DIY or Pay: Save money, protect home by installing a video doorbell yourself

HOUSTON – Thieves love to steal packages right off your front step. Doorbell cameras can help to stop it from happening to you.

There are home security cameras on every block these days, but you don't have to be a security expert to install the devices that let you see your home in real time. From Nest to iSee, there are a slew of doorbell video cameras you can install yourself. You can see some of the highest-rated brands here.

You can install one of the most popular, the Ring Video Doorbell, for free yourself or pay about $120 to have it professionally installed.  

"It's very simple," said Manuel Mercado, co-owner of Merc Technical Solutions. Mercado installs and connects security cameras and systems all over Houston. He says the whole gamut of Ring products are some of the easiest to use. 

Ring makes four doorbell models ranging in price from $99.99 to $499.99. We picked the base model because there is no wiring required. 

First you pick the best spot for your camera. Since the base model does not have to replace your existing doorbell, you can put it in a different spot.

A thin plate mounts to your wall with four screws. The Ring Doorbell pops right in. You have to download the Ring app to introduce the device to your home's WiFi and phone. The app will guide you through the setup, which includes setting the sensitivity for the motion sensor on your camera so every passing car doesn't send a notification to your phone.    

When it's complete, you'll get an alert on your phone anytime someone walks near your door or rings your doorbell. You can talk to anybody, even if you're not at home.

Two small security screws secure the doorbell to your home, but you will need to take it off and charge it about every two months. 

You can hardwire the other pricier ring doorbells, but you must have a working doorbell to do that. With any of the models, you  have to pay $30 a year if you want Ring to record and store your doorbell videos so you can go back and see them later. Otherwise, you can see the video in real time if someone is at your door, but if someone steals a package and you want to send it to police or your neighbors, you won't have access to that video unless you pay the $30 annual fee to Ring.