Arlo Ultra security camera gains HomeKit support

Posted:
in General Discussion
Arlo is continuing to roll out its support for HomeKit in its devices, with compatibility with Apple's smart home platform now included in its Ultra security camera systems that pair with the Arlo SmartHub.




The Arlo Ultra security camera was previously able to be controlled by Arlo's companion app, but the addition of HomeKit support enables it to be controlled from within Apple's Home app on iPhone and iPad. The change is being made through an automatic firmware update that is free of charge and rolling out to all Ultra users.

Under HomeKit, users can receive movement notifications from the camera through the Home app. Along with being able to summon the live feed from the app, it is also possible to ask Siri to show the feed, allowing it to be viewed in a hands-free way.

HomeKit automations can also take advantage of the camera's capabilities, such as by triggering lights to switch on at certain times if motion is detected.

The addition of HomeKit support to the Arlo Ultra follows similar integration with other hardware from the manufacturer, including the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 systems in August. The recently-launched Arlo Video Doorbell does not have HomeKit support, and the company has yet to advise on when it will arrive, if at all.

The Arlo Ultra offers a 4K-resolution video with color night vision, wire-free setup, a 180-degree field of view, spotlight, and two-way audio with noise cancellation.

The system starts from $399 for a one-camera setup, including a one-year subscription to Arlo Smart Premier, which provides 30-day rolling storage of cloud recordings and personalized detection of people, vehicles, and packages.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    ejieji Posts: 39member
    Arlo users, what's your experience with these devices? Good, bad, indifferent?

    I'm looking to replace a couple of EZVIZ 1080p Minis. For cheap cameras, they've worked surprisingly well, but I'd like something with a bit more placement flexibility (which the Arlo's battery power offers) and HomeKit integration.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Are we ever going to get a "real" camera system the supports HomeKit?   I'm talking PoE Bullets or Domes? 
    tomowaStrangeDaysrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,593member
    eji said:
    Arlo users, what's your experience with these devices? Good, bad, indifferent?

    I'm looking to replace a couple of EZVIZ 1080p Minis. For cheap cameras, they've worked surprisingly well, but I'd like something with a bit more placement flexibility (which the Arlo's battery power offers) and HomeKit integration.
    I've been using an Arlo Q for a well over a year now and mostly it has worked pretty well. It is AC only, not battery powered. Wish they would add HomeKit compatibility to this model.Only issue I sometimes have is that the camera seems to lose video connection remotely. I can change settings, but just no video. My work around was to connect to a Wemo outlet, so I can reboot the camera when that happens.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Homekit integrating of Arlo Pro was a disaster....until now they cant fixed my 7 camera systems. So thier own apps works perfect but homekit is a joke
  • Reply 5 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,152member
    Are we ever going to get a "real" camera system the supports HomeKit?   I'm talking PoE Bullets or Domes? 
    I would love this, but I think the challenge may that PoE cameras don’t have onboard controllers, processing capacity, etc. They’re just IP endpoints that feed into another system, such as a DVR or a computer or NAS server where the brains reside. 

    One of these days I’m going to pull the trigger on a Synology NAS and purchase their security camera software component.
    edited October 2019 hmurchisonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    eji said:
    Arlo users, what's your experience with these devices? Good, bad, indifferent?

    I'm looking to replace a couple of EZVIZ 1080p Minis. For cheap cameras, they've worked surprisingly well, but I'd like something with a bit more placement flexibility (which the Arlo's battery power offers) and HomeKit integration.
    In my opinion, look somewhere else. I have five Arlo Ultra cameras around the house and one Arlo Pro 2 in the garage. I’ve struggled with the range of the cameras and ended up buying a second base station to solve that problem. The configuration of the cameras is overly complicated and the app isn’t very intuitive. I had one Nest Cam before going with Arlo and Google hands down has a much better user experience overall. I have nothing Google in my home now and I have many many Apple devices so it hurts my soul to say that. Ultimately I’m dealing with Alrlo because I’m all in on Homekit, but I’m definitely missing a lot of what Nest had to offer.
    emoellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 369member
    joshbish said:
    eji said:
    Arlo users, what's your experience with these devices? Good, bad, indifferent?

