back to article Help, I'm being held prisoner in a security camera testing factory. So please read this...

One of the interesting side effects of being asked to test smart-home technology is that you get grumpier about it. Most folks buying a product like a smart thermostat or socket or lighting or security camera will be excited about its possibilities, imagining scenarios where it will make their lives better, saving time or …

  1. DJV Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Yeah, all very well but...

    ...can you buy a kit that, along with the camera and microphone, comes complete with:

    • a remote controlled taser for zapping undesirables who ignore the "No cold calling" sign?
    • a remote controlled trap door that plunges the unwary down into the tank full of underfed sharks with frickin' lasers?
    • a (non-remote controlled) fluffy white cat that's content to sit on your lap without throwing up?

    This question definitely needs answering!

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, all very well but...

      With most kits you either have to provide your own cat, or the one provided is shoddy and you have no choice of color or barfiness..

  2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Angel

    Unintended consequences

    One question which rarely gets asked is; will this make me safer or put me more at risk of what I seek to protect myself from?

    In the area where I live; having any identifiable security measures would be like putting a "rob this one" sign on the front of my house. It might be some deterrent to opportunists but an advert professionals would be very grateful for.

    On the other hand; I hear they make great Christmas presents for people living a few miles away ;)

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Unintended consequences

      One question which rarely gets asked is; will this make me safer or put me more at risk of what I seek to protect myself from?

      In the area where I live; having any identifiable security measures would be like putting a "rob this one" sign on the front of my house. It might be some deterrent to opportunists but an advert professionals would be very grateful for.

      You must be new here. All you have to do to be safer is to give one to your neighbour :)

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Unintended consequences

      Actually the questions I have are

      What is the nighttime picture quality like?

      How far can you site the solar panel from the camera, for security reasons?

      Is there a way to share the live feed to the police, for example?

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Unintended consequences

        "Is there a way to share the live feed to the police, for example?"

        No worries. It's in the Cloud. You're sharing it with *everybody*

        HTH

    3. Pat Harkin

      Re: Unintended consequences

      I just have a sign like the "NO HAWKERS" ones - it says "MY NEIGHBOURS ARE MUCH RICHER THAN I AM"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unintended consequences

      "In the area where I live; having any identifiable security measures would be like putting a "rob this one" sign on the front of my house. It might be some deterrent to opportunists but an advert professionals would be very grateful for."

      Is that based on fact or what you feel it is like?

      Pretty much every police force and ex-burglars now providing advice will tell you completely the opposite.

      Given the choice between a house with an alarm, security cameras, fences, gravel paths and solid looking doors and windows and the one next door without any of this, they will hit the one without.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Unintended consequences

        a shit beaten up pair of cars does it for us. Along with an unmown front lawn full of weeds. We havent been robbed and cars avoid us like the plague in car parks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unintended consequences

      A friend of mine shoots. When the Police visited to check his gun safe and security arrangements, the Officer tried to get him to have a monitored alarm system installed. He took the same view as you.

      "An important part of security is people not knowing that you have guns. I've lived here 10 years and never had an alarm. If I suddenly get one, it sends a message that I may just have acquired something worth stealing."

  3. ElNumbre

    Missing vital information

    Does the camera have an accessible standards based video stream e.g. RTMP so you're not beholden to Reolinks cloud and their long term future?

    At least if you can get at the feed, then you can integrate it with the countless DVR security systems out there, or roll your own.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: Missing vital information

      "Does the camera have an accessible standards based video stream"

      Indeed, anything that says you need to use their app is a big no-no. Built in obsolescence which may be realized in as little as a year and almost certainly within the lifetime of the hardware...

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Missing vital information

      It doesn't appear you can stream RTMP etc, however you can download video from the cameras to your Apple Mac or Windows PC as MPEG-4 media. See:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNXNzi0vjvM

      C.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Missing vital information

        Is it compressed? I had a camera that i had to restrict to taking jpegs when it saw something , because when set to ftp video to my NAS it would send Huuuge files! and that was at 640 not HD.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Missing vital information

          swann cameras and software is ok. we have a set of 4 cameras recording motion activated This work setup works well and is good enough resolution wise for the plod to have used it on the local hoodlams coming in at night and kicking the place over.

  4. 89724102371719511892724I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    "...fluffy white cat that's content to sit on your lap without throwing up?"

    Throwing up is completely normal for cats, life affirming even. They do it to expel balls of fur formerly belonging to other much smaller furry (and feathery) animals (hey it's all just keratin). It's why all good Dr Evils know to keep malt paste in a drawer next to the button marked "DESTROY HIGH VALUE STRATEGIC TARGET TO SPREAD MASS FEAR AND PANIC WHEN THE $TRILLION IN GOLD BULLION (AND MALT PASTE) DOESN'T GET DELIVERED".

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      cats usually save throwing up for special occasions such as when you have a new date around or have just changed the bedding.

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Onboard storage? Live WiFi streaming?

    Let us know when you come home to find that your main power breaker is off and the camera has been stolen.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Onboard storage? Live WiFi streaming?

      I think they mentioned you can put an SD card in it . would that help?

      1. gotes

        Re: Onboard storage? Live WiFi streaming?

        I think they mentioned you can put an SD card in it . would that help?

        As long as they take the SD card out of the camera before stealing it..

