Video Cam at Front Door - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-29-2000, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's a common "how do I?".

"I wanna put a video camera at the front door and see who's there on the TV or in my home theater."

It can be done, it's relatively easy to do but sometimes not practical, and a real pain in the rear on FPTV systems.

Here's how it's done.

Install the video camera at the front door. The video output of the camera goes into a Channel Plus modulator. Assign the modulator output to a channel that is not used (either off air or cable). Using a splitter (Channel Plus has an "injector"), to connect the output of the modulator into the coax from your antenna or cable that runs through the house.

The door bell rings, you tune to the assigned channel and there you have it.

"I wanna see the picture on the PIP window of my TV."

Yup, can be done BUT, your TV must have two antenna inputs (each with a tuner) or you must run your cable/antenna into a VCR and use it as your primary tuner and also run the cable/off air coax into the TV set (PIP only works with two inputs on the TV).

PIP on your front projector. Ain't going to happen. (Well, there is a solution, but you won't care for the cost.)

I'm not too certain this is all that practical, and where I've seen it done, it isn't used that often. Why? Well, it only makes sense if the TV is already turned on or you have a small 13" unit always tuned to the front door (talk about burn-in).

I took a different approach...I installed a NuTone video intercom at the front door...I can look and talk (or abuse) and record. You ring my door bell, the VCR turns on. Busted! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-24-2000, 11:21 PM
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There is another way -- it's crude, but very easy to set up and less than $100 to implement.

X-10 sells a combined camera (w/ pitiful microphone) and 2.4 gigahertz transmitter unit + a separate 2.4 gigahertz receiver (w/ video/audio jacks) that sells for less than $100. I played with a guy's from work, and here are my observations:

1. Very easy to set up -- it took less than 2 minutes to plug both ends in + another 2 minutes to figure out how to correctly aim the funny little squarish antennas. The receiver end had normal phono jacks (like a camcorder audio/video out). Both ends have wall-wart power packs and require 110 VAC (or battery packs for appropriate DC voltage requirements).

2. Image was color, but poor. His unit had a bad pixel and resolution seemed to be about 240 x 180 (very rough est., but not as good as VHS EP -- 6 hour tapes).

3. Focus (not adjustable) seemed to work for both far away and relatively close up -- seems like the camera must have a small aperature?

4. Interesting technology, and an incredible bang for the buck. However, I didn't feel the need to use one in my home! If you hang one by the front door you would probably need a $150 housing to put it in and then have some way to provide it power.

5. Something similar could great as a baby monitor, but the camera would need a higher gain image pickup (low light sensitivity was not too great with this model). I know high gain image CCD's exist, but not sure of the cost, and not sure if they can be purchased in an integrated package w/ sender and receiver.

Jim
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-29-2000, 12:15 PM
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I have a two of the x-10 wireless camera setups. I don't have the one you reference, but it is made by the same people. The unit I have is "weather resistant" and I've had no problems with it. The unit appears to be fairly well sealed and very very small. I mounted mine underneath the eve of the house pointing where would be callers would stand. It was out there all winter and no issues. I'll agree that the video quality is not very high, but it is color and is as good as any surveilence video I've seen. X10.com has sales going on all of the time. Check them out!

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Originally posted by JShort:
There is another way -- it's crude, but very easy to set up and less than $100 to implement.

X-10 sells a combined camera (w/ pitiful microphone) and 2.4 gigahertz transmitter unit + a separate 2.4 gigahertz receiver (w/ video/audio jacks) that sells for less than $100. I played with a guy's from work, and here are my observations:

1. Very easy to set up -- it took less than 2 minutes to plug both ends in + another 2 minutes to figure out how to correctly aim the funny little squarish antennas. The receiver end had normal phono jacks (like a camcorder audio/video out). Both ends have wall-wart power packs and require 110 VAC (or battery packs for appropriate DC voltage requirements).

2. Image was color, but poor. His unit had a bad pixel and resolution seemed to be about 240 x 180 (very rough est., but not as good as VHS EP -- 6 hour tapes).

3. Focus (not adjustable) seemed to work for both far away and relatively close up -- seems like the camera must have a small aperature?

4. Interesting technology, and an incredible bang for the buck. However, I didn't feel the need to use one in my home! If you hang one by the front door you would probably need a $150 housing to put it in and then have some way to provide it power.

5. Something similar could great as a baby monitor, but the camera would need a higher gain image pickup (low light sensitivity was not too great with this model). I know high gain image CCD's exist, but not sure of the cost, and not sure if they can be purchased in an integrated package w/ sender and receiver.

Jim

Sometimes the bull wins...

You would think that most people would take the time to read the instructions. You would also be wrong.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-21-2000, 06:29 PM
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I presently have this working in my house. It works very effectively, but you may not like the cost.

I have 2 cameras at my front door -- 1 on the driveway, and one by the door itself. When the doorbell rings, it triggers a macro on my home automation system (in my case a PHAST system).

The macro sends commands backwards over the coax to 3 television sets in the house (I used a Xantech Injector/Combiner hooked up backwards with DC blockers on all the other TV's in the house), where the signal goes to emitters on each TV's IR target.

The macros turn on the TV's (discrete on and off commands are important here), turns first to the door camera for 15 seconds which switching what you were watching to the PIP insert, then switches to the second camera for 15 seconds, then switches back to what you were watching. All of this occurs on 3 separate TVs from 3 different manufacturers in about 3-5 seconds. Pretty cool.

In case no one was watching the TV set beforehand, after 2 minutes it turns off the TV's.

Took a bit of thought as to the logic, but the programming was actually quite simple. The best part was running the IR backwards over the RG-6 cable, so that I didn't have to run any additional wires around the house.

I have done the same thing with motion detectors around the pool, so that the TVs turn on if unauthorized activity is occuring around the pool.

Of course, having the $50K home automation system beforehand helps a bit, but inexpensive systems can accomplish the same thing.


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post #5 of 6 Old 08-22-2000, 04:43 AM
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I use ChannelVision products to accomplish the Front door camera. The camera is housed in a wall mounted speaker intercomm enclosure. The intercomm also works. So you can see, hear and speak to the person at the door. The intercomm is integrated into the phone system so all you have to do is pick up the phone and press '**' to gain access to the front door. It even works while you are on the phone already.

So, When the pesky door to door man comes while you are on the phone and watching CNN just tune the TV to the channel with the modulated front door camera. Put the person on the phone on hold, plug in your big dog barking tape and watch the guy run away. Its quite effective.

ChannelVision also has a zero-lux camera for nurseries. They work quite effectively up to 20' from the camera with no light on (not even a night light)

Dave

[This message has been edited by David Guill (edited 08-22-2000).]
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-30-2000, 06:57 AM
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I see that X-10 is now selling a new B&W camera that they call the Night Owl. Claims to have a .5 lux rating.

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Trying to figure it ALL out (and hope I never do!!)

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