Netgear Arlo HD COMPLETELY Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera Review and Comment - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-19-2015, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Netgear Arlo HD COMPLETELY Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera Review and Comment

Netgear Arlo HD COMPLETELY Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera Review and Comments Thread

January 19 2014

Some Background

Early December Netgear introduced the new brand Arlo which is Netgear’s platform for its IoT and Smarthome efforts. Having experience in the security camera space already it made sense that the first products on this new platform would be a security camera system. Netgear a few years ago acquired VueZone which made the industry’s only completely wireless security camera. I used the VueZone for about 2+ years and was happy with it although its features were limited. VueZone lacked HD quality, had a smallish view angle, did not have IR to record in the dark and had a fairly limited service plan. Learning from VueZone Netgear took a hard look at what the user base wanted and delivered all of it in the new Arlo Security camera platform.

http://www.arlo.com/

Overview

Arlo retained the best of VueZone’s features like battery powered operation which allows it to operate completely wirelessly, easy setup and flexible mounting. What Arlo added is most significant though;

HD resolution with a wide 130 degree lens. This means one camera can adequately cover the view area of most rooms. In my home a camera in the corner completely covers all the view area I need. And it’s a large room.

Outdoor and indoor placement. The Arlo’s are all weather proof. The same camera can be used out in the rain as it can be used in the home. No additional mount or enclosure needed.

Nighttime viewing and recording. With the addition of infrared lighting the Arlo now sees equally well in all lighting conditions. Vibrant color during the day and gray scale in the dark. Everything is easy visible regardless.

Cloud based storage and connection. The Arlo’s communicate through a hub connected to your network. This hub ties into the Arlo cloud which makes the setup and communication with cameras a 1 step process. The Arlo cloud also stores event recordings that are made by motion detect, schedule or manual recording. The Arlo web site and mobile apps work beautifully well. Easy to understand and navigate. I have been using the apps on my iPhone and iPad.

Cloud subscription service is free! For up to 5 cameras (which I believe will cover most users) the Arlo service is free (VueZone was limited to 2 cameras for free service). In addition to the camera control the free service includes 1gigabytes of cloud based recording storage which can store 7 full days of recordings. This is more than adequate for event based recordings. And should you need more you can buy more as needed.

Easy setup. The setup of Arlo couldn’t be easier. You plug in the Arlo hub to your router. Download the Arlo app to your phone or tablet. Create a user account which is a user name and password. Once done the Arlo system will take a minute or so and will automatically identify your hub. No ip address info or anything else is required. Its all automatically done. My experience was just like this. No hickups at all and this was in week one of the service being live. Lastly you pair your cameras to the hub. Its also a simple process but pushing a Pair button on the hub and then the camera. They need to be within a foot of one another and takes a minute. Then you are done. Place the cameras where you want and you are good to go.

Best Camera Mounts EVER! I love the Arlo mounts. The mounts themselves look like half a silver ball with a mounting plate. The cameras have a circular indentation on the back. Mount the ball with either a screw or the included sticky tape and then just touch the camera to the ball and adjust. Done. These mounts are extremely versatile. I have one on my outdoor wall looking out and one on a tree looking toward the house. Indoors I use two at opposite ends of the house. The mounts and cameras are small so visibly they do not stand out. And because of the wide view angle adjustment is minimal. Plus the system has a mode to give you immediate video response to adjust placement. Very nicely done.


Performance and Operation

My Arlo system has been running for about 3 weeks now. It is located at a vacation home I have. I have 2 cameras outdoors and 2 indoors. During this time I check the cameras usually 2-3 times a week. When you log into the system (again I use either an iPhone or iPad app. Android apps are also available) you see the last snap shot taken when you last logged on. You select which camera you wish to view. Arlo activates that camera and you see live video. Id suspect its probably 10-15 fps although I am not sure.

You have the ability to record video or take a snapshot when you are in the active camera. While in the app you also have the ability to turn motion sensing on/off, create rules (such as record motion on deck and email me an alert. You also can set the recording duration and a schedule for when these events should be active. It’s pretty granular and easy to understand and configure.

The video quality of the Arlo is quite good. It is a 720p resolution which is more than adequate for this type of camera. You can easily see detail in a large room. The light requirements are now a non-issue. Regardless of the light source or level you can see detail in any room. Even outdoors which has a much greater view area I can see what’s on my deck in nothing but moonlight.

Battery life is projected at 4-6 months. What impacts battery life is how often the live video is activated. When not in use the camera sits in a standby and sips power. Recording is when the battery is heavily used. The batteries are CR123 which looking at Amazon will cost me about $4 per camera to replace. Each camera takes 4 batteries.

The cameras themselves are quite beautiful. In fact I felt guilt putting them outside since they are so pretty. They are white and black and frankly look like an Apple product.

In addition to the ball mount the cameras also have a screw hole on the bottom for other fixed mounting options. I found the balls to be fine both in and outdoors.

