Spy on pets while you’re away with web cameras and baby monitors | OnlineShoppingReport

Spy on pets while you’re away with web cameras and baby monitors

March 25th, 2013

webcamby Phil Hornshaw

We can’t always be at home with our pets. Keeping track of what they are up to can be important, both for their health and safety and for the health and safety of your shoes, furniture and food.

Luckily, in the modern era, you don’t have to be at home to keep track of what’s going on there. Items such as web cams, cameras and other gadgets, can help you keep up with your pets’ activities and possibly minimize the trouble they can get into while you’re away.

Your personal spy network

One of the quickest and simplest ways of monitoring what happens in your home when you’re not there is to use web-integrated cameras. If you’ve ever seen a web cam in action, you’ll understand the concept – these are cameras that are connected to the Internet and whose visual information can be seen from a particular website.

Web cams can be used connected to your home computer or independently. You can find a number of models at Best Buy, for a start, which offers 2 percent cash back and includes a full selection of both web cams you can connect to a computer, and IP (Internet protocol) cameras that support wireless connectivity. IP cameras are better if you need to set up surveillance away from a connected computer, but they’re more costly.

If you’re setting up multiple cameras, you’ll also want somewhere to store their footage. Look for “network attached storage” external hard drives. Namely, hard drives you can connect to your home Internet network that can collect footage. They’re widely available: check Walmart and Target, both of which offer 2 percent cash back. Radio Shack and Office Depot are also both good bets (and offer 3 percent cash back each), and you can check all of the above for better deals on the cameras you need, as well.

The baby solution

Wireless Internet and smartphone technology have helped to make baby monitors much more efficient and useful, but they don’t have to be limited to monitoring babies. There are a number of baby monitors that can send info straight to your iPhone, iPad, or Android tablet or smartphone, including firing off text messages and sending video. Aim one at a pet’s area while you’re gone, and your baby monitor is now a pet monitor.

A number of the stores above offer hi-tech baby monitors, and you can also find them at ThinkGeek (with 3.5 percent cash back) and Babies ‘R’ Us (1 percent cash back).

Just how expensive your pet monitoring system becomes is up to you. Picking low-cost web cams or IP cameras might be cheaper, but the various components can add up quickly. Likewise, baby monitors might skew more expensive but offer more viewing options. The choices are up to you, but looking for the best prices from multiple places and picking up all the needed components is your best bet for saving money.

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