How does a peephole camera work?

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From apartments to hotel rooms, peepholes can be found in almost any habitational space. They provide a safe way of accessing who’s knocking at the door and what their intentions might be.

However, as home security technology becomes more sophisticated, peepholes can also become something more than a mere hole in the door. Peephole cameras allow you to remotely access who is knocking at the door and even record their movements within your property.

But how does a peephole camera work?

How does a peephole camera work_featured

What is a peephole?

Peepholes are small openings in doors that allow a viewer to peek outside. They are either unilateral, which means that only the person behind the door is able to see through them, or they have a little flap that can be used to prevent people outside from viewing the house’s interior.

Peepholes are usually made with fisheye lenses (to allow for a wider field of view) and allow viewers to see who is at the door without announcing their presence.

A technological peephole

Home security technology improvements have made consumer-grade cameras accessible to most homeowners. While these cameras started out as bulky devices, they also evolved and became smaller and smaller. They are now small (and inexpensive) enough to be installed in most front doors without breaking the bank.

While a peephole camera might not exactly fit the definition of a peephole (as there is no hole for the viewer to peek through), they provide a much better alternative to the traditional method. But we will get to that in an instant…

The main components of a peephole camera

A peephole camera is basically a camera that is small enough to be disguised as a peephole. They are usually equipped with fisheye lenses for a wider field of view and have a receiver where users can monitor the footage.

The camera is either physically or wirelessly connected to the receiver. While cheaper models have physical receivers that need to be installed inside the house, more modern devices have the ability to transmit their footage over wi-fi and do not need any additional devices besides the camera itself.

Peephole cameras can also have bidirectional microphones, infrared LEDs for night vision, knocking sensors, and batteries. The components vary according to which particular model you buy.

How a peephole camera records and transmits images

Peephole cameras are usually equipped with either proximity or knocking sensors or are hardwired to the doorbell. Once their sensors are triggered, peephole cameras start recording automatically and transmit their footage either to an in-house receiver or to a mobile app.

Some models also have always-on functionality. Besides monitoring who is at the door, these devices can also effectively act as security cameras. They are good alternatives for homeowners who don’t want to invest in extra security devices.

What are the advantages of using a peephole camera?

The main advantage of using a peephole camera is the added security of knowing who is knocking at the door, even if you are away from it. Another great benefit is the ability to record and constantly monitor your front porch. This prevents you from having to buy an extra security camera.

Peephole cameras are also very easy to install. Not only that, but they are also relatively well-hidden—peephole cameras are disguised as regular peepholes, so potential home invaders won’t know that they are being monitored. Video doorbells are bigger and more noticeable, so thieves can get to them before trying to break into your home.

The disadvantages of peephole cameras

But peephole cameras also have some disadvantages that you need to consider before buying one. For starters, due to their size, they are usually more expensive than other video doorbell devices.

Peephole cameras are also easy to block. Thieves could cover the peephole with their hands or by using tape, preventing you from knowing what is going on outside.

Some peephole camera systems might also not easily integrate with your other home security devices. If you have a CCTV camera system set up throughout your house, you probably will not be able to access the peephole footage from the same app you access the other footage from.

What can we expect from peephole cameras in the future?

Besides increased framerates and image and audio resolutions, it is hard to imagine in what way peephole cameras could evolve. As with other home appliances, peephole cameras are becoming increasingly smarter. Some models are able to integrate seamlessly into most IoT home networks.

Newer models have complex sensors that can detect when someone is coming to the door, even before they knock. There are also models that feature privacy zones, which can prevent certain areas in the camera’s field of view from being recorded.

Much like Ring cameras, the more modern peephole cameras also have two-way audio and allow users to communicate at a distance with the person outside their door. We can expect to see all this technology improved in the future for a better overall experience, but we are not expecting any kind of revolutionary breakthrough that will change the way we interact with these devices.