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Choosing A DIY Home Surveillance System

Derek in Detroit, Michigan listens on AM800 CKLW - “The Information Station” and asked us about home surveillance systems

Home Alarm

Derek asked: “What’s the best home surveillance system? Not sure whether to buy the Ring system. There’s several out there I was looking at. Nest, SimpliSafe. If you could tell me what would be the best, I’d appreciate it.”


Derek, you can probably rule out Ring for the time being. Ring’s security system was announced in 2017, but ADT filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of their intellectual property, they’ve since reached a $25 million settlement, but Ring’s website still shows the security system as upcoming with an option to be notified when it becomes available.

As for Nest and Simplisafe, the consensus seems to be that Simplisafe is the way to go, and it’s easy to see why. Nest Secure starts at $500 and it comes with 2 sensors that double as motion and door or window sensors. Adding any more will cost you $60 for each new sensor.

The consensus seems to be that Simplisafe is the way to go

Simplisafe’s system starts at $260, that’s already almost half the price of Nest, and it comes with 3 entry sensors for doors or windows and 1 motion sensor. Extra motion sensors will cost you $30, while extra entry sensors cost $15. That means that the $240 price difference between the systems may cover the extra equipment you need to cover your whole house.

Both systems offer about the same functionality, and both systems lock you into their hardware, so that kind of price difference matters.


Derek also asked: “I also want to know about Xfinity. Seems to be the only option here in my neighborhood. They’re offering 25Mbps for $19 a month. Want to know if I can purchase my own modem and router and save even more – or would they even let you do that?”


Yes and no.

You can buy your own modem, they’ll actually show you “approved” ones on their site, which shouldn’t matter since Docsis 3.0 is a standard, and you can use whatever router you want. So, can you bring your own modem and router? Yes, will it save you money? Yes, but you won’t pay less than the $19 a month.

And keep in mind that Comcast (or anyone else, really) will not offer you technical support on any device you don’t rent from them. So if you use your own device and something goes wrong, you may be on your own.

ISPs in general, and Xfinity in particular, like to quote the price for the service and leave out extra charges like modem rental fees. In reality, the $19 were probably going to grow by about $10 a month for the modem rental, and that $29 for the service and modem is probably going to go up again at the end of the first year.

Read the fine print and make sure you understand what you’ll really be asked to pay because it rarely is what the first ad you see claims.


Audio archived for at least 6 months

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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