    I'm looking to replace a couple of EZVIZ 1080p Minis. For cheap cameras, they've worked surprisingly well, but I'd like something with a bit more placement flexibility (which the Arlo's battery power offers) and HomeKit integration.
    In my opinion, look somewhere else. I have five Arlo Ultra cameras around the house and one Arlo Pro 2 in the garage. I’ve struggled with the range of the cameras and ended up buying a second base station to solve that problem. The configuration of the cameras is overly complicated and the app isn’t very intuitive. I had one Nest Cam before going with Arlo and Google hands down has a much better user experience overall. I have nothing Google in my home now and I have many many Apple devices so it hurts my soul to say that. Ultimately I’m dealing with Alrlo because I’m all in on Homekit, but I’m definitely missing a lot of what Nest had to offer.
    If your primary consideration is placement flexibility, you can't do much better than Blink.  While the video is mediocre and there's no zoom or other fancy features, the cameras are cheap, their batteries last 2+ years (I started with 3 cameras and now have 8 - the original ones, purchased when Blink first came out 3+ years ago, are still on their original batteries!!!), and setup is a breeze.  There's no local storage/SD cards - but there's enough cloud storage (no charge) for quite a few clips (the max length of which is 1 minute).  Alas, it does not have HomeKit compatibility - and since they were purchased by Amazon, that is likely never to happen now :-(

    Did I mention the batteries last forever? :-)  And an 8 camera indoor/outdoor setup set me back less than $500?

    I'm also on a lookout for a HomeKit enabled camera setup, but to be honest - my life isn't really so complicated.  I just need to 'arm' these cameras when I leave for work and disarm when I return.  Their app does that.  The only thing Blink doesn't do that I wish it did is to let me selectively arm/disarm my 8 cameras.  This way I could keep external cameras armed while I'm at home.  Or arm the cameras in the parts of the house that I don't go to overnight.  There's a clumsy workaround: buy multiple controllers.  Each controller can handle up to 10 cameras and the app can handle multiple controllers.  I guess I'll eventually get a couple more to have the setup I want.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    rcfarcfa Posts: 946member
    I want a system that works WITHOUT uploading ANY audio or video to any server, except maybe, after local encryption with a password non-recoverable by Apple, to iCloud.

    The whole point of using HomeKit over other platforms, is privacy. I fail to see how privacy is guarded when data is uploaded to a third party platform, which, to add insult to injury, requires a paid subscription.

    An AppleTV has ample CPU power, and a future iteration could add a USB port again for external video storage.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    jvmbjvmb Posts: 59member
    I was considering installing SecuritySpy on an old Mac Mini and connecting my POE camera to my Mac Mini. My current NVR has such horrible software that it is almost unusable. The last time I checked the camera footage was a few years ago when a neighbors house was broken into. Only good thing is that it is reliable and it has a UPS, NVR, and an 8 port POE router in one.

    I was hoping that HomeKit security camera good offer secure, maybe even local, storage and a useable interface. If no cameras are going to support true HomeKit integration with secure iCloud or local storage, I’ll have to buy a UPS, POE router, and SecuritySpy software. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    rcfa said:
    I want a system that works WITHOUT uploading ANY audio or video to any server, except maybe, after local encryption with a password non-recoverable by Apple, to iCloud.

    The whole point of using HomeKit over other platforms, is privacy. I fail to see how privacy is guarded when data is uploaded to a third party platform, which, to add insult to injury, requires a paid subscription.

    An AppleTV has ample CPU power, and a future iteration could add a USB port again for external video storage.
    There’s a give-and-take consideration there, but cloud storage has the advantage of being offsite (and Arlo has a free cloud storage option). Somebody can’t steal the evidence along with your valuables. Besides, if you want unimpeachable data security for your security videos, “local” storage on an internet-connected device is just an exercise in self-delusion. 
    madanrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    madanmadan Posts: 103member
    eji said:
    Arlo users, what's your experience with these devices? Good, bad, indifferent?

