The video doorbell used to be a simple purchase. Back when Ring was the only player on the market, you only had one choice. Their first-generation video doorbell offered basic video coverage, real-time recording, and two-way audio. The device was quaint but effective. It is antiquated by today’s standards
When it comes to video doorbells, features and pricing vary considerably. An entry-level model offers basic features at a reasonable price. Yet you can spend hundreds on models with features never before seen in the video doorbells space. For example, some manufacturers are building their devices with onboard radar capable of determining the direction of movement.
Homeowners willing to spend a lot can get a lot. Otherwise, an entry-level video doorbell can be had for under $100. Companies like Salt Lake City-based Vivint offer video doorbells as part of a complete home security package. You can also buy standalone video doorbells online or at your local hardware store.
Ring Started at All
We must give credit where credit is due. In the video doorbell space, Ring started it all with their revolutionary wireless model. Their first-generation device proved so popular that Amazon couldn’t help themselves. They had to buy out Ring in their quest to become the world’s leading smart home provider.
For the record, Ring recently announced the release of a brand-new model aimed at people who appreciate the brand but want to spend less. The new Ring video doorbell is the smallest device the company has made to date. It is also a wired device, meaning you install it in place of an existing wired doorbell or run power to it.
The more affordable Ring video doorbell offers all the features you would expect from an entry-level device. You get HD video, motion detection, privacy zones, and bidirectional audio. The device is controlled with a companion mobile app.
Making Video Doorbells Better
The base features that come with Ring’s new model are features common to most modern video doorbells. Two of the features are pretty remarkable in what they bring to the table. Let us talk about them, beginning with advanced motion detection.
Advanced Motion Detection
Motion detection is built into video doorbells to prevent them from constantly recording. They only activate and send an alert when motion is detected. Simple enough, right? Well, there is a downside to the concept. First-generation devices are known for triggering unnecessary alerts.
Advanced motion detection cuts down on unnecessary alerts in a number of ways. First, sensitivity can be reduced to account for things like falling leaves and squirrels running by. Second, motion detection in AI-equipped devices can be adjusted to ignore certain things – like cars, for example.
As for privacy zones, these dictate what a camera will display in live view and recordings. Why would someone want privacy zones? To increase privacy, of course. A privacy zone does not prevent a camera from alerting to a possible intrusion. It just prevents live monitoring and recording of specific areas.
Let us say you live in an apartment building. Your neighbor lives just across the hall, and his door is in plain view. You can designate the area in front of his door as a privacy zone. That way, your camera isn’t recording or live streaming people coming and going from your neighbor’s apartment.
Other Impressive Features
The ring is not the only game in town. Plenty of other manufacturers have stepped up with equally impressive video doorbells offering a variety of outstanding features. For example, the previously mentioned onboard radar makes a huge difference in camera reliability.
An entry-level video doorbell makes no distinction between different types of movement for monitoring purposes. It can be easily activated by both a person approaching the door and someone walking down the street. But the movement represented in both scenarios is quite different.
A radar-equipped video doorbell can tell the difference between horizontal and lateral movement. The former would not trigger an alert while the latter would. With on-board radar, you now have a doorbell that is not activated by passing pedestrians or vehicles. It is only activated when someone is actually approaching the door.
Sound intriguing? Here are some other features you might salivate over:
Imagine a video doorbell equipped with a 5MP HD camera and AI-enabled software capable of detecting different objects. The camera can tell the difference between a car and a bicycle. It can identify a package left at your front door.
In terms of packages, some AI-powered cameras know enough to keep an eye on packages once delivered. They constantly remain on alert, looking for suspicious people approaching as though they are planning to take the packages.
Video doorbells equipped with facial recognition technology can identify people on the fly. Program the doorbell to recognize friends and family members so that they do not trigger unnecessary alerts when approaching the door. Anyone whose face is not recognized by the system doesn’t get off so easily.
Facial recognition is a great technology for busy households where people come and go frequently. It leads to fewer alerts on your smartphone. With fewer alerts comes fewer distractions throughout your day. Whoever thought of this one probably lives in a busy household.
High-Def Night Vision
Infrared night vision offers clear views of people and objects even when the sun goes down. But why not take it to the next level with high-def night vision? An HD camera properly equipped with this technology balances available light and contrast to provide crystal clear images. On some cameras, the images are so clear that you would be hard-pressed to know they were produced by a night vision camera.
Video doorbells vary considerably in terms of features and pricing. Just remember this: you get what you pay for. The best features only add to the price. But depending on your needs, a higher price might be well worth paying.