What’s the difference between streaming, monitoring and storing video from your security cameras?

Video streaming to laptop sat on a tableIn this piece we break down all that terminology that comes with streaming, monitoring and storing video from your home security cameras. We look in particular at smooth video, where and how to store your footage, and the best way to monitor your property using hi-tech residential security solutions.

The three areas we’ll cover are streaming, monitoring and storage.

NOTE: You can jump to any part of this post by clicking the links in the table of contents

Table of Contents

  1. Media Streaming
  2. Live Streaming Security Cameras
  3. Home Security Video Storage Solutions
  4. Remote Home Monitoring Kits – Motion Sensor Boxes
  5. Managing Multiple Cameras Simultaneously

Media Streaming

This relates to the technique used to transfer data in a way that allows it to process as a continuous and steady stream. Since the birth of the internet, streaming technologies have become a fundamental focus so that users can enjoy multimedia files. There are still tens of millions of people who don’t have access to high speed internet. This is why streaming is still so important. What streaming does is allow video to start playing without having to wait for the entire file to download (think YouTube). From the client side, the connection is via a web browser from where the downloading data must arrive as a steady stream to whatever program is collecting and converting the data for viewing.[1]

Live Streaming Security Cameras

Thanks to internet and security camera technology, it’s now possible to keep an eye on your property from afar. In fact, you can be anywhere in the world. All you have to do is just login to your system and see what your camera sees. Setting up live streaming video via your camera’s settings has proved to be a godsend for home owners. It also brings with it real peace of mind. Most of the modern home security systems nowadays offer secure media streaming and delivery as a standard feature.

Home Security Video Storage Solutions

Setting up streaming to phone and laptopYou need to store all that footage your security cameras capture somewhere. Without storage you will lose valuable evidence as you won’t be able to go back and view an event. There are a number of storage options, but the ones that suit most home setups include:

  1. On-board storage (physical)
  2. The Cloud (online)

#1 On-Board Storage

A lot of the modern home security cameras have slots for memory cards, usually microSD cards. This on-board type of storage has its benefits, and saving on cloud storage fees is one of the top considerations for a lot of people (see below). It’s a good idea to invest in a 64GB microSD card as the 32GB ones will fill up and overwrite too fast. The main downside to saving data to a physical drive is that it’s lost forever if a thief takes off with your camera along with other valuables.[2]

Amcrest supplies an outdoor video home security kit which includes a hard drive which enables you to record a month worth of footage. It is worthwhile checking out if you are interested in an outdoor system.

#2 Cloud Storage (The Cloud)

Cloud recording (filming and saving data online) is the preferred choice for some people. The reasons are obvious in that if the burglar steals your camera you still have valuable footage. You’re likely to get a clear shot of their face too as they approach the lens. Most home security camera manufacturers provide cloud storage packages. These plans may range from 24 hours up to a few weeks. The latter is certainly handy if you’re going away on a long vacation. Some companies give a free plan to buyers of their systems but most only allow storage of a few hours at a time. That’s not much of an option, but at least it lets you try the service for free. Once you have an account you can log in to the cloud and view your footage at any time night or day from anywhere in the world.

There are additional storage options, click the link to read about other methods for recording or storing video footage.

Remote Home Monitoring Kits – Motion Sensor Boxes

You can monitor your home remotely using live streaming video. There’s also another layer of security you can add to this, which is sensor monitoring as well as camera monitoring. Motion sensors are little boxes that you place wherever you need them. Controlling and securing your residence from the comfort of a smartphone is now very doable. Being able to check in and monitor your property when you’re away answers the question that used to have to wait until you returned home:[2]

“Is everything okay back at home?”

All you do to get started with home monitoring kits is to download the free app for IOS, Android or Windows phone. It’s then just a case of following the onscreen instructions to get set up and running. This is certainly a more affordable solution than the traditional home security options of the past.

Easy Setup

A typical home monitoring kit is ready in three simple steps:

  1. Plug the cables into the hub using the power supply cord and Ethernet cable. An App will then prompt you to give your home a unique name. Depending on the monitoring solution, there may be other prompts too. Just follow the simple steps.
  2. Connect the monitoring devices (sensor boxes and/or cameras) as indicated in the instructions. Once you have the devices connected, you can then place them in various locations around your home.
  3. If you are interested in placing your cameras outside, then read this post “Don’t Make The Mistake Of Positioning Your Outdoor Security Cameras In The Wrong Place”.
  4. You should be able to name each one too so that you can identify them easily. For example, you can use simple names like lounge camera, kitchen sensor, master bedroom, etc., or whatever names make the most sense to you. This is a simple way to monitor multiple devises
  5. Get familiar with your home monitoring interface.

A lot of these systems have a no thrills, easy-to-use graphical user interface or GUI. The three home page modes typically include:

  1. ARM (AWAY)
  2. ARM (STAY)

Note that some systems may use different terminology, but they all offer pretty much the same features. For the purpose of this article we’ll use the three terms above.

If no one is home you want to set “ARM (AWAY).” Once you do that your home is on full-alert. Just like with a camera’s motion detection feature, motion sensor boxes will also send out alerts if there is unexpected entry or motion of some kind. When you are home and off to bed, select ALARM (STAY). Now your home monitoring system is in partial alert, detecting unexpected entry based on your setup.

If you’re home during the day you can just select the DISARM mode. This makes sense because you don’t want to be receiving alerts all day long as you move around the home. Most of these monitoring kits are fully customizable, allowing you to create a secure environment for you and your family.

Managing Multiple Cameras Simultaneously

A lot of these video monitoring systems come with simple yet impressive “camera view” software. From the screen you get to view live video of all your cameras on your computer at once. Most of them will facilitate four cameras simultaneously. These software applications are lightweight and allow you to change the arrangement and preview options with a few clicks of a mouse.

This concludes our piece on today’s home security options. If you have anything to add, please leave your comments below, we’d love to hear you views.


  1. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/streaming.html
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2013/dec/19/sd-card
  3. http://www.technewsworld.com/story/57378.html
  4. https://www.techopedia.com/definition/26535/cloud-storage

About Mark Bickmore

Hi, my name is Mark Bickmore. I'm an Engineer, who has a keen interest in home security and keeping my family, property and valuables safe from burglars. This website was set up to help me explore the research, facts and myths about burglars and burglary. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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