    I'm looking to replace a couple of EZVIZ 1080p Minis. For cheap cameras, they've worked surprisingly well, but I'd like something with a bit more placement flexibility (which the Arlo's battery power offers) and HomeKit integration.
    They're the best mobile cameras on the market.  I have 7 Arlo Pros on a base station and they've been excellent purchases thus far (knock on wood).  The devices are easy to use and put up:

    1.  Simply install the app on your phone/device & make an account.  2.  Connect your base station to your modem or gateway.  3.  Turn on the camera and let it "sync" to the base station.  4.  Pin the camera somewhere and customize its preferences from the menu.  

    It's superior to bullet and dome cameras in the respect that you have more flexibility.  Bullet/bubble usually feed to a DVR.  The Arlos can also feed to a "DVR"-paradigm setup by simply connecting external storage to your base station (a jump drive or M.2 external works well enough).  The Arlos also store your photos on your online account so you can view them online.  This redundancy is excellent.   Because the Arlos are battery powered, you don't have to worry about the power going out.  The base station itself has a backup power source for up to 30 min. to 1 hour.  The batteries in the camera have been excellent and I get about a month of use between charges.  It takes about 2-4 hours to charge a battery.  They charge through microUSB.  The cameras are small and relatively form-unobtrusive.  Sure, they're white and eye catching (my house trim is white so it actually works), but you can hide them with silicone cases found on Amazon.  The cases come in a variety of colors and some are even ghillied or camouflaged.

    The cameras have good color/recording quality and average night vision.  Motion detection is also acceptable.  It also has sound/noise detection, as well as two way talk which works surprisingly well.  The cameras are tough enough, with one of mine falling and hitting concrete from an 8 foot drop and surviving.  They're light so you can either choose to bolt them on a drilled base or simply using their magnetic base with external command strips (15 lb strips are enough).  The app software is great.  It lets you customize the camera name, its range, sensitivity and the like.  You can view past recorded videos or check in real time.  The live streaming is toggled and that's a good thing because otherwise, you'd kill your phone battery and data in a heartbeat.  The software allows you to customize certain zones of activity within a camera's field of view (for subscribers...I'm not one).  The software is quick, stable and easy to use.  Homekit support is an unnecessary bonus.

    With its backup power and its wireless capabilities, the Arlos are more resistant to interference than a wired bullet/bubble system for a fraction of the price.  The Arlos have far better battery than my Ring and the software is more user-friendly (even if it has less capabilities).  The video quality is comparable but the Ring requires a subscription fee.  The Ring didn't need a base station set up but the setup on the Arlos literally only took an additional 2 minutes.  I don't have any Nest since Google has been caught mining Nest user data without approval or consent.  I've had other camera systems in the past but so far Arlos have been tops.

    I hope I feel this way about them for another 2 years.  Thus far however, they've been great. Highly recommended.
    edited October 2019 repressthis
  • Reply 12 of 17
    madanmadan Posts: 103member
    AppleZulu said:
    rcfa said:
    I want a system that works WITHOUT uploading ANY audio or video to any server, except maybe, after local encryption with a password non-recoverable by Apple, to iCloud.

    The whole point of using HomeKit over other platforms, is privacy. I fail to see how privacy is guarded when data is uploaded to a third party platform, which, to add insult to injury, requires a paid subscription.

    An AppleTV has ample CPU power, and a future iteration could add a USB port again for external video storage.
    There’s a give-and-take consideration there, but cloud storage has the advantage of being offsite (and Arlo has a free cloud storage option). Somebody can’t steal the evidence along with your valuables. Besides, if you want unimpeachable data security for your security videos, “local” storage on an internet-connected device is just an exercise in self-delusion. 
    Agree.  If you have a DVR based system, then it's wired.  No matter how well you hide it, someone can just find the DVR since it's wired, take it and you're left with nothing.  Moreover, while there are some wired bullet/bubble systems with online app/homekit support, they are far more expensive than dumb DVR systems.  You could easily pay 2 grand for a system for a camera system with 1440p record, and minimal online connectivity compared to half the price for Arlo Ultras and lose at pretty much every conceivable category.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    jvmbjvmb Posts: 59member
    @Madan, do the Arlo cameras connect to your home WiFi or only to the base station. One Arlo base station would not cover the whole house. 

