Regarding cameras, I bought a commercial kit from a proper security shop, the cameras are not IP ones but they go back to a central DVR unit which is IP enabled and can be viewed either through the software, from a web browser or from an iPhone app. This means I am able to view the cameras from the iPhone app from outside the house, like when I’m at work. My wife loves this as she can keep an eye on our dog.
The cameras are around 700TVL (TV Lines) which is slightly less than DVD quality and I defo would not go any less quality if I were to buy cameras again. They are full colour of course, and they are also have vandal proof enclosures and infra red LEDs for night vision, and the LEDs are extra low heat ones to prolong the life of the lens, as this is a common cause of cameras dying.
The DVR unit also has NO/NC contacts for connecting into your house security system (the security system sees the DVR as just another PIR, so it’s interfaceable with any alarm system) and you can configure the unit to trip the alarm if any of the camera feeds is lost, i.e. if someone is having a crack at one of your cameras. You can also set specific regions on the cameras to trip the alarm if motion is detected, but I find this feature useless.
Finally, I have a PTZ camera at the rear of the house as there is a walking path next our house that people walk their dogs along and kids walk to school. It’s a tracking camera and it’s been set to scan along the fence line, and when it detects movement like a person it tracks that object until it loses it. We have seen some hilarious things like a drunk guy having a leak in the river the goes behind our house, and not fully putting his junk away before turning around and unwittingly facing the camera whilst it was zoomed in on him.
The DVR is an 8 channel unit and I got 4 cameras to go with it. Very happy with the quality and setup, would buy again