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How to turn an Android phone into an intelligent video security system

If you have an old Android phone lying around you can create a fairly powerful home security system. There are two steps: First, turn the phone into a camera. Second, set up the security software on a PC or Mac.

1. On your android device:

  • Download IP Webcam from the Google Play Store.
  • Run the app and select "Video preferences" from the IP Webcam settings screen.
  • Change the video resolution to 1280x720 for HD video, or keep it at 640x480 for older devices.
  • Go back one screen to the main IP Webcam settings.
  • It’s a good idea to set up a login and password under Connection Settings.
  • Scroll down the list of settings and click “Start Server”.
  • The app should start displaying a video feed and show an IP address and port number near the bottom of the video preview screen. Make a note of those numbers -- you will need to refer back to them shortly. (e.g., http://192.168.0.161:8080)

2. On your computer:

  • Download Sighthound Video at www.sighthound.com/download and open the program.
  • In the menu bar, click Tools -> Add Camera
  • Change the Camera Type dropdown to “Network (IP) Camera”, Manufacturer to “Android Device”, and click the Next button.
  • Select "IP Webcam" from the dropdown box next to Camera Type. 
  • Enter the following for the camera settings:
    • IP Address: The numeric IP address shown on your IP Webcam screen (e.g., 192.168.0.161)
    • HTTP Port: 8080 (Or the unique number following the colon after the IP address shown on your IP Webcam screen)
    • Username/Password: If you set up a user name and password in IP Webcam, enter them here.
    • Scale video to: Select the video resolution you chose in IP Webcam's Video Preferences
    • Click Next

  • You should now see a preview of the camera’s video from within Sighthound Video.
    • Click Next and give the camera’s location a name (e.g., Front, Garage, Pool, etc.)
    • Click Next and Finish to save your newly added camera.