This security system has wireless cameras that are linked into a home Wi-Fi network. It’s easy to set up, but it has some limitations, including the short length of the video clips it can record.
We’d all sleep better knowing our homes were covered by video cameras. A video camera would also be handy so you could know whether your dog is sleeping on the couch when you’re training her to stay off the furniture.
While there are plenty of live cam and webcam options for your home or office, almost all of them require wires.
But recent additions to the home-security-camera market can be placed almost anywhere in your home or yard that’s covered by your Wi-Fi network.
I’ve been reviewing the Blink Wireless Home Security and HD video monitoring system.
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The Blink system uses small, battery-powered cameras that can be tucked onto almost any shelf or mounted in any spot you’d like to watch.
A Blink setup (starting at $99, blinkforhome.com) is perfect for renters who would like to keep an eye on things without having to run wires to every camera.
The Blink systems consist of a small sync module (base station) that connects to your home network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. The sync module is the only piece of the system that needs power, which can be provided by any powered USB port.
Configuration: You’ll need an iOS or Android mobile device to configure Blink through its free app. The app will walk you through setting up the sync module, which means you’ll tell it about your home’s Wi-Fi network and password.
You’re then walked through setting up each camera. The cameras are powered by two AA lithium batteries, which should last a year with normal use.
Once the camera is powered up, the app will prompt you to enter a number found under the camera’s battery cover. Pairing is quick and painless for up to 10 cameras.
Once they’re paired, you can place the cameras wherever you like, as long as it’s within about 100 feet of the sync module.
The app will show you the live image and a meter indicating the camera’s signal strength to the sync module.
Once you have everything in place, you’ll configure recording options with the app.
You might be asking how HD video cameras can be powered for a year on two small batteries. It’s because they record only when they detect motion and only in clips of up to 10 seconds.
When motion is detected, you can choose to get email or push notifications that include a link to view the video clip.
Video is stored in the cloud, and there is no subscription fee. Up to two hours of 10-second clips can be stored.
You always have the option of saving the clips to your computer, and there’s a USB port on the sync module that will enable local clip storage with a flash drive, but that feature isn’t expected until later in the year.
Blink’s cameras have a microphone, and audio is recorded with each clip. There is no speaker on the cameras, so two-way audio is not possible.
Each camera’s motion detector has adjustable sensitivity, so you can turn it down so your pets don’t set it off so often.
Constant motion does not mean you’ll get one long recording broken up into 10-second segments. The system has a delay between recordings. You set the delay, but it must be at least 10 seconds.
10-second clips: This means on motion detection, a clip of up to 10 seconds is recorded, followed by a 10-second delay, and then, if motion continues, another 10-second clip.
You can watch the live view from each camera, but recording during live view is not supported.
Much like with an alarm system, you can arm the cameras, which begin recording on motion detection. Likewise, you can disarm them, which is handy for when you’re home and don’t want to be bombarded with notifications of video of your family moving about the house.
One thing to know is that the Blink cameras are not weatherproof, nor do the motion detectors work through glass.
If you’d like to keep an eye on your front door, you can mount the camera outside under an overhang or covered porch.
The cameras also don’t have true night vision, but they do each have a single LED light that can be set to illuminate the camera’s field of vision. The light turns on when motion is detected.
The basic system of one camera and a sync module costs $99. A two-camera system is $149, and a three-camera setup costs $199. Blink’s best value is a five-camera system for $299. Individual cameras are $60 each.
Conclusions: The Blink system is a cinch to set up, and it provides clear images of what it sees.
It’s fantastic that there are no wires to the cameras, but you have to live with the limitations of the clip recording method. It’s possible a person who is on your porch to steal a package might not face the camera during the initial 5- or 10-second clip, and the delay before recording subsequent clips means you might miss critical moments.
I’d like to see Blink introduce longer clip lengths. A 30-second clip would be welcome, even at the cost of replacing batteries a few months earlier.