    I hope they come out with outlet powered cameras. I would not want to take out a ladder every month to recharge batteries.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    madanmadan Posts: 103member
    The base station  connects directly to the gateway.  My Arlo base station covers my whole house.  The proximal and distal cameras to the base station are approximately 10 feet to about 60 feet.

    Does the job fine.


    (edited counting all the lengths of my house rooms to determine the total distance transmission)
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 15 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Are we ever going to get a "real" camera system the supports HomeKit?   I'm talking PoE Bullets or Domes? 
    I would love this, but I think the challenge may that PoE cameras don’t have onboard controllers, processing capacity, etc. They’re just IP endpoints that feed into another system, such as a DVR or a computer or NAS server where the brains reside. 

    One of these days I’m going to pull the trigger on a Synology NAS and purchase their security camera software component.
    I hear you.  What we need is HomeKit support in the NVR.  I've checked out the Synology stuff the QNAP stuff and lately the Ubiquiti Protect stuff.  Lucky for me it's not a hot button issue because I live in a pretty safe subdivision where the most dangerous thing beyond Tornadoes is runaway 8 year olds in golf carts. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    jvmb said:
    @Madan, do the Arlo cameras connect to your home WiFi or only to the base station. One Arlo base station would not cover the whole house. 

    I hope they come out with outlet powered cameras. I would not want to take out a ladder every month to recharge batteries.
    Arlo base stations connect to your router via ethernet connection. The cameras connect wirelessly to the base station; they do not connect to your home WiFi. You can use more than one base station to extend your range, as long as you can connect the base stations to your router via ethernet. Up to five cameras will operate on Arlo's free cloud recording account, whether connected to one or more base stations. The free account keeps your recorded videos for a week, then deletes them on a rolling basis. You can download videos from the cloud if you need to retain anything longer than that. They have subscription plans if you want to use more than five cameras. Those plans also hold your cloud video for longer periods of time, and also unlock additional capabilities, like more sophisticated motion detection and whatnot. The newer models of cameras allow for connection to outlet power, or to optional solar panels that allegedly will keep the batteries sufficiently charged to limit the need for climbing ladders.

    As an aside, It's also worth noting that the "Ultra" models have a fundamentally different approach to nighttime video. If the camera takes color video at night (which is what Arlo Ultra does), then it is activating bright visible-light LEDs to light up the view. If the camera takes black-and-white video at night, it's using infra-red LEDs to light up the view, recording video from the infra-red spectrum and shifting that to the visible spectrum for your black-and-white videos. Why does that matter? Whether it's your front porch or inside your house, the Ultra models (if they're set to record on motion or sound detection) will blast you with a bright spotlight in the dark, which is very noticeable, and would be very disturbing in many circumstances. The infra-red-capable cameras' spotlights aren't visible to you or your neighbor. That could be important if you don't want to wake everybody up every time a cat walks by. Of course, if the bright spotlight isn't a problem, then the color videos will of course provide a more detailed view of what's going on.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    madanmadan Posts: 103member
    Good post by AppleZulu.

    I can add to it by stating that you can actually customize each camera to trigger with only objects of a certain size, based on sensitivity settings.  Cats aren't a normal problem for me, for instance.  Smaller objects (like birds or moths), would have to be *on top of the camera lens* to trigger it.  Also, keep in mind that the Arlo Ultra's night vision isn't affected by covers as much.  If you do get an Arlo Pro or Pro 2, keep in mind that your covers should have short bumpers around the camera edge and, they should be black if possible.  Otherwise, it will distort the camera's ability to capture a clear picture.
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