15 Feb 2018
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A lot of people are looking for easy to install and easy to use video surveillance. And there have been a lot of companies coming out with cameras and services to meet those needs. Alarm.com has a very competitive service and line of cameras. And it can be used as a standalone service. But where it really excels is that their video service fully integrates into their smart home security platform. This means that your alarm system, home automation, and video surveillance can all work synergistically together so that the whole can be more than the parts.
Alarm.com has a good selection of cameras. They have options that include hardwired or wireless connections, power over ethernet (PoE) or included DC power transformers, indoor and outdoor, et cetera. They are all very easy to install and connect to your Alarm.com account. We’ll highlight a few of their video surveillance parts below.
The V522IR is a very versatile indoor camera. Its base allows it to be placed on any flat surface. So if you just want to set it on a shelf or a table or if you want to mount it to a ceiling or a wall, the V522IR has you covered. It is also flexible in how it connects to the internet. It has an RJ45 jack if you want to do an ethernet connection to your router or switch. But it can also be connected to a WiFi router using WPS. It has IR night vision up to 15 feet, which is usually plenty for indoor use.
The next camera is the V722W. It is wireless only, indoor/outdoor bullet style camera. It has to connect directly to a WiFi network via WPS with no option for a hardwire ethernet connection. The camera is waterproof and dust-tight with an operating temperature range from -4 to 122 degrees fahrenheit. The V722W also has excellent night performance with a IR night vision range of up to 40 feet. All the features combine together to make the V722W an excellent choice for outdoor use.
The Alarm.com V620PT is a pan/tilt camera. It has options for both ethernet and WiFi connections to the internet. The V620PT can swivel horizontally 350 degrees and vertically from 90 degrees up to 35 degrees down (125 degree total vertical range), allowing you to see all around the camera. You can create up to 20 preset positions for the camera that you can activate from the app. And you can also manual control the position of the camera. It is designed for indoor use only and does not have night vision capabilities.
The last camera we’ll look at is the Alarm.com WiFi Doorbell camera. It functions as your regular doorbell and even connects right to your doorbell chime in your home. But in addition to that, it has a camera and motion detector built-in. You can set it to notify you on motion or on doorbell press. From there you can actually open it up and see who is at the door as well as talk to them and hear them. If you are using it in conjunction with a Z-Wave door lock, you can even unlock the door from that screen if you want.
Alarm.com Pro Video subscription is the base plan that is required to use their video service. It can be used as a standalone service or added on to your Alarm.com Interactive account. With the base plan you can add up to 4 Alarm.com cameras. You will be able to upload up to 1000 clips per month. And you will have cloud storage for up to 1000 clips at a time. You will also be able to access a the live feed at any time for your cameras.
One question we get asked all the time is: What is a clip? A clip will vary in length from 15 seconds on the low end to 50 seconds on the long end. The actual length of your clips will depend on the settings that you choose. For camera triggered recordings such as with video motion detection, you can select from 15 to 40 seconds in 5 second intervals. For alarm system triggered recordings the length will be between 20 and 50 seconds and based on the camera recording quality settings where higher quality settings result in a shorter clip. Finally manually recorded clips will record 10 to 15 seconds before you press the record button and 10 to 15 seconds after for a total of 20 to 30 seconds.
The frame rate of the video for live view and recordings is another common question we get. The cameras themselves are capable of higher frames per second than what you will actually get in your live video feed or your recordings. This is due primarily to bandwidth considerations and storage space. For live video, the frame rate will be as high as permitted by bandwidth with an upper limit set at 10 frames per second. For recorded video the frames per second are set at 3 by default. But you can select anywhere from 1 to 5 frames per second. Keep in mind that this can affect the length of clips that are recorded.
In many cases people want more than 4 cameras or possibly want more than 1000 clips per month. Video expansions are available for those cases though. Each expansion adds 4 more cameras to the maximum allowed and an additional 5000 clips available for storage and upload. The maximum number of cameras that can be connected to a single Alarm.com account is 40.
The last option available with Alarm.com video is to have 24 hour recording. This is done by adding a streaming video recorder (SVR1001 or SVR1002). This is an add-on to the Pro Video subscription so you still get all the features previously discussed. In addition to that you will have a 24/7 video feed that is saved locally on your SVR and that you can access from anywhere. When accessing the video remotely, your frame rate is still throttled based on available bandwidth. But the SVR will record up to what is natively allowed by the camera, if desired: full resolution and frame rate.