In the realm of security systems, traditional CCTV cameras and professional-grade setups have historically provided 24/7 constant recording as a standard feature. However, these systems often relied on recording to physical media like tapes or on-premises hard drives, which posed potential weaknesses in overall security.
With the advent of smart cameras, the selling point shifted to easy-to-access and secure cloud-based access to saved recordings. This shift addressed the limitations of on-premises storage but brought a trade-off: sending video clips to the cloud 24/7 might not always be practical due to bandwidth and storage costs.
Consequently, only a few smart cameras come with built-in support for 24/7 recording. Notable brands such as Google Nest, Arlo, Eufy, Wyze, and Kasa offer some or all of their smart camera models with this continuous recording capability. However, brands like Ring and Blink do not provide this feature and instead offer alternative functionalities.
Overall, the availability of 24/7 continuous recording depends on the specific smart camera brand and model, with some brands prioritizing this feature, while others focus on different aspects of smart home security.
How Smart Cameras Actually Work?
Part of the appeal of smart cameras is their ability to detect and notify users of motion around their property. These cameras use on-board pixel-detection algorithms or PIR (passive infrared sensors) to identify movement and then initiate recording and notification to alert the user.
This feature is quite effective overall and has led some to believe that 24/7 recording might not be necessary since important events are captured through motion-based alerts. For instance, visitors coming to the property or potential burglars moving around the house are typically recorded and brought to the user’s attention.
However, in practice, smart cameras are not flawless and can sometimes miss significant events, particularly battery-powered cameras that implement power-saving measures to conserve battery life. Even hard-wired cameras like the Ring Doorbell Pro may occasionally fail to capture certain motion events, which can be frustrating for users.
For this reason, many users have expressed a desire for smart cameras to support 24/7 recording. Despite some companies, like Ring, promising this feature back in 2018, it has not been fully delivered. The limitations of relying solely on motion-based alerts have highlighted the need for continuous recording to ensure comprehensive surveillance coverage and peace of mind for users.
Which Smart Cameras Support 24/7 Footage
Not all smart camera companies offer 24/7 constant recordings across their entire product range. While some brands like Nest, Reolink, Arlo, Eufy, Wyze Cam, and Kasa Spot do provide support for 24/7 recordings in some form, the specific availability and conditions can vary.
For instance, some of these companies may charge an extra fee for access to continuous recording features. Additionally, while a brand like Eufy might offer 24/7 recordings, not all of their camera models may support this feature. Likewise, certain cameras, such as the Wyze Cam Outdoor, may only offer “scheduled recording,” allowing continuous recordings during specific times of the day rather than true 24/7 recording.
It’s important to understand that the presence of continuous recording capabilities is not a one-size-fits-all scenario for these companies. Some may offer it as a standard feature, while others may require a subscription or have limited support for certain camera models.
To provide a comprehensive view, I will delve into the specifics of how well each company actually offers continuous recording in the sections below.
Google Nest offers 24/7 video support through their Nest Aware subscription plans. The basic Nest Aware plan, starting at $6/month, does not include 24/7 video support. However, the more expensive Nest Aware Plus plan, priced at $12/month, provides continuous recording for all Nest cameras.
Eufy’s indoor cameras, including the indoor cam pan and tilt model, support 24/7 continuous recordings. Users can set up continuous recording in the app, either to record continuously or at scheduled times of the day. In 24/7 mode, the indoor eufy cameras record in full HD resolution due to storage space considerations.
Arlo offers 24/7 recording support through their CVR (Continuous Video Recording) plans, which are priced at $10/month or $20/month per camera, depending on the storage duration (14 days or 30 days). However, a drawback is that users can only view the CVR video clips and not download them.
Reolink’s vast majority of cameras support 24/7 continuous recording and allow streaming to local SD cards and NAS without requiring subscription plans. Users can set up continuous recording schedules through the Reolink app.
For Wyze Cam, the indoor cameras support 24/7 continuous recordings up to the storage capacity of the SD card (around 32GB). However, the outdoor Wyze Cam only allows scheduled recordings for up to 10 hours each day. To enable true 24/7 recording for Wyze Cam, users can use the tinyCam app, which provides cloud storage for 7 days of video recordings at $3.99/month per camera.
TP-Link’s Kasa Spot products support 24/7 continuous recording to a local SD card, with a maximum size of 128GB, providing over a week’s worth of full HD video recordings.
In conclusion, not all smart camera models from these companies support 24/7 constant recordings, and the availability and conditions of this feature can vary based on the specific camera model and the subscription plans offered.
Negatives of Recording 24/7
While continuous recording with smart cameras can be beneficial, there are some downsides to consider:
- Increased Bandwidth Usage: Cloud storage plans for continuous recording will lead to higher bandwidth usage. If your internet plan has data caps, excessive use could result in additional charges.
- Higher Energy Consumption: Continuous recording requires the camera to work harder and consume more electricity. Even though the camera is usually plugged in, it may still lead to slightly higher energy costs over time.
- Potential Impact on Device Lifespan: Constantly recording footage may put additional strain on the camera’s components, potentially shortening its overall lifespan by a year or two.
- Local Storage Vulnerability: Cameras storing continuous recordings locally on SD cards or NAS devices face the risk of data loss if the camera is stolen. Unlike cloud-backed recordings, which are accessible even if the camera is taken, local recordings can be lost in such situations.
- Extra Costs: Enabling continuous recording may come with additional expenses. Whether it’s purchasing an SD card or opting for a cloud storage plan, there might be added costs associated with maintaining 24/7 recording functionality.
Alternatives to 24/7 smart camera recordings
If your smart camera doesn’t support continuous 24/7 video clips, there are alternative features you can use:
- Snapshot Captures (Timeline Previews): Some smart cameras offer snapshot captures, where the camera takes still images at regular intervals throughout the day. This provides you with a series of images that give you an overview of the activities around your property. By setting multiple cameras to capture snapshots at frequent intervals, you can effectively monitor your surroundings and spot any suspicious activities.
- Consider Using Old-Style CCTV or DVR Cameras: In addition to your smart cameras, you can opt for traditional CCTV or DVR cameras. These cameras usually record footage to a local hard drive or even VHS tapes if using older equipment. While they may not have the same smart features, they offer continuous 24/7 recordings, providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind. Just ensure the local storage unit is well-secured to prevent unauthorized access.
By leveraging snapshot captures and considering traditional CCTV or DVR cameras, you can enhance your surveillance setup and maintain better security coverage even without continuous 24/7 video clips.
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