Senior citizen needs security camera setup help

I am a senior citizen and I live alone. I have had Hubitat since 2019. I use it for basic things like turning on a garage light when the garage door opens. I'm a fairly smart guy but am totally lost in security stuff.

All I want to do is set up one camera outside to show surveillance feeds to my Android phone and/or Windows 10 machines. When I am in the basement working on my hobbies I want to be able to watch the front yard and driveway. I simply cannot figure out how to get going. Can someone give me a step by step idea of how to get 'er done? I've gathered I might need Blue Iris software and something like Duhua Starlight cameras. After that I'm lost. Advice even in those two areas will help. How do I get it all hooked up and working with Hubitat. I wish Hubitat had a major 1,2,3 guide for the [ simplest ] of a surveillance setup for a beginner. Then I probably would have been okay on my own.

Practically all of you are tons and tons smarter than I am. I just need some help here. I'm pretty familiar with Rule Machine. I might get stuck every once and a while with it, but, always seem to make it through a script.

You have no idea how much some help will be appreciated.

Thanks, Dekade

The simplest way to view a couple camera feeds on a mobile phone would be a system like Arlo (just one example, I’m not necessarily recommending that one over others like it) since it’s basically plug and play.

Is there something specific you had in mind re: integrating your cameras with Hubitat?

If you just want to watch the video feed there is no need for any integration with Hubitat. Just buy any of the commercially available options (like Arlo, Blink, etc) and they all come with an app where you can monitor the video feed. In addition some of these you can integrate into HE (via IFTTT or custom HE integrations) so that you get notifications on motion.

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I am using Hubitat in the first place to stay away from the internet. All local. I might eventually want to play with a DVR setup. I have my home set up with a PC in whatever part of the house I'm in. I also use Open Media Vault v5 for a file server setup. I also want very clear video from whatever camera. By the way what are custom HE integrations like Angus_M mentioned?

Also, do I want to go wired or wireless for the camera?

HE integration is really not necessary for you to accomplish what you want to do.

My opinion... I have Arlo cameras because I have an old house and didn't want to do the wiring. It's OK for what it is, but I would not go that route again, and I will eventually migrate off them. I would recommend wired power-over-ethernet cameras. This allows you to use Ethernet cabling to provide both power and cable to your cameras, and greatly simplifies the installation (though you do need a PoE switch).

There are lots of security companies that will come install this all for you. If you want to do it yourself there are lots of options as well. I've invested heavily in Ubiquity Unifi so I'll likely go that route for cameras and DVRs.

Search for "blink" in these forums as an example of a custom integration. There are others too.

Search for camera, webcam etc and you will find various threads.

I prefer wireless because running ethernet cable to all the locations I want is a real drag.

I prefer powered rather than battery because I want to show the video feed in a dashboard. If you use battery cams they don't have enough juice to be able to show more than a few seconds for each motion sensing detection. But of course powered means you must have access to power at the camera location.

The POE (power over ethernet) cams mean they are powered through the ethernet cable, so you only have to run one cable, so that can also be a good option.

It really depends on where you want to put your cameras and what hassle you are prepared to accommodate on the wiring (power &/or ethernet).

But if you want something very quick to set up, with no wiring, to just show you in an app the recorded video when motion occurs, and accassionally view the video feed then a battery option like Arlo is very good.

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I prefer wyze cameras they are inexpensive and the app is pretty good. You do need to wire a USB cable to it for power. But the cameras are wifi 2.4 only. I view this as a plus as I have empty houses and cannot charge camera batteries periodically.

That said the internet is required.

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If you want to keep everything local I would highly recommend Blue Iris and Dahua cameras. The Blue Iris software needs to be installed on an "aways on" Windows based computer. Most of the Dahua cameras support POE (Power over Ethernet) so you only need to run a single Ethernet cable to your camera(s). If you are interested in this kind of a set up feel free to PM me and I would be more than happy to help you out.


Thanks for the input so far. I am going to start by checking out Arlo, Blink and Wyze. I've already started watching a Blink video.

Is there any need for the Blue Iris application?

If I get cameras can they be set up with a local recorder DVR? Can they be set up to record onto a hard disk in my windows open source server?

I already know the Blink can do local via a USB plugged into it. The Blink already has one setback that is not pleasing - poor night vision without and additional spotlight.

The Blue Iris software acts as a DVR and records to any drives on your network.


Hmmm. Now that sounds good. I will check it out. Hopefully no subscription fee.

No subscription, but there is an optional support cost that runs about $30 a year after the first year.

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For arlo, not really. If you are connecting an Arlo camera to an Arlo hub, the hub has a USB port and it can simultaneously record to the cloud and locally. But normally Arlo just records clips based on motion or sound alerts. There is a cloud DVR option available but I'm not sure of the details. Since Arlos are usually battery powered there are obvious reasons why continuous recording would not work.

Lots of good posts here - and yet so many variables that define what the right solution for YOU could be. Many cameras today have built in web ability. They record right into an SD chip and that's a decent smart low cost solution to begin with.
If you've got more funds and time yet want to keep it local, I'm extremely supportive of a BlueIris server. Not just because it can tie into whatever you have, but it provides extra features such as translated streams, overlays etc.
A standalone NVR can be had for <$100 and will support usually up to 8 cameras. I've got 2 here in my garage for sale! Like Home Automation, if you jump in and try to do too much you'll learn a lot, but normally end up replacing and upgrading as you stumble into weaknesses.
Camera's are NOT all the same. And expensive cameras doesn't mean they are good. AOC (area of coverage, angle, distance, lighting... all play a part in picking the right camera for a location, and then there is the network portion. WIFI cameras have their own issues, PTZ cameras that you can drive around.... resolution of the image and stream size all get involved.
Maybe consider getting an outside security consultant to come visit and review with you?

The simplest starting point is to get one of THESE, plug it into your router and stream the video to your W10 machines.

Or add it to an HE dashboard.

And add bits later... = more toys. :slight_smile:

Reolink cameras do not allow you to adjust the I Frame Interval, which is required to optimize Blue Iris, so I would not recommend them.

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You could also look at something like the Eufy wired cameras. They can record continuously and with a 128GB micro SD card can record about a month until old content gets cleaned up.

You can also use RSTP streams with a raspberry pi loaded with MotionEye and record the streams and monitor it over your home wifi.

If you are interested i can give you more step by step directions but it is fairly easy to do.

Some cameras only allow you to watch the feed for a certain amount of time. Arlo for instance will disconnect you after 20 min.

Though i suggest Eufy, Motioneye can be used to interface with any standard camera that supports RTSP. RTSP stands for real time streaming protocal and allot of general non cloud based cameras support that.

I'm possibly over-simplifying here... but you have a windows machine already running as a server?

If so, seems like a no-brainer to me. So long as the server itself is decent enough to handle a couple of cams, then (imo) grab any half-decent Ip cam, install BI, and accomplish exactly what you want.

Things are complicated a little if you want to be running multiple cams, high res, 24/7 recording etc, but that doesn't sound like the direction you want.

Here's my BlueIris setup viewed through the standard server:

(forgive the spiderwebs, I've been lazy/busy and neglected them :D)

And here's what the app looks like on my old windows box:

You really don't need integration with HE to do what you've asked. But it's possible regardless.


For the simple setup I'd advise wyzecam V3. They have a starlight sensor, are wireless and very reliable. Their app is very solid and the cams are very very affordable.
Wyze just came out with a light socket adapter for camera power, which also doubles as a smart light sensor, making the lightbulb automated with timing, lumen level or motion.

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