In Summary

The Arlo is one of the nicest products to come along in a while. It is beautiful to look at, hold and performs equally as well. After the simple setup the system has worked perfectly. The cameras are always online and work as expected.

Netgear provides a very generous plan with Arlo. The 5 camera 1gig free plan will be more than adequate for most home owners. It certainly will work for me.
As a user of wifi cameras, POE cameras and Arlo this is by far the best camera experience you will find. My wifi and POE cameras all required setup and port forwarding to work. I have 3 different clients and apps to do what I can do with Arlo. Plus I still have the occasional camera drop off which requires a camera reboot to get it working again. Arlo eliminates all that hassle.

Arlo is security cameras done right. And in the future Netgear will be adding to its capabilities with other IoT and smart home capabilities as well as new hardware options. Compared to the competition (like Dropcam) Arlo beats it in performance and price. Particularly in that there are no subscription fees for 5 cameras or less.

Arlo really is a great result of listening to customers. Its product marketing and engineering working as it should. If you are in the market for a camera based security system check out Arlo. You won’t be disappointed.

About Me

I am an independent AV networking consultant who writes for various user forums and publications. Everything I write about I have firsthand user knowledge of. I am an avid user of all types of home media and specialize in convergence of media, computers and networking. I am employed by Netgear to provide feedback on user trends and issues. The reviews I write are my opinions from my first hand experiences using the products I review.

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant

Last edited by bobsilver; 01-19-2015 at 05:13 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-19-2015, 09:35 PM
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I was told that they were not going to offer live view because it cuts way down on battery. I am glad to hear that is incorrect. When will they offer local, non-cloud, recording? Will they support the Onvif standard?
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post #3 of 16 Old 01-21-2015, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
I was told that they were not going to offer live view because it cuts way down on battery. I am glad to hear that is incorrect. When will they offer local, non-cloud, recording? Will they support the Onvif standard?
Live view is certainly there and works fine. Battery life is affected by how often the recording is initiated. If you are in a busy area where the motion triggers are set off many times a day battery life will be severely affected. Using these in a 7/11 for example wouldn't be a good use case.

There are no plans for local storage. The cloud solution works very well. And with a gig of free storage why would you even bother?

" Will they support the Onvif standard?" No idea. Not familiar with it. What is it and what will it give you?

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post #4 of 16 Old 01-21-2015, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post
Live view is certainly there and works fine. Battery life is affected by how often the recording is initiated. If you are in a busy area where the motion triggers are set off many times a day battery life will be severely affected. Using these in a 7/11 for example wouldn't be a good use case.

There are no plans for local storage. The cloud solution works very well. And with a gig of free storage why would you even bother?

" Will they support the Onvif standard?" No idea. Not familiar with it. What is it and what will it give you?

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant
Onvif is a standard for security camera networking and access.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Ne...nterface_Forum
NETGEAR says that Arlo will NOT support it. They do say that they support RTSP for live streaming. Now all I have to do is to get the RTSP path to be able to integrate Arlo into my BlueIris software camera system. Perhaps you could talk to NETGEAR Arlo support on our behalf to get the RTSP live stream path?
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-21-2015, 08:35 PM
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any idea on price?

Amazon at $350 for 2 camera's.

Who needs 4K?... just go see your optometrist.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-21-2015, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post

There are no plans for local storage. The cloud solution works very well. And with a gig of free storage why would you even bother?
Caveats...

Your free gig is limited to 7 days of recordings.

The free gig plan also limits the features you get with the camera and the cloud storage. For example without paying for a plan there's no scheduling and no concurrent logins to the phone apps.
.
The motion detection stops at 15'

Looky here!
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-22-2015, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Caveats...

Your free gig is limited to 7 days of recordings.

The free gig plan also limits the features you get with the camera and the cloud storage. For example without paying for a plan there's no scheduling and no concurrent logins to the phone apps.
.
The motion detection stops at 15'
Netgear updated the features with the free plan. Those features listed as "Premium" like scheduling are now included with the free plan. The paid plans just increase storage now.

From the Product Manager
We have recently announced that we are making ‘Friend Account’ and ‘Automated Schedules’ features a free feature to all (Vs. current free for 30 days on basic plan). Announcement to that effect is here https://community.netgear.com/t5/Ann...-team/td-p/569

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-22-2015, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
Onvif is a standard for security camera networking and access.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Ne...nterface_Forum
NETGEAR says that Arlo will NOT support it. They do say that they support RTSP for live streaming. Now all I have to do is to get the RTSP path to be able to integrate Arlo into my BlueIris software camera system. Perhaps you could talk to NETGEAR Arlo support on our behalf to get the RTSP live stream path?
I reached out to the Product Manager. Ill let you know if I can get you the info to access the RTSP feed. Ill post back here once I know.

