My HomeKit Secure Video Setup
For the past few years I’ve wanted to invest in installing security cameras around the house, but after Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video I was waiting for the market of compatible cameras to mature. Finally that day is here.
I’ve been a Ring Doorbell user for the past six years and I managed to integrate it with the Apple Home app using a Raspberry Pi with Homebridge installed, however that integration was very precarious and given to random failures if I needed to re-login Homebridge with Ring or the Raspberry Pi needed to be rebooted.
I wanted to replace it with a natively HomeKit compatible model, but my front door had no electrical wiring and only Ring supported operating under battery power (which is irritating because it required monthly recharging). Proving the old proverb about a fool and his money correct, I paid an electrician $600 to install a wire at my front door and replaced the Ring with a Logitech Circle View Doorbell.
Now if someone rings the doorbell a chime plays on all of the HomePods in the house (there are three) and notifies my phone. Also it has proven much more responsive when pulling up the video feed than the Ring was, but that may be because the Ring was on battery while the Circle View is wired.
For the backyard I installed two Logitech Circle View cameras to cover the rear sliding doors. I had to string a 25-foot extension cord under the roof overhang because there is only one outlet on my back porch, but it’s obscured using raceway which makes it just hidden enough not to bother my wife. There are battery-powered alternatives, but wired is easier to manage long-term.
For the driveway I installed the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera which recently added HomeKit Secure Video support. I got the version with a siren which seems to have been a mistake because the Home app doesn’t support it (yet). This camera is actually the most useful addition because the driveway is the only practical entry point for our house and day-to-day it’s really nice to be able to quickly check if someone is in the driveway.
So far I’m really pleased with this setup. I’m able to view camera feeds from different vendors in one app and they all quickly update their views when I open the Home app. I’m able to customize the notifications and recording options such that the front yard cameras always record and notify for activity, but the backyard cameras only record and notify when no one in the family is home.
Now my next smart home upgrade is the door lock, but the only one that supports Apple’s new Home Key technology is out of stock everywhere I look.