Using an IP Camera and TinyCam Pro Instead of a Baby Monitor

When my wife and I started putting together our baby registry, I left most of the clothes, bottles, and bedding choices up to her. Sure we picked some themes and colors together, but she didn't really need me for that. But when it came to the baby monitor I took that on myself.

I didn't want one of the traditional baby monitors with a camera and portable display because the displays are generally small, low resolution, not easy to zoom in and out on. After some research I went ahead and purchased the Amcrest ProHD Shield 960p camera and my experience using it with TinyCam Pro has been great.

The camera and TinyCam combo give us all the features of traditional baby monitors (night vision, two-way audio, motion detection, etc) but also allow us to take advantage of several other benefits.

The biggest pro is that we aren't tied to a single screen. My wife and I can both access the camera feed on our phones at the same time, or pull up the feed on our trusty, old Nexus 7 while watching TV or working on other projects without tying up our phones.

With TinyCam you can enable "Background audio" which will allow you to just stream the audio and not the video. This allows me to leave my phone on my bedside table with just the audio coming in and not have to leave my screen on all night with the image lighting up our room. It also supports Android's picture-in-picture mode so I can keep the video feed going while using other apps in the foreground.

Both the camera itself and the TinyCam app have built-in web servers that allow you to access the feed from a web browser when outside your home (if you do the correct port forwarding), but I currently do not take advantage of this for security reasons. But since you can turn the web server on and off with TinyCam, you can easily just enable it on a spare device if you have a babysitter and want to check up on your child.

My only complaint is that sometimes the camera feed gets bogged down and the feed will dip below 10 frames per second. I'm not entirely sure if this is the camera, my network, or some other factor but it doesn't happen often.

Pro Tips

  • Give the camera a static IP on your network
  • Enable Background Audio in the TinyCam app (toggle in side menu)
  • Use tasker to automatically turn up the media volume when the app is launched
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