The last few days our neighborhood email list has been abuzz with talk about package theft, not necessarily from mailboxes, but people grabbing packages moments after being delivered to a doorstep. The only case where the police had something to go on was a house with clear video of the car pulling up to grab the package – and this was a case where the homeowners were home at the time of the package grab. We’ve been discussing video surveillance around our house because we live on a hill without a clear view of the front gate or garage and a camera would help with security, and also for positive things, like seeing when guests have arrived. The problem is that every security camera set I see makes it look like we’re living in a convenience store or a prison. Worse than that is that they all have cords, even the wireless ones. Newsflash: power cords are wires. If your product has one, it’s not something most people consider wireless. I want something wireless, high quality, nice looking, and at a decent price. It turns out, the answer is coming in January.
Netgear unveiled Arlo recently, a smart home system that is battery powered (NO CORDS! NO WIRES!), weatherproof (can work indoors or out), HD, reasonably priced, and get this, it’s pretty. It has real design. No one will mistake this for a convenience store security camera.
Here’s what we love about Arlo:
It’s indoor/outdoor and the cameras can be moved. While outdoor ones may want to be securely bracketed, there are small stands for the indoor ones to hold the cameras securely and allow them to be positioned correctly, but best of all, the cameras can come off the base easily to be moved around the house, as needed. If we had an Arlo system right now, I’d move the cameras to focus on the secret areas hiding Christmas gifts and on the holiday candy jars in the kitchen. Both seem to have been touched, but without proof, we don’t know who to bust. Of course, you don’t have to ever move your cameras. They blend in on a bookshelf, under kitchen cabinets, in a ceiling corner…really anywhere, and they have night vision.
The cameras are truly cord-and-wire free. They are battery powered, and the cameras are motion activated to prevent battery drain. You should only have to change your batteries as often as you change the ones in your smoke alarm. Because the system communicates through a base, motion at one camera can trigger the next camera. For instance, if you have a long hallway and the camera on one end picks up motion, it could also activate the cameras nearby, predicting where the person or animal may be walking. (Speaking of animal, another neighbor’s security camera captured a mountain lion in their backyard two nights in a row. You never really know who is hanging around without video.) There is a base system, which is plugged in, but that goes where ever you store your router or other electronic gear. It only needs to be within about 300 feet of the cameras. (Psst – Netgear says 300 ft, but I’ve heard it can actually be farther removed.)
The video uploads to the cloud. It’s securely stored and doesn’t take up room on your hard drive. Awesome. You can get email alerts of motion captured, too. Cloud subscription is FREE for almost all users. If you have a ton of cameras (more than five, right now) or multiple properties, you may want a premium subscription to help you monitor everything.
You can monitor using a mobile app, too. You don’t need to be tied to a computer to see what is happening at home while you’re out.
The price is right! The starter package is $349.99, which comes with everything you need to get started, including two cameras. Additional cameras are $169. Preorders are happening now and according to Amazon, it should be released Jan. 7.