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How Do Video Baby Monitors Work?

November 27, 2018

For new parents, a baby monitor is an essential piece of hardware for the nursery. There are a lot of baby items to choose from, but you could say video monitors are something all parents want or need for their new little one. Like all baby products on the market, there are the good, the better, and the best to choose from. Below we discuss both audio and video monitors to help you determine the best fit for your family’s needs.

How Video Baby Monitors Work

There are mainly three different types of baby monitors: analog, digital, and wifi-based.


Analog is the oldest form of a baby monitor. This type of monitor is as simple as the radios they used for WWII. One side is the receiver and the other side is the transmitter. The transmitter picks up sounds with a microphone and transmits it to the receiver via radio signals.  


Digital is similar to analog in that it has one receiver and one transmitter. The difference here is how the signal is transmitted. Each piece of the system transmits over multiple frequencies in a semi-random pattern, known only to the monitor set. This transmitting method, known as Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), is the monitor’s way of securing the signal and reducing interference. It also makes video transmissions possible.


Wifi-based is the newest form. The difference between the wifi based version and the two previous versions is that wifi based monitors do not transmit directly to a receiver. Instead, these monitors transmit to a local wifi router. In this way, the monitor functions like anything else on the network, making it possible to see your baby from anywhere in the house, or world, with the correct login.

How Private Is My Signal?

The answer to this question depends on which kind of baby monitor you are using. Analog audio-only monitors broadcast over an open channel. As a result, any receiver on the same channel can pick up the signal if they are close enough. Because digital and video monitors use FHSS, their signals are basically encrypted, as only the transmitter and receiver know the channel switching pattern.

As for Wifi-based, your privacy depends solely on the security of your router in your home. If, for example, you set up your router and never changed the default password, anyone who can guess your brand of router can access your baby monitor’s video feed. It is much harder for a hacker to brute force into your router if your password is four random words. This is an easy way to add to the character count without making the password harder to remember.

The Advantages of a Wifi Monitor

Wifi-based monitors almost always include a camera, allowing for a video feed. Frequently, these cameras come with infrared, night vision, or some other low light option. They also make remote viewing possible via a companion app, meaning that with a baby monitor and iPhone, for example, you can watch your baby while you are away. Additionally, many are equipped with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), allowing you to talk to your baby through the app.

Other benefits of a wifi-based video monitor sometimes include:

  • Pulse monitors
  • Motion monitors
  • Preset lullabies
  • Night lights
  • Pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera functionality
  • And more

Lastly, wifi-enabled monitors allow you to record and keep what’s transmitted, so you can track sleep patterns, or prove that your little one is climbing out of his or her crib, or even just turn their adorable sleeping into a digital keepsake.

With everything wifi-based video monitors can do, it’s easy to see why they’ve become so popular so quickly. They give you the freedom to check in on baby from anywhere through your iPhone or other smart device, and can ease many of your worries. Just make sure you’re using a good password, and soon enough everyone in the house will be sleeping better at night.

Owlet Cam

If you’ve been following Owlet, you would have seen that we just announced our new product, the Owlet Cam. The Owlet Cam streams 1080p HD video of your baby directly to your smartphone and keeps you informed of your baby’s needs with proactive notifications. It gives you the ability to hear, talk to and see your baby from anywhere. Pair it with the Smart Sock for detailed insights into your baby’s wellness! Learn more about our new Owlet Cam here.

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Avatar for Channing Merrell

Channing Merrell

Hi! I'm Channing and I'm a proud member of the Owlet team!

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2 thoughts on “How Do Video Baby Monitors Work?


Hi there! Owlet products require a 2.4 ghz connection.


Linda P Conner

Does the Owlet monitor duo require a specific router? What are the specifications that are needed?