Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

What is Camect?
Camect is a product that configures your IP cameras, records video continuously, lets you view live and recorded video securely, and keeps you informed when your cameras pick up interesting activity. Our overview page has more detail.
How can Camect improve my IP camera experience?
Simply put, Camect brings you the benefits of great camera management software at an affordable price. It will also protects your privacy and is likely to save you money if you’re using any other cloud-based camera service.

There are many consumer IP cameras available today, but only a few, come with good software. Cheaper cameras often have good hardware bundled with software that is difficult to use and/or insecure, and is hardly, if ever updated.

If you already own some cameras, consider Camect if you’d like:

  • a single way to record, access and manage the video from multiple different cameras you own.
  • your video recordings kept on your own hardware, both to ensure your privacy and to reduce internet bandwidth usage.
  • smart activity alerts from your cameras and the ability to easily teach your system what you’d like to be alerted about.
  • a lower monthly cost for cloud features (easy access, activity notification, sharing, and cloud backup).
  • alert video automatically backed up to your own Google drive, or to a private Youtube channel.
  • access to your cameras from your laptop or desktop rather than just from your phone.
  • the ability to easily share access to your video with friends, family, or neighbors.
  • easy management of multiple recorders at multiple locations.
  • video viewing and management from a US company that has a clear privacy policy, and tries to know as little of your information as possible.
  • a device with low power consumption to replace a power-guzzling desktop you’re using now to record your video.
  • a secure device that gets automatic updates – especially important if you have one that isn’t updated and is vulnerable to hacking because you use port-forwarding to access it.
How much does it cost?
New: Our beta program page shows discounted prices on units that you can buy right now.

The Camect Home network video recorder is in beta test right now, so retail pricing has not been set yet.

The Camect Cloud adds cloud-based features to the Camect Home recorder such as easy remote viewing, alert notifications by email, shared video access, and cloud backup of alert video. Camect Cloud is an optional subscription service:

  • Camect Cloud use is free for your first two cameras, for the lifetime of your Camect Home recorder.
  • Additional cameras cost $2/month each until you have 5 cameras. Beyond that, extra cameras cost $1/month.

We hope you’ll love our service, but just in case, we offer hassle-free online cancellation of future Camect Cloud billing at any time.

A Camect Cloud subscription is not required to use your Camect Home recorder as a network video recorder without cloud features.

What do I need to get started?
Assuming that you already have an internet connection and a home network that uses it, you’ll need:

  • One or more IP cameras. (See recommended hardware if you don’t have any yet.)
  • A source of power at each camera location, i.e. a power outlet for cameras that use a power adaptor, or a network cable running back to a POE (“power over ethernet”) switch if you bought POE cameras which are powered over the network cable.
  • Ability to connect to your network at each camera location, i.e. a good wifi signal for wifi cameras, or a network cable connected to your home network if you buy wired cameras.
  • Camect Home network video recorder, which can be placed at any convenient point in your home, and requires a power outlet and a wired network connection.
  • A phone, laptop, or desktop computer to use to access Camect.
  • A Google email account. If you don’t have one, create one just to be used to sign into Camect.
What comes in the box?
    • Camect Home network video recoder.
    • Power supply. (US plug, input voltage 110-240V.)
    • A “quick start” card, telling you how to connect the recorder and find our web site.
    • 3ft ethernet cable, to be used to connect Camect Home to your network.
    • Mini-HDMI to HDMI cable. This won’t be needed unless there are problems setting up your Camect Home.
What is the difference between the gold and the cobalt (blue) Camect Home recorders?


The only difference (other than color) is that the cobalt units do not include the large internal disk. They are intended for use by customers who prefer to save video on a NAS (“Network-attached storage”) device or on an external USB drive.

Is there a way for me to experience Camect without buying a Camect Home recorder?

If you know someone with a Camect Home recorder, ask if they’re willing to temporarily share a camera, or access to their entire set of cameras, with you.

If not, contact us, and we can arrange for you to have temporary access to cloud-based demo of the system.

If you’re a tech guru who is comfortable reinstalling an OS from scratch,  and you have a spare PC sitting around,  contact us with details to see if your PC might be able to run a trial version of our software.  Your spare PC must have at least an intel 4th generation processor or better,  UEFI boot capability, 4GB ram, and at least 200MB disk.

Usage and Features

How long will my recorded video be stored?
Your video will be stored as long as the available disk space permits. For a typical home with 4-5 cameras of 1080p resolution and no movement occurring a large fraction of the day, you can expect several weeks of footage stored on the 1TB internal drive.

The more complete answer is that this depends on the number of cameras you have, the resolution of those cameras, and the amount of movement that the cameras pick up. Camect Home stores your video efficiently in scenes where nothing appears to be occurring, while also storing as much detail as possible in scenes of interest.

If you find that you need more storage than what is available on the internal drive, you can plug in an external USB drive, or you can use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device.

