When setting up your cameras, you will see a dropdown allowing you to select "Monitor" or "Record":
Monitor Mode: Monitors the health of your camera and allows viewing live in reduced quality/frame-rate
Record Mode: Records & monitors the health of your camera and allows viewing live in full quality/frame-rate
The major advantage to the monitor mode is you can monitor 10x as many devices as your Tetherbox can record:
E.g. Tetherbox Pico with a 10 channel limit can monitor 100 cameras.
Your Tetherbox will use a combination of:
Pinging the device
Using the device's API to check health status (where supported)
Requesting a stream from the camera every minute
Monitor mode will also allow you to view the live view from these camera at reduced frame-rate.
Record mode is an extension of Monitor mode. You will get all of the benefits of Monitor mode, with the addition:
The camera will be recorded by Tether locally and/or to the cloud
Tether will create time-lapse and "best image" snapshots for events
Tether will perform internal foreground / background analysis to generate events
Tether will monitor the camera's analytics events (optional)