Look out for the future, because you never know what it might bring…
Question #91913 posted on 12/26/2018 7:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

We have RV parking on the side of our house. That concrete slab is where our 4 and 2 year old play. I don’t feel comfortable with them out there alone because I can’t see them. The area is safe but I’m worried about kidnappers. I would like them to be outside for 2 hours joyfully playing but I can’t sit out there everyday. I need to fold laundry and get stuff done. I want a camera out there that I can view a live feed from on my TV. We have the Amazon FireStick and whatever apps are on there. I don’t need recording, just live feed. I can turn the live feed on just when they’re out there/ It doesn’t need to always be on. Is what I’ve described a possibility? I suppose I could also watch on my phone, but TV in addition to phone would be great. We have a modest income and need a working but not high end camera.

-Probably paranoid

A:

Dear Safety First, 

I'm far from an expert on any of this stuff, but I did quite a bit of research to see what kinds of things would be a good fit for your family from what you described, and it turns out it (appears) to be much easier than expected. 

Because you have the Amazon Fire Stick for your TV, this video gives a pretty good overview on how to set up a SmartHome camera, a Nest Camera, or other similar things to your TV, and from what I can tell, you could also watch it on your phone. It all functions through your Amazon account.

I'm not sure if you have an Amazon Echo or Alexa to accompany anything else that you own, but they're actually decently affordable, and some of the more highly rated compatible cameras are also pretty cheap. Based on the video I linked, you can hook up the camera to your TV and have the whole thing connected to an Echo Dot or Alexa, and control it from basically anywhere. If I were doing this as a mother, that's probably the route I would take because of the ease of access. 

There are other ways of doing it, like buying an IP camera that has Ethernet access and hooking it up to your house directly, or a camera that can hook up via HDMI to your TV... but that sounds complicated to me.

The last idea I had involves TV/Phone compatibility... there are lots of cheap cameras that connect to your phone on an app, and then when you want to view the live feed on your TV (if this is possible for you) you can just hook your phone up to the TV or 'cast' the image onto your TV. Samsung, Google, and Apple all have some version of that, but I'm not sure how that works with Amazon Firestick. 

I hope this helps at least a little bit. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse