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Who is watching your home and
property when you're not there to look after it yourself?
Now, with the Logitech Alert system, the answer can be - you
(and/or anyone else you designate as well).
This is because the Logitech
system sends you alert messages whenever it detects motion.
It also allows you to view recorded video clips of previous
motion detection events and to watch realtime video of what is
happening in your house at the present time.
If your review of the alert
indicates a bona fide problem, simply call the police, and then
you can even watch realtime as the police arrive and apprehend
the intruders. That is surely the best 'reality tv'
What Happens When Motion
The preceding two parts of
this series describe what the system is, how it can be installed
and configured, and similar issues. Now, as a reward for
reading through, it is time for the most important part of the
entire system and its capabilities - what it does when it
Stated simply and shortly,
the system will send real-time alert messages
to your phone or email anytime the cameras believe they've
detected a bona fide movement (based on how you have programmed
the cameras to detect significant motion).
You can set up alerts for
each camera differently. And each camera can send multiple
alerts to multiple phone numbers or email addresses, optionally
including snapshots from the alerting camera which may show you
instantly what caused the alert.
The snapshots are 640x480
and compressed in detail to make for easier emailing. They
are typically about 55kB in size. This resolution is
smaller than the video resolution which is a massive 960x720.
Here is a cropped sample
image (to fit in the column size) emailed to me from my external
camera showing me running across my driveway with my back to the
camera. If you click on the image, it will open up the
full image in a new window.
Of course, most of the time,
my outside camera would not record the back of people, it would
record the front of people as they drive or walk down the drive from the
street (this is in the top right of the full photo); and even if they entered my property from a different
direction so their back was to the camera, when they exited I'd
then get full frontal shots of them.
You'll notice a bit of
blurring around my lower leg. The shutter speed is
sometimes a bit slow if light is low, and I was actually running
at the time.
If you'd like to see the
actual video clip this created, you can then view that remotely
too (if you have the management feature enabled).
Here it is for the motion
event related to the alert image sent to me above. Note that this
is not the raw video, which is considerably higher quality and
larger size -
this is a YouTube compressed version :
Nonetheless, even in this
reduced YouTube format, it clearly
shows the value of the monitoring system as it tracks me all the way across the field of the camera's view.
Remote Monitoring and Management
One of the wonderful
features of the Logitech Alert system is the ability to remotely
monitor and manage your cameras, from anywhere in the world, via
your phone or via a computer connected to the internet.
You can remotely monitor
your cameras for free. Logitech provide free applications you can
load onto an iPhone or Android phone, and so any time you wish
to check what is happening with any of the cameras in your
system, you can remotely monitor them.
For example, if you get an
alert message, you can then follow up from the image that was
sent with the alert to see exactly what is happening now.
Maybe the alert message showed a picture of someone you don't
recognize approaching your front door - go and check, realtime,
to see the status of the outside and inside of your house.
There is one slight
limitation of the remote monitoring. It does not provide
the sound, just the video. This is done in an attempt to
keep the bandwidth requirement as low as possible - something
you'll appreciate when it comes to facing your monthly data
charge from your wireless company.
Management as well as Realtime
If you wish to be able to
not only monitor but also to manage your system, and to get
audio as well as video with the realtime monitoring, you need to
subscribe to Logitech's annual fee based service ($80/year).
This not only allows you to
monitor realtime video complete with audio, but also adds the
ability to change camera settings (such as digital zoom and
motion detection settings), and to be able to access and play
recorded video clips.
You can essentially do
anything remotely you could if you were at home. This is
amazingly flexible and ideal if you are away from home for
several days and need to make a change or simply want to
carefully check back and understand what has been happening.
Logitech claim their system
to be 'high definition' but concede that the term 'high
definition' is not a term with only one clear meaning.
The system is arguably high
definition in terms of the raw camera resolution - if unzoomed,
you get a 960 x 720 pixel color image from each camera.
But it is not high
definition in terms of the frames per second at which video is
recorded. True high definition is somewhere from 24 full
frames a second of video and upwards. This system has a
maximum of 15 frames a second and goes lower than that depending
on how much light - the darker the area the camera is recording,
the longer the shutter speed per frame taken, and so the slower
the frames per second rate becomes, dropping down as low as 4 or
5 fps in the dark.
It is also not high
definition in terms of the video bandwidth. The video
stream from each camera is compressed down to about 1.3 Mbps for
transmission on your local network and recording to your hard
drive; it is compressed even more for remote transmission to a
web management program and even more for transmission to a
In comparison, regular DVDs
(not HD) have about a 6 Mbps video stream, and true HD Blu-ray
disks have about 20 - 25 Mbps video streams.
So the video you record is a
bit fuzzy and chunky, due to all the compression, and the motion
can be a bit blurry and jerky due to being at a low frame rate.
High definition it
definitely is not. But adequate/good definition, it
equally definitely is, and it is much better quality than that
offered by many other security systems. See the above
sample videos to get a realistic impression of the quality you
can expect, and please remember that these videos have been
further compressed and reduced by Youtube. The raw footage
stored on your camera and on your computer is better quality.
Recording the Video
Each time the camera detects
motion, the camera starts recording and picks up two seconds
before actual motion was discovered, so that the recorded video
event captures the entire event.
The camera also continues
recording five seconds after the motion stops, so you get a
minimum of a seven second video clip, and longer than this
depending on the duration of the detected motion.
The images don't currently
show a time/date overlay like you see with some security
systems. Logitech say there is no need for this. The
information is stored 'inside' the video file in its meta data,
and it is preferable to leave the image itself unaltered and
without interference/obscuring which an overlay would of course
The good news is that you
can view your security cameras from anywhere on the internet,
anywhere in the world.
But if you can view your
security cameras anywhere and at any time, can other people do
Can Logitech themselves
access your cameras and act as voyeurs (particularly for any
cameras you have filming the interior of your home and active
while you're inside yourself)?
The security of your system
is as secure as the login and password you create to access your
cameras. If you use an insecure password, then if someone
can guess at your user ID, they might be able to guess at your
So be sure to use a password
that is different to other passwords you use, and which contains
both letters and numbers or punctuation signs. See our
review of the
excellent Roboform password management software for a great
way to enable you to have different passwords for every website
you need a password for.
As for Logitech
eavesdropping on your cameras, I am told by Logitech that their
people also need to use the same password access that you would
use, so unless they know your password, they can't access your
The exception to this is a
handful of privileged senior developers who have the technical
skills and super-user access to the system, but the reality of
these few people choosing to spend their day watching your video
(out of the tens/hundreds of thousands of systems available)
rather than working is very low, and such activity would quickly
be detected as an anomaly by Logitech anyway.
The cameras actually are not
continually broadcasting to the internet. They only start
broadcasting to the internet when they receive a request from
you via your remote monitoring or management program to do so,
so the smart neighborhood kid couldn't work a way to hack into
your internet connection (or your Wi-Fi network) to view the
The Logitech Alert Home
Security System is easily installed, easily configured, and
easily used. It provides high quality audio and video
recordings of 'events' triggered whenever the cameras detect
motion in their field of view.
It can send you realtime
alerts and pictures of the motion events when they are detected,
and allows you to remotely monitor your system from anywhere, on
your phone or on your computer.
Affordably priced (list from
$300 and less on
Amazon,) and able to grow to as much as a six
camera system, the Logitech Alert seems to represent as one of
the best home security systems currently available.
Part 4 of a four part
series on home security/video monitoring systems; please
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19 Nov 2010, last update
21 Jul 2020
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.