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Home Security Shootout: Which Watchdog is Leader of the Pack?
The hot trend in today’s home-security market is to bundle home-control technology into the same package as the alarm system. Instead of a sensor just sending an emergency alert message to a central office, these systems can also turn on lights inside and outside your home while simultaneously triggering video cameras to record what’s happening. If fire sets off a smoke alarm, these systems can automatically shut down your HVAC system to prevent smoke from being spread throughout the house.
After several months of testing hybrid home-security/home-control systems from three major service providers, we’ve concluded that the two great technologies go great together, just like peanut butter and chocolate. We’ve also found that the systems can be expensive, that elaborate systems can be difficult to configure, and that some service providers make shopping for a system much more difficult than it need be.
Allow our pain to be your gain: We’ll provide a deep dive on every component, tell you which devices we think are essential (and which are just nice to have), explain how the systems work, and provide valuable tips on how to avoid getting screwed when you go shopping for one. We’ll wrap up with hands-on reviews of dealer-installed systems from ADT and Vivint, and a DIY system from FrontPoint Security.
Computer type PC/Desktop System Manufacturer/Model Number Home Built Desktop By DataTech OS Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1 CPU Intel i5-2550K, Differing ~4.4-4.8GHz No built in GPU Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 Memory 16GB G.Skill Sniper 1866MHz @ 2133MHz 2x8GB Graphics Card ASUS GTX650TIB-DC2OC-2GD5, (650TI Boost) Sound Card Onboard Realtek 5-1 Monitor(s) Displays Samsung P2570HD Screen Resolution 1920x1080
Keyboard E-Z Eyes, bright yellow keys with large characters Mouse steelseries SENSEI Laser Pro Gaming PSU Corsair HX650W Case Inwin Dragon Rider Cooling Hyper 212 EVO w/two Noctua fans, push-pull, @1300 RPM Hard Drives Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD for OS, 500GB Seagate Constellation (Enterprise drive) for Data Internet Speed 48-51Mbs Mbs down, 11 Mbs up Xfinity Cable Antivirus Norton Internet Security 2013 Browser IE 10, Opera, Pale Moon if needed Other Info 4 case fans, LG BluRay-RE, ASUS DVD-RW, Mr. Fusion power supply, 1.21 gigawatts.