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Issue 15.2 ('Xojo Power Tricks')
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Camera Viewer

Grabbing images from local IP cameras

Issue: 15.2 (March/April 2017)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 15,553
Starting Page Number: 36
Article Number: 15205
Resource File(s):

Download Icon project15205.zip Updated: 2017-03-01 11:13:55

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Excerpt of article text...

A few years ago, tired of UPS drivers who don't knock to tell me they left a package, I bought a $30 IP camera to put at my front door. (An IP camera is like a standalone security camera with its own IP address so it's accessible from other computers on your network, or even the entire internet if you make it available.)

It was an education figuring out how to configure that first camera, finding software to use it, and learning its limitations, but in the end it worked surprisingly well. Over time I bought several more cameras. These I placed with views around my property as well as inside (mostly to keep an eye on my cats when I'm not home).

Note that I'm cheap and continued (for the most part) to buy modest indoor-only non-HD cameras. Weatherproof and HD cameras are much more expensive, but except for my front door camera, which is protected under an eave, I put the others indoors and just point them out of windows. (This works well enough, though there can be reflections.)

Overall, I'm happy with my system. It lets me check on my house when I'm not there, gives me a way to peek on visitors or people snooping around, and I can see what my cat, Minx, is doing (usually sleeping).

It's not a very secure system (the whole thing stops working if there's no electricity or Wifi), it doesn't record video all the time (useful for catching burglars), and it doesn't have bells and whistles like night vision, motion alerts, cloud recording, and so on, but all I really do is occasionally check the live feed on my iPhone/iPad and I'm not paying $200/camera or monthly fees for that.

If I want, I can use an app on my Mac to record video from all the cameras, triggered by motion, but I don't run it all the time since it slows down my WiFi. I considered writing my own app to do this in Xojo, but from what I understand, accessing video from an IP camera is somewhat challenging (i.e. not well-documented and slightly different for every camera maker), so I never went that route. In the end, I wisely bought a commercial package.

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