Leo in Longview, Texas listens on KTBB and asked: “What is the best type of outdoor camera that is wireless that I could put up and see what’s going on outside my house?”
Leo, it depends on how wireless you’d like them to be.
If you can get power to them, Nest sells well-reviewed cameras for around $100 that should last you a while and serve you well. You can buy no-name cameras online for even less, but they may be more of a challenge to set up and their reliability may be anybody’s guess.
You will have no trouble finding security cameras from just about any security company like ADT, SimplySafe, and many, many more. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with getting one of those, but make sure you check that they’re able to work alone and they won’t require you to set up a larger security system by one of those companies.
Ring makes non-doorbell cameras as well as their famous doorbell ones and that includes outdoor cameras, some with floodlights with prices ranging from $100 to around $250.
If you want to go fully wireless, Arlo and Blink both make cameras that work on batteries and don’t need to be plugged into power. As you might expect there are some tradeoffs. The cameras tend not to broadcast 24/7 but only start broadcasting when they’re woken up, and will only alert you of intruders if you arm them. Other than that, they’re not bad devices if you don’t mind changing their batteries every now and then.
Dave in Goldsboro, North Carolina listens on WPTF and asked: “I’ve started watching over the air TV and would like to know a DVR where I can set and record different channels while I’m at work during the day. I would like one that does not have a monthly service fee for the DVR and hopefully one that’s not very expensive.”
Dave, Tablo sounds like the first devices you should check out. They’ve been making over-the-air DVRs for years now and their target user is people like you that have cut the cord but want to keep some kind of DVR.
The latest versions of their devices can run on WiFi and include commercial skipping capabilities, so you won’t have to sit through commercials or fast forward through them manually.
There may be a monthly cost if you don’t pay upfront for a lifetime license, whether you want to do that or not is up to you, but they’ve been around for long enough that it’s probably not a huge risk if you want to avoid the monthly fee.
TiVo Bolt is another option from an obvious well known company, and like the Tablo TiVo does offer what they call an All-in service plan, which just means you pay an upfront fee of $250 dollars for a lifetime license.
Whatever you get, have a close look at storage, it’s not uncommon for these devices to come with no hard drive at all, so you may have to factor in the cost of an external hard drive. That’s probably ok if you know it’s coming, but it an extra burden if you don’t expect it, and you obviously can’t store shows without a storage device…
Sally in Carey, North Carolina listens to the Podcast and asked: “We have a router at one end of the house and the reception at the other end of the house is spotty. We do have a booster in the hall. We have a lot of corners in the house and I’m wondering if it’s possible to daisy-chain with another one that would pickup from the first booster and how does that work? Maybe recommendations on which one will do the best job or are they kind of comparable?”
Sally, it is possible and they work pretty much like you described, they are daisy chained and each extends the connection for as long as their wireless signal lasts and communicates with the others to transmit data back to the internet.
They are not all the same, some will require you to connect to the device’s network and you will end up with a few different WiFi networks, others work together to extend a single network and your devices will act as if you only had a single wireless network, regardless of which physical device they’re connected to at that particular time.
The best performance will probably come from a system that is designed for this particular purpose, something like an Orbi, Eero, or Google WiFi. Those networks are made up of devices that are built specifically to interact with each other to extend your connection, so the set up is easy and the networks largely self-manage after that. There is a downside, they will cost you more than a standalone extender, but the performance is worth the extra investment.
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