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Cable Companies Using Technology To Break Into The Home Security Business

BOSTON (CBS) - Katy Sullivan-Stafford, who works for Comcast, gets her cable from her employer, and now she gets her home security system from the company, as well.

It's called "Xfinity Home" and it allows her to keep tabs on her house and her kids over the internet.

"It really provided us a whole solution for our family. Not just home security but a solution to watch and monitor the family," she says.

Five wireless cameras and a motion sensor are strategically placed around the home, letting the Somerset mom know in an instant who is going in or out.

"Xfinity Home" provides a completely customizable security system. In Katy's case, that means getting text messages as soon as the kids get home from school or even from a night out.

On top of security, families can also remotely control every inch of their homes. Using a smartphone or a laptop, customers can remotely change camera settings, arm or disarm the alarm, switch on lights, unlock doors, or even adjust the thermostat while away from home.

Comcast customers pay $40-a-month plus the cost of equipment. The most basic camera sells for $100.

Verizon offers a similar service for $10-a-month plus the cost of equipment. The basic plan starts around $220.

You'll need to check with Verizon and Comcast to find out exactly which services are available in your town.

Personal security expert Robert Siciliano relies on a traditional home security system. He questions whether a cable company can match their expertise.

"Security companies have done a really good job of perfecting the art of the home security system and keeping us safe and secure. Whether or not you want to have your cable company or your phone company to be your security company... I'm not quite sure that's in your best interest," he says.

Siciliano points out that if security is your main concern, you'll want to make sure that whichever alarm system you choose, it connects to the local police department.

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