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Joke

    The best deterrent is to have a professional film team waiting by your door, armed with professional film cameras and some decent lighting. You can be sure no burglar will try to enter your house.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At ThatOne...

      I've got an insane, psychotic, homicidal, DevilCat (but I repeat myself) that sits on my front porch. Anyone trying to knock on the door gets said demon rubbing against their legs as if it wants to be petted. The nanosecond you drop a hand towards the little mongrel, she turns into an industrial metal shredder with a taste for Human blood. Cue the fountains of ichor, arterial spurting, screams for mercy, & eventual sounds of a kitty belching in delight from it's meal. Then she cleans herself to remove the evidence that the knocker was ever there, climbs back into her favorite sunny perch, & takes a nap.

      I had thought to get a security camera so I could ID strangers that try to knock, but all the footage I'm ever likely to find is the sort that turns the guts & might get used against me in court. I decided to skip the security camera. Now I just wait for the screaming to die off & look through the side window to determine if there are any packages I might like to retrieve before El Diablo wakes up...

      If you'll excuse me I've got some flesh wounds to bandage before I bleed to death. I took too long giving Her Majesty Her kibble...

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: At ThatOne...

        I've got an insane, psychotic, homicidal, DevilCat

        Ah, now I know which cat features in cat bathing as a martial art :)

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: At ThatOne...

          all cats have that gene. They also have a perfect random number generator for "number of strokes before turning psycho"

  7. oiseau Silver badge
    FAIL

    Really?

    Hello:

    ... because of its cloud-based storage system. Not only does it record everything but also analyses it in real time.

    Hmmm, yes ...

    In the cloud.

    I hear that it is a very secure environment.

    Really now ...

    You actually want that?

    Have a good week-end.

    Cheers,

    O.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never wanted one until...

    I never wanted security cameras until we had a break in. They smashed in a back window, stole some cheap jewellery that belonged to my wife it was worth pennies but it had huge sentimental value, and they we're gone in 60 seconds. So I fitted a full rig around the house and put up signs stating CCTV in operation. For the first few months I wondered why I bothered as it was a lot of money for very little immediate gain.

    In the last 3 years we've used it to supply the local Police and neighbours with images and video on several occassions from around our house and the alley between my house and others. We've used it to prove to delivery companies when their lying scum drivers have stolen our deliveries, claiming they delivered to someone when they clearly never set foot on our property or neighbours. My mate even used his to help Police catch a credit card fraudster who was ripping off his elderly neighbour.

    Personal CCTV is a lot of money to lay out but when you don't have it you wished you did, when you do have it then it pays for itself.

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: Never wanted one until...

      Can you tell us what stuff you bought? I am just thinking about doing the same thing.

  9. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Pint

    I love the reviews done by El Reg, no sugar coating and you get told the truth, nothing more, nothing less.

    Keep it up, and have one!

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    High end?

    "It also has some nice high-end features: it is waterproof"

    It's an electronic device designed to sit outside your house day and night in all weather in all seasons. Waterproofing isn't a high-end feature, it's absolutely mandatory.

  11. Baldrickk Silver badge

    My CCTV solution

    Was to repurpose my old Galaxy SIII.

    Attached to the viewfinder on my door, it provided me with a screen to view the image of the outside without squinting through the viewfinder (as well as blocking use of a viewfinder reverser, if anyone ever wanted to use one)

    Footage was also streamed on the network and saved to a NAS drive, and when motion was detected, I got an alert with snapshots and a link to the clip emailed to me.

    All it cost me was some time to set up and a couple of quid for a long USB power cable. Could probably make a decent enclosure for mounting outside too, though the battery would have to be pretty big to last the night if you can't wire 5V to it.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: My CCTV solution

      nice idea. im going to look into this too.

  12. imanidiot Silver badge
    Meh

    No mention of security? FAIL!

    El Reg is being VERY superficial with the testing here. So it works as a webcam, great. Does it protect my privacy or is it a Mirai bot waiting to happen? Does it require changing the password. Does it use any sort of encryption? Does it phone home? What information does it phone home?

    I was really expecting something more thorough that this dime-a-dozen "review" from The Register.

  13. Simon 4

    Cloud CCTV storage or GTFO

    What’s the point in streaming CCTV unless you also backup all footage to an off-site server, ie “The Cloud”.

    Crims are smart enough to yank out the DVR, eliminating video evidence of their efforts.

    So the only thing that makes sense is to automatically duplicate all footage offsite.

    How many CCTV packages even have that as an option?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Cloud CCTV storage or GTFO

      good fucking luck yanking kit from under our wire mountain.

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    I want a camera....

    ...with my own storage. I don't want to have to buy a camera and then have to pay a sub for cloud storage. Although I have been disparaging before, I think Smartwater is also a good idea now. Just using a UV pen is cheaper but the easy of just slapping Smartwater on anything makes it easy to use. The part I don't like is the yearly sub. And the fact you're "licencing" their stickers that they give you. If you stop the sub, you have to remove all display stickers. How they'd police that is anyone's guess (essentially they can't police it). So if you can get hold of the stickers, although technically against their rules (I don't know what law you'd be breaking if any), you could just stick "Protected by Smartwater" stickers in your windows. Apparently most burglars avoid places with Smartwater. How true that is I don't know.

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