What are the benefits of storing video locally?
Longer viewable history and higher video quality at a lower cost than you could get if storing your video in the cloud.  🙂

Cloud providers that offer a month of video storage usually charge high, recurring monthly fees for the storage. By keeping your video locally, you avoid the monthly charge for disk space.

Constantly uploading your video to the cloud can also take up a significant fraction of the upload bandwidth on your internet connection, especially if you save video at high quality. A single 1080p camera may use 1-4 Mbps depending on the amount of activity it is capturing, and many internet providers limit the total upload bandwidth for your connection to 6-10 Mbps. If you want to have several cameras, or cameras with higher resolutions, you’ll likely have to sacrifice image quality when uploading continuously to the cloud.

Isn't cloud storage safer in the event of theft?
With a Camect Cloud subscription – which is much cheaper than paying for 30 days of video storage in the cloud – you can choose to automatically upload alert video (i.e. video from when unusual activity is detected) to a cloud provider of your choice. This gets you most of the benefit of uploading to the cloud without the cost and bandwidth usage that come with uploading everything.

Currently supported storage providers include Google Drive and Youtube. More will be added in future.

Is it easy to view my live and saved video when I'm away from home?
Very easy. Connect to https://home.camect.com/, log in, and select the Camect Home from which you want to see video — just as you would when viewing at home.

The experience feels much like using a cloud-based video provider, but your video is streamed directly to your viewing device from your Camect Home recorder rather than being kept in the cloud.

What is a P2P ("Peer to Peer") connection?
P2P, or “Peer to Peer” is the type of connection that Camect uses to access your video recorder and play your video. It means that your viewing device is in direct contact with your Camect Home recorder.

In case you wondered, the Camect Cloud service simply helps your Camect Home recorder and your viewing device find each other. It helps them establish a connection, and then steps out of the way. Camect’s cloud servers never see your video, or any of your other interaction with your Camect Home recorder.

Does P2P viewing work everywhere?
In our experience, which includes travel to several international locations, P2P connections to your Camect Home can be made in about 95% of situations you’ll want to view your video. However, you’ll occasionally find your phone on a network that has been configured to disallow P2P traffic. When this occurs, you can often use a VPN app on your phone to allow the connection to go through.

Using a good VPN app is quite simple – Install the app, and, when you need VPN, start the app and flip the switch to enable the VPN connection. That’s literally it (i.e. no other configuration of your Camect service is needed)! We have been happy with VPN Unlimited on Android in those rare scenarios that a P2P connection cannot be directly established.

I have multiple locations (e.g. my home and my business) to monitor. Can Camect handle this under a single account?
Yes, very easily. When you sign on to Camect Cloud, you’ll see a list of the various homes you own or have access to. You can expand their cameras inline on that page, or open a page showing the cameras from any one home at a time.

Cameras

Which types of camera work with Camect?

Currently, the easiest brands to use with Camect are Amcrest, Vstarcam, reolink, Foscam and Trivision. Their cameras should not require any manual configuration, and if the camera has a Pan/Tilt capability, that capability is supported by Camect.

Hikvision and Dahua cameras, popular with many enthusiasts, also work well. These cameras come set to use a static IP address when they are new. You’ll need to plug them in one at a time, allowing each one to be detected and configured before plugging in the next one.

Camect has more limited support for Annke, D-link, Hootoo, Samsung, and Uokoo cameras. Some of their camera models work well with no manual configuration, whereas others  may require manual help.

Nest cameras work too, on a purely experimental basis, as Nest could make changes that prevent them from working in future. We do not recommend that anyone depend on Nest support, but if you have Nest cameras already, you can use them to see how our offering compares to Nest’s, and to see that the video quality available from cheaper cameras is often on par or better than Nest.

Any camera that has a local video streaming url will work also with Camect, but unsupported cameras require manual configuration.

  • Cameras that support “ONVIF” all have a local video streaming url and should work.
  • Cameras sold specifically to work with a single cloud service (e.g. Arlo, Ring, Zmodo) do not have local video streaming support, and cannot be used with Camect.
  • Analog cameras (those with cable-like BNC connectors, rather than network cables or wifi) will not work, but can be connected to Camect Home using an IP encoder that has an rtsp url. Used Axis 2400+  IP encoders can be picked up on ebay for about $30.

Don’t forget that the set of supported cameras is always growing, and that you can manually configure Camect to retrieve video from any camera for which you know the video streaming url.

Is it easy to configure a new camera?

A supported camera is very easy to configure. Plug the camera into your network,  and Camect will automatically find it and set it up.

Other cameras may require that you take care of getting the camera accessible on your network, e.g. by following the manufacturer’s installation process. Once your camera is online, you may need to tell Camect the video streaming url for the camera in order to view video from it.

I don't own any cameras. How do I figure out what to buy?

We have suggestions for specific camera models on our hardware recommendations page.

I already have a working camera setup that uses another product. Can I try Camect without affecting my existing system?