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-26-2015, 05:08 PM
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Unhappy Beautiful but functionally limited

I have to admit I was rather exited to see such a good looking and easy to install camera set up brought to the market by Netgear. I have to admit that the limitations leave me flat. No onsite recording capability and limited on motion recording. Live viewing and notification it appears are the only real benefit of this camera system. Not what I would call a viable surveillance system. Hopefully an upgraded version will be released, wired and NAS recordable. I do like the look of them though!!
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Originally Posted by SurveiNSecure View Post
I have to admit I was rather exited to see such a good looking and easy to install camera set up brought to the market by Netgear. I have to admit that the limitations leave me flat. No onsite recording capability and limited on motion recording. Live viewing and notification it appears are the only real benefit of this camera system. Not what I would call a viable surveillance system. Hopefully an upgraded version will be released, wired and NAS recordable. I do like the look of them though!!
The limitations won't matter if we can get the RTSP path for the real time video. If we can get that, we can use any software package that has the features that we want (i.e. BlueIris).
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-26-2015, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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The limitations won't matter if we can get the RTSP path for the real time video. If we can get that, we can use any software package that has the features that we want (i.e. BlueIris).
I spoke with the Product manager. The video feed is encrypted so there is no way to use a local recording system like Blue Iris. The cloud is the only method.

The Arlo is designed as a security system not surveillance. The difference? Surveillance systems have a the ability to record 24/7, be on 24/7. The Arlo is not that.

If the ease of installation, outdoor/indoor placement and battery operation are not enough then this probably isn't the system for your needs. Its great for the average home owner who wants an easy to install and use system.

I use mine in a vacation home. I know when my service people come and can see the status of the house both in and out. Works great for that. At my primary residence I use Foscam's and Blue Iris. Different use case here. Arlo wouldn't work for me here.

Bob Silver
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-27-2015, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post
I spoke with the Product manager. The video feed is encrypted so there is no way to use a local recording system like Blue Iris. The cloud is the only method.

The Arlo is designed as a security system not surveillance. The difference? Surveillance systems have a the ability to record 24/7, be on 24/7. The Arlo is not that.

If the ease of installation, outdoor/indoor placement and battery operation are not enough then this probably isn't the system for your needs. Its great for the average home owner who wants an easy to install and use system.

I use mine in a vacation home. I know when my service people come and can see the status of the house both in and out. Works great for that. At my primary residence I use Foscam's and Blue Iris. Different use case here. Arlo wouldn't work for me here.

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant

It won't work for the majority of my customers either. Thanks for gathering the information.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post
I spoke with the Product manager. The video feed is encrypted so there is no way to use a local recording system like Blue Iris. The cloud is the only method.

The Arlo is designed as a security system not surveillance. The difference? Surveillance systems have a the ability to record 24/7, be on 24/7. The Arlo is not that.

If the ease of installation, outdoor/indoor placement and battery operation are not enough then this probably isn't the system for your needs. Its great for the average home owner who wants an easy to install and use system.

I use mine in a vacation home. I know when my service people come and can see the status of the house both in and out. Works great for that. At my primary residence I use Foscam's and Blue Iris. Different use case here. Arlo wouldn't work for me here.

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Consultant
hi bob, i am waiting for my set.
i heard that 2 way communication could be added, and it will have free iCloud recording. Would u know if u will go for control 4 integration pls.
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hi bob, i am waiting for my set.
i heard that 2 way communication could be added, and it will have free iCloud recording. Would u know if u will go for control 4 integration pls.
If you mean by 2 way communication as in audio intercom I am not aware of that. I can't recall seeing a mic on the units. And there is no speaker. So my guess is highly unlikely.

As to Control 4 integration also unlikely. Netgear will be extending some control trigger aspects via some industry standard protocols. But that hasn't been firmed up. Maybe if it occurs in a standard that C4 can utilize then you could have a match. But its unknown right now.

That said is there a way to trigger a C4 system via a text or email? Maybe that could work but it's a kludge to do it that way.

Sorry I don't have better news for you.

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If you mean by 2 way communication as in audio intercom I am not aware of that. I can't recall seeing a mic on the units. And there is no speaker. So my guess is highly unlikely.



As to Control 4 integration also unlikely. Netgear will be extending some control trigger aspects via some industry standard protocols. But that hasn't been firmed up. Maybe if it occurs in a standard that C4 can utilize then you could have a match. But its unknown right now.



That said is there a way to trigger a C4 system via a text or email? Maybe that could work but it's a kludge to do it that way.



Sorry I don't have better news for you.



Bob Silver

Netgear Networking Consultant

Thanks Bob on your elaborate response.
Would u mind emphasizing on C4 trigger aspect a bit more.


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Thanks Bob on your elaborate response.
Would u mind emphasizing on C4 trigger aspect a bit more.


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What I mean by a trigger is that if the camera sees motion it causes an event to occur like turn on the lights.

Bob
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