Daydreams about getting away for the summer (or for just the weekend) can quickly lead to anxiety: Will my home be safe while I'm away? Will the kids obey the rules or throw some wild party? Is my neighbor really checking on the cats?
Enter the high-tech solution: Video cameras to monitor your place from afar.
While Web cams have been around for many years, they have typically been either expensive standalone systems (meaning professional installation required) or about as much fun to set up as chewing tin foil. Thankfully, a new generation of Web cam monitoring systems promises to be easier to install and easier on the wallet.
The classic approach to monitoring your home on your own is to use a video camera that can be connected directly to a home network without the aid of a PC. Panasonic has long been one of the leaders in this area (the company also makes professional surveillance systems). The company's $200 BL-C210A Network Camera can be plugged directly into a home router and accessed through its own Internet address (supplied for free by Panasonic).More...