Yes. When you claim ownership of your Camect Home recorder, uncheck the box that says you allow it to make configuration changes to your cameras. That way, you’ll be sure that Camect Home will not change any settings that your other system may be dependent upon – so you should be able to run both side by side.

Will battery-operated (aka "wireless") cameras work with Camect?

Camect records video continuously. We don’t support battery-operated models because continuous video recording will run down your batteries rapidly. If you have a battery-operated camera and know the local video streaming url, you may still add such a camera to Camect manually.

Security

Can anyone else see my video when I view my cameras remotely?

No. Your video is encrypted while in transit. It travels directly from your Camect Home recorder to your viewing device, without passing through any other computer that decrypts it. (This is in contrast to most cloud-based services, where your video is available unencrypted on the cloud server that hosts your content.)

Can anyone else steal my recorded video?

No, as long as you ensure that no one else has access to your Google account (i.e. don’t share your password), and ensure that your Camect Home is in a location that’s secure against theft.

Your Camect Home recorder can only be accessed via the Camect Cloud service, which uses your Google login to verify your identity.

If you worry that someone may steal your Google credentials, you can also set an additional access password that is unknown to anyone else (not even to Camect, Inc).

Why do you require that I have a Google account?

We’re confident that most of you would rather not have yet another password to remember,  and we’d rather know as little about you as we can — so we’d rather not store a password for you. You prove your identity to Google, and then Google vouches for you to Camect Cloud.

When I use my Google account with Camect, what am I allowing Camect to do with my Google account?

You are allowing Google to tell us your email address, and to share some very limited profile information (such as your profile picture) with us. Camect isn’t allowed to access or modify any information in your Google account.

If you enable sync’ing of alert videos to a Google drive account, you are separately allowing Camect to create a directory on your Google drive, and to add and delete files in that directory. (This is not granted when you sign in with Google. You’ll be asked to permit if you try to use it, and you can configure sync’ing to use the Google drive of a google user other than the user you sign in as.)

Is using Camect safer than using "port forwarding" for remote viewing?

Yes, much safer, because your cameras and your Camect Home recorder, remain protected from hacking attempts by your internet firewall.

When you use port forwarding, you ask your firewall to make your cameras directly accessible to incoming traffic from the internet. This is risky for two reasons:

  • Hackers can probe your cameras and will be able to access them if they know your password.
  • Your cameras accept incoming connections from all sources. This means that they will accept connections made by hackers, and may be hacked if the software handling those connections has flaws. Most camera brands have released software with security holes from time to time, and unfortunately few of them automatically update the software on your camera as new bugs are found.

Camect uses P2P connections (described earlier in this FAQ) for video viewing. When you view your camera remotely:

  • No changes are made to your firewall, so your firewall protects your cameras and your Camect Home recorder from all unsolicited traffic from the internet.
  • Camect Home does not accept any inbound connections. It connects only when instructed to contact a viewing device that has been authorized based on the verified identity of the user seeking to connect.

Lastly, in the unlikely event that any security flaws need to be corrected on your Camect Home recorder, it will automatically receive and apply updates to correct them.

Is using Camect less secure than using a VPN?

Using a VPN to connect to your home network is something that’s too complex for most home network users to bother with, but it is very secure, because you configure it with a password known only to you.

Using Camect Home with an extra access password is comparable to using a VPN, but is much easier to set up. Using Camect Home without the extra access password is very slightly less secure (because it’s vulnerable to a compromise of your Google login credentials) but usually still much less risky than using port forwarding, and a good compromise for most users.

Camect Home Recorder

How big is it?

About 5″ x 5″ x 1″ or, more precisely, 12cm x 12cm x 2.8cm.

Where does my Camect Home recorder need to be placed?

Place your Camect Home recorder in a convenient indoor location where you have a network connection. Camect Home is designed to operate at normal room temperatures, like other consumer electronic devices. Please ensure that you leave a few inches around it to allow for adequate air flow, and don’t place it somewhere where temperatures are excessive (e.g. an attic).

Does it have a warranty?

Yes, if it fails within 12 months we’ll replace it. You’ll just have to pay the cost of shipping the failed unit back to us.

Will it work outside the United States?

Yes, it will work in most countries. If you try to use it outside the US, be aware that:

  • Our servers are located in the USA, so
    • Connecting to your home will be slow if you have poor connectivity to the US.
    • After a connection has been established most operations will be fast, because communication is directly between your browser and your device using P2P.
  • If your country does not allow connections to Google servers at all (e.g. in China?) you won’t be able to use any Camect Cloud services.
    • The Camect network video recorder can operate without access to Camect Cloud after it has been activated, but
    • There is no way to activate it without access to Camect Cloud.
  • All machines ship with a US-style power plug. You’ll need an adapter to convert it.
  • We don’t currently ship outside the US. Contact us if you’re really interested and need some help to buy our device.