Pros: Easy expanded; Easy to set up monitoring
Cons: Expensive; Extra fees charged for added items
Bottomline: For anyone who wants more than basic home security, Myhome247 is a good choice
Vista compatibility: Yes
Myhome247 is an attempt to put together a home security kit for a price that's reasonable for most homeowners.
At £250, Myhome247 costs more than basic network cameras or the much cheaper Homecamera service (see below) but the idea is that it's much more flexible and easier to use.
The kit includes three devices: a long, flat grey control box that constitutes the heart and brain of the system; a Panasonic network camera; and a Motorola door/window sensor. It's possible to buy more accessories and sensors as you go along, but there's a price increase involved. That way you can build up a more complete system as you go, without too large an initial outlay.
Once it's all plugged in it's necessary to go online to finish the setup process. Myhome247 uses Java to find the controller on your network – our test computer didn't have this, so we had to install it, but that was a painless process, and it's free. After it found the controller it had to find the camera and sensor – the Panasonic camera is automatically picked up, but it's necessary to press a button during this 'discovery process' in order for the controller to see the door sensor.
The components should stay switched on the whole time, as should your broadband router. Because the control box and the camera are wired in, they each require a separate port on the router, so if you don't have two free ports you will need to invest in a hub.
The setup poster recommends using Homeplug network devices to extend the range of the camera to another room, otherwise you will have to run a very long network cable around the house, or have the camera positioned next to your router.
Once it's running you can log in on any web browser in the world and view stills or video from the camera, and see whether the door or window (on which you've mounted the sensor) is open or closed. The camera can also be set up to start recording when it detects motion.
Other Myhome247 products are available, such as heat and water sensors, but adding another device to the kit requires paying a £10 per month fee. The question to ask, before spending £250 on this kit, is whether it's cheaper to do it yourself with a basic network camera. If remote monitoring is all you're after, then buying a network camera is a better option. If you do want to start kitting out your home with electronic security, Myhome247 is an excellent place to start.