N00b needs guidance on video system

I am about to purchase a Vera Plus, and I am in the midst of planning for my smart (town)home. I’ve got everything but the cameras sorted out. The more I research, the more confused I get. :-\

I currently have a 1st gen Piper (from crowd funding) but the camera quality is horrendous. I want cameras that will integrate well with Vera, have good picture quality, and be easy to access.

I like being able to view live video wherever I am, but I also like watching past events (like if a cat knocks something over or someone comes by my front door). Piper was great for watching historical stuff on the cloud, but it was pretty much useless when you can’t even make out details of what you see. Also the live video was horrendous. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by it. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that to have this same functionality I’m going to have to pay a subscription fee.

I looked at the Nest Cam, but only having 1 notification per half hour is a deal breaker for me (what a very poor decision by Nest!). So, what other options do I have?

Hi EvilMonkey,

The best place to learn what works best with Vera is to go to our compatibility page, http://getvera.com/compatibility/.

We have our own cameras that are the easiest to integrate into our platform. If you don’t want ours for some reason, the next best option would be the Bosch, if they don’t work for you either there is a plugin for the Foscam HD cameras that we have authored and maintain. What it won’t give you is higher level controls like pan and tilt…

All of these cameras can be streamed through our UI via the web or through the mobile apps and there is NO monthly service fee.

Let me know what you decide to do.

If you have a couple of camera’s, like Foscam, as Marc said Vera supports those quite well. Do realize Vera is not a DVR or camera station, it’s a home automation hub. If you go for a dedicated DVR or camera station, you will get far more abilities and configurability. Also do realize that adding more then a few camera’s to Vera does seem to put a strain on her resources. Especially with 720p and 1080p style cameras.

I separated my IP camera setup from Vera about a year and a half ago and installed it on a Windows PC that was already on 24/7 as it was used as a media server. I installed the Blue Iris software (For which there is a Vera plugin) and haven’t looked back since. I can still view my camera’s from within Vera or Vera apps but I have full control over what to record and where and how long to keep it. As long as the IP camera is compatible with Blue Iris, it will work with Vera using the plugin.

Do you mind my asking what hardware your IP camera setup has? I was thinking of maybe going the foscam route, but I asusme I need a Netwrok Video Recorder in addition to my computer?

Do you mind my asking what hardware your IP camera setup has? I was thinking of maybe going the foscam route, but I asusme I need a Netwrok Video Recorder in addition to my computer?[/quote]

You will find that “Blueiris” or “BI” is thrown around here alot and there is a plugin for blueiris in the vera store.

Blue iris is a 40.00 software that runs on a computer or mini computer 24/7 and can handle just about any IP camera with a TON of features and benefits. Motion recording, geofencing, push notifications, different home and away profiles and much more. There is also Apple and Andriod Apps that give you a nice interface on your phones to play back or watch the cameras live.

This is probley the most common/ universal way to truly handle cameras and recording. Motion detection can be done in Blueiris and doesn’t require a great camera with great software or any even to handle high level tasks.

Camera wise I have a number of brands varying from my 1st gen 640x480 models to 720p models which I am replacing those with. The Windows box is a basic Lenovo TS140 Xeon 1225 small tower server with 8GB of memory. They go on sale (w/o OS) for below $300 on a regular basis and are extremely quiet and have low energy usage. I am using a 2nd one as a workstation as they offer great bang for buck unless you are a hardcore gamer.