The Arlo CCTV solution comes from Netgear, a name we all know and trust. Most of us are probably reading this via a Netgear router. So why don’t we think their CCTV is as good as their routers?
Once again as with all other similar products on the market the cameras feature ultra wide angle lenses. This makes them easy to sell because people think wide angle is good but what they fail to understand is how wide angle lenses spread pixels apart rapidly as you move away from the camera. Before you know it the subject is just a small blob in the middle of the screen and there is no chance of detail capture. The most common cause of poor CCTV is wide angle cameras.
Watch out for Arlo’s definition of “HD”. Some of their products are only 720P not 1080P resolution. At 1080P resolution you can film up to 8 metres wide across the screen and still identify someone. That puts about 1,300 pixels on their face. 10 metres away from a 130º wide angle camera only 45 pixels cover the same area so no chance of identification. At 720P resolution this drops to a mere 20 pixels! We sound like a broken record when it comes to wide angle cameras but it really is the single most important thing to avoid for most applications.
The promotional material surrounding Arlo CCTV is great, a little girl talking to her teddies and a friendly postman. But if you look closely despite being only a few feet from the camera the postman soon becomes a tiny blob in the middle of the screen so little chance of identification. There is also audio which as we have mentioned on other systems may fall foul of ICO / GPDR regulations the latter of which has the ability to issue eye watering fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual turnover if you are a business.
Arlo use rechargeable batteries in their cameras and this is something we really don’t like. It won’t take long before the novelty of CCTV wears off and you forget to re-charge the cameras which are also rather flimsy and easy to remove or damage. To our way of thinking CCTV is something you fit and forget then let it work away in the background until such time as you need to rely on it. It’s hard enough remembering your passports when heading off on holiday but having to bring all the cameras in and recharge them is a bit too much in our humble opinion.
The vast majority of Arlo systems only record on motion triggering whereas we recommend 24/7 recording, modern hard drive technology allows it without cost penalty. If you’re trying to prove a courier didn’t deliver your package you need footage for the entire time they claim to have been there so you can prove without doubt they weren’t there. Just because it wasn’t captured on a motion triggered system means nothing, your system might have been offline, the Wifi might have been down or the camera just failed to detect the event.
Arlo rely on your WiFi signal, network, internet connection, service provider and off site storage provider. If any one of these has a problem which can happen then your system is rendered useless. The same will happen if someone cuts your phone line. We prefer a closed circuit approach with individual cameras hard wired to the DVR recorder. Other than power the system needs nothing else to function. The only time you involve a local network or the internet is if you want to access footage remotely.
On going costs. Arlo is another system which requires monthly or annual payment to store and retrieve footage. Over time this can mount up compared to our traditional systems which store 24/7 footage free of charge on you hard drive and allow unlimited free access providing you have internet on site.
For pet monitoring or keeping a watchful eye on elderly relatives Arlo may prove useful but for serious CCTV applications, particularly outdoor we don’t consider Arlo to be a credible solution.
Feel free to give us a call or email to discuss your particular needs. Our advice is free and we can email over a suggestion for best equipment and camera locations.