How to Set Up Your Own Remote Home Monitoring System

Ever wish you could use your tech to keep an eye on your home while you're gone? Well, you can--and you don’t need an expensive, dedicated setup.

All you need is a webcam. In this how-to package, we'll show you how to use your everyday tech to set up a motion-detecting camera in your house, so you can keep an eye out for intruders, mischievous pets, or even roommates with a weakness for the contents of your snack drawer.

First, we'll use Yawcam software to employ any standard PC webcam (USB or built-in) as a surveillance camera for free, so you can keep an eye on your home desk for yourself. If you have a laptop, all-in-one desktop PC, or a monitor with a built-in webcam, you won't need to spend any money on this project at all. Plus, considering that 720p webcams cost as little as $30 these days, this is undoubtedly the cheapest option.

Next, we'll bolster the coverage of your surveillance setup by adding whatever spare iOS or Android gadgets you have handy--old phones, iPod Touches, anything with a camera--to the mix. For this option, we’ll show you how to use a few handy apps that let you turn your mobile work gear into extra pairs of eyes for cheap (and possibly free).

Finally, we'll show you how to install and configure a wireless network webcam and add that to your list of camera feeds. This is the most expensive option of the bunch, but with features such as low-light vision in the mix, it may well be worth it for you.

Each of these how-tos will also include explanations for setting up motion-detection and email monitoring (when available), so your cameras can keep you in the loop no matter where you are. Just click on the articles listed on the right-hand side of the page to get started!

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