered, which are uploaded to the cloud. You receive a notification when there is a new video to view.

Honeywell C2 camera

Do indoor security cameras record to the cloud?

Recording burglars in your home isn’t much good if they steal the camera or the hard disc it’s recording to. All of these cameras transmit to secure cloud storage that you can access online from anywhere, at any time.

The default storage for video cameras is 24 hours, but you can also download clips to your phone for further examination.

The Hive Camera and Hive View come with a 16GB memory card, which you can expand up to 128GB. The Honeywell C1 and C2 come with an 8GB encrypted back-up SD memory card.

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Do I need to subscribe to an online service to get the full features of my indoor security camera?

Honeywell Home and Honeywell Total Connect Care include all of the support cost in their apps, with no ongoing fees.

Hive, Nest and Somfy offer additional features for a monthly fee.

Hive Video Playback membership for the Hive View Camera costs £4.99/month stores up to 30 days of video clips in cloud storage for two cameras. It can also be connected to Hive heating and home security devices through a Hive Hub. These have an additional subscriptions.

Nest Aware starts at £8/month for continuous recording to the cloud and up to 30 days of video history. It also unlocks advanced motion detector features and the ability to create custom clips or timelapse videos for sharing with friends and family.

Somfy charges £3.99/month for continuous video recording to cloud storage that lasts up to seven days.

Nest Cam IQ

Can I turn off the camera for privacy when I’m at home?

Hive has a privacy mode which deactivates live streaming and recording, either from the app or on a schedule.

Honeywell’s C1 and C2 cameras use geo-fencing which detects when your phone is at home and turns off the camera, then turns it back on when you go out.

The Somfy camera has a motorised shutter which you can operate manually or on a timer, so the camera is physically blocked from recording.

Can I use my indoor security cameras to talk to people in my home when I’m not there?

For the ultimate Big Brother experience, most of these cameras have a speaker and two-way microphone that you can use as a siren or to remind people in your home that you’re watching them.

This could be enough to make burglars flee, but you could also use it to welcome your children home from school, talk to your pets or reassure elderly relatives that they’re not alone when you can’t be there.

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