Chapter 12, Watch Your House Across the Network
and on top of furniture. Hiding the cameras will also decrease the
chance of a thief stealing them, too.
• Though the cameras include screws to be permanently mounted, first
attach them with sticky stuff, such as poster adhesive, until you deter-
mine the optimal location.
• Point the antennae toward the computer where the wireless video
receiver will be.
For information on how to configure the X10 wireless cameras can be found
in Chapter 3, Remotely Monitor a Pet.
The video capture component receives input from the playback control
mechanism, controls the cameras, and sends the output to the video trans-
fer mechanism. The method of video capture you choose will be entirely
dependent on the type of video cameras you use and your choice of video
transfer mechanisms. I’m using X10 cameras and I plan to transfer the video
across the Internet, so my video capture mechanism needs to accept the
composite video feed from the wireless video receiver and connect to my
computer. The answer was obvious: a video capture card.
If you chose a camera with a built-in server that connects to the network,
then this project is very easy—your capture and transport mechanisms are
already built into the camera! All you need to do is configure your router to
forward traffic to your camera and connect directly to the camera across the
Internet. You can skip the other steps in this project.
1. Install the video capture card
Unlike traditional webcams, these wireless video cameras do not connect to
your computer’s USB port—they’re actually intended to connect to a TV or
VCR. You therefore need to add an old-timey analog video input interface
into your computer. Fortunately, these are cheap and well supported by
both Linux and Windows. After all, lots of people use video capture cards
to record TV shows, so quite a bit of energy has gone into making sure the
software works well.
The wireless receiver that we’ll install next has a composite connection,
so make sure the card you choose supports that. I used the Hauppauge
WinTV-GO-FM card (part #00191) because I happened to have it lying
around. These cards use the BT878 chipset, which is well supported by
Linux (and, of course, Windows). Any card you choose with that chipset
should work equally well. There’s no need to get an expensive video capture
card because it’s not going to improve the performance or quality of your
cheap cameras. You don’t need any kind of sound support because the wire-
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