I was shopping yesterday with my wife at a large retail store that caters to expectant mothers, and was shocked to see how expensive baby monitors were. They were playing a video touting the monitor as viewable from a tablet, PC, or phone and cost upwards of $200 (most over $250). With twins, we try to save wherever we can, and a pan/tilt camera I had lying around was a no-brainer.
I can view it at work, and in the house, we can check it on our phones or Ipads. We even had a live feed for the out of town grandparents for a while. And all for $40...
Step 1: Get the Camera
I bought one camera at Fry's electronics, and it cost me $130. I then purchased on off Amazon for $37. There is no difference in capabilities of either camera. The control interfaces are a little different and the more expensive camera came with it's own apps, but the generic ones work better anyway.
This is a camera I used: EasyN FS-613B-M166
Step 2: Setup the Camera
If you never plan to view the camera outside your home, just follow the instructions that came with the camera. It will come with or you can download a IP Camera search that will show you the IP address for the camera, you will need that for your phone/tablet.
If you would like to view it from outside the home, you will need to know how to configure your router for Port Forwarding. This part gave me fits and I hung up the project and only revisited it a few weeks before we had our daughters. Turns out it is pretty easy. Just got here and find the instructions that pertain to your router. You will also need to know your ip address outside your home. You can find that by going to this website.
Either way, you will need to download the apps. I have had good luck with EasyN FS on my phone, and a similar EasyN app on my ipad. The more expensive Swann camera I purchased first has it's own set of apps, but they are not free. As I said, the interfaces vary a little bit, the Swann camera controls are reversed from the EasyN app, but I don't typically pan around the room anyway.
Step 3: Setup the App
This is the icon of the app I use. I tried several free apps, unfortunately the same app isn't available on the Ipad. However, the app from the same company on the Ipad app has a headphone feature where you can hear the babies on command.
Setting it up is as easy as entering the IP address (that you got off the IP Search, or your Public IP address after you have setup port forwarding on your router (if you are planning to view it outside your home), and the username/password. It is very important to change the default username/password. Some of the cameras come with two way audio. I placed an external microphone plug in ours just in case anyone viewing ever decides to try to say 'hi' to the sleeping babies (read, my parents).
You can also view it just by entering the IP address in Firefox, Internet Explorer or any other internet browser. You'll be prompted for the username/password and then have to select your view.
The second picture is a typical view of the interface, this one from a PC. You can pan/tilt the camera and move it around the room. The real benefit of this camera for us is I can see which baby needs a pacifier before I enter the room and without having to turn on the light/risk waking up the other baby. The view is color when there is enough light, and black/white when there is not.