I have a two-year-old child, and I have a computer in almost every room in my house. When I have to do something elsewhere in the house, itâ€™s a real pain to stop what Iâ€™m doing and go see if my daughter is going to dive out of bed.
As soon as I realized that because of laptops, I already have webcams in every room of my house, I decided that there should be an iPad / iPhone application that would allow me to wirelessly broadcast a stream from a webcam in real time.
In fact, there are many applications! Too much to write here. I also realized that most of them don’t work very well. After going through about 6 or 7 apps, I ended up with 3 that work pretty well. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, I’ll go over three apps I’ve tested and verified that work well when streaming live webcam feeds to iPad or iPhone over Wi-Fi.
I haven’t tested all the 3G / 4G remote viewing capabilities because it doesn’t look like it will work well in any app and I don’t need this feature. The ones I mentioned below cost a few bucks, but they are worth it because the free ones are terrible.
Note. If you have a standalone camera or IP camera, there might already be an app built specifically for that, so check them out first as your own app will always perform better. For example, Nest has its own Nest camera app, and Netgear has an Arlo camera app.
The first app I discovered while doing a basic search was the $ 4.99 iCam It seems to be the most popular and has the highest ratings in the AppStore.
The setup is pretty straightforward. Just install Windows or Mac software and install the app on your iPad or iPhone. The Windows software interface looks like this:
You can add USB, Firewire, or built-in camera, or you can click the Ethernet / Wi-Fi tab and add an IP camera if you like. Just enter the iCam login and iCam password for the camera and click the “Start” button. That’s all!
Now go to the app on your iPhone or iPad and it will automatically find the source camera if it’s on the same network. The iPad version of the app is also meant to be used on the big screen, so that’s a plus.
Overall, the setup process was simple, but the video quality was not satisfying. The video was very choppy and pixelated for some reason. The program has a slider that allows you to move it from the best frame rate to the best image quality, but none of them worked too well.
When I moved it to a higher frame rate, the video was delayed by a few seconds and was very grainy. When I moved it to a better quality, the image got better and the latency got worse!
I thought it had something to do with the computer or my Wi-Fi network, but when I installed the other two apps I’m going to mention, the video quality was much better and the latency was usually less than a second. I still recommend this app because it is very much appreciated and it could just be a problem with my setup.
It looks like they are trying to promote the Pro version of their app more and this may be the reason for the lower video quality. However, the Pro version costs $ 10, which, IMHO, is quite a lot.
Of all the three apps, AirCam is probably my favorite. It worked well, with a little lag, and the video quality was pretty good, especially for the cheap integrated webcam on my laptop three years ago.
AirCam also allows you to add IP cameras, which is another plus. You can also remotely access it if you want, but this will require additional router configuration and so on, which I did not do.
If you click Options, you can enable night vision, set up remote access, set up a listening port, set up recording, motion detection, email notifications, and more.
The program has several options, including the ability to choose a resolution, which really made a big difference. One of the drawbacks is the iPad / iPhone app.
This is a little underdeveloped in the sense that when you start watching a video stream, there is no way to go back to the main menu! You literally need to exit the application and then return to it. Very strange and hopefully this will be fixed in future releases. Another downside is $ 7.99! Expensive if you ask me.
Overall, however, the app works well and does a great job of streaming webcam videos, and the setup process was again very simple. It automatically finds sources and lists them in the app.
Update: JumiCam has been discontinued and the app no ??longer exists! I was unable to find a third app with this feature. All other apps now turn your iPhone or iPad into a webcam, which is completely different. I will write a separate post about these applications.
The iPad app isn’t optimized for the iPad interface, so you see everything in a smaller iPhone-sized window. I hope they release a version soon that takes advantage of the extra space on the iPad.
The last drawback is that you can only use it with webcams connected to your computer, not IP cameras. However, it worked for me because I only used built-in webcams on Windows computers.
Video quality is what sets JumiCam apart. Apparently, they wrote their optimization algorithms and therefore the quality is good. I would have preferred the JumiCam AirCam if they had an optimized version for the iPad as the price is much better.
So these are three apps you can use to wirelessly stream your webcam to your iPhone or iPad. If you have used another app or software, or have problems setting them up, please leave a comment. Enjoy!