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Does the Essential Indoor require a subscription to record?

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vanstrien
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I recently bought two Essential Indoor's to go with an existing base station and several outdoor cameras. My previous cameras all came with a week of recording space. After the 90 days demo of the premium package my Essential Indoor's no longer connect to my base station and if I have them connect directly to the Internet I can't record video without a plan. 

 

Is that correct? 

 

I was hoping to add these to my existing base station and just review recordings in the last week but without a subscription.

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StephenB
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@vanstrien wrote:

 After the 90 days demo of the premium package my Essential Indoor's no longer connect to my base station

Connecting to the base station is not a subscription feature, and the cameras will stay connected that way when the subscription lapses.  You can see if your base is compatible with the Essential indoor here: https://kb.arlo.com/000062284/Arlo-SmartHub-and-Base-Station-Compatibility

 

But if you are thinking that "connected to a base" implies "7 days of storage", then you are mistaken.

 


@vanstrien wrote:

 

I was hoping to add these to my existing base station and just review recordings in the last week but without a subscription.


Pro and Pro 2 cameras were sold with 7 days of cloud recording, and Arlo continues to provide that.  The Essential cameras don't have that feature.  Without a subscription you get no cloud storage at all with the essentials, so you won't be able to review recordings in the last week the way you can with the Pro or Pro 2.

 

You can add local storage to your base station.  If this is a traditional base (VMB4500 or lower), then you have to eject the USB storage and connect it to a PC to review it.  If it is a smarthub (VMB4540 or VMB5000), you could review local recordings in the app using the direct access to local storage feature.  You won't be able to review them from the PC or from a friend account. 

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StephenB
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@vanstrien wrote:

 After the 90 days demo of the premium package my Essential Indoor's no longer connect to my base station

Connecting to the base station is not a subscription feature, and the cameras will stay connected that way when the subscription lapses.  You can see if your base is compatible with the Essential indoor here: https://kb.arlo.com/000062284/Arlo-SmartHub-and-Base-Station-Compatibility

 

But if you are thinking that "connected to a base" implies "7 days of storage", then you are mistaken.

 


@vanstrien wrote:

 

I was hoping to add these to my existing base station and just review recordings in the last week but without a subscription.


Pro and Pro 2 cameras were sold with 7 days of cloud recording, and Arlo continues to provide that.  The Essential cameras don't have that feature.  Without a subscription you get no cloud storage at all with the essentials, so you won't be able to review recordings in the last week the way you can with the Pro or Pro 2.

 

You can add local storage to your base station.  If this is a traditional base (VMB4500 or lower), then you have to eject the USB storage and connect it to a PC to review it.  If it is a smarthub (VMB4540 or VMB5000), you could review local recordings in the app using the direct access to local storage feature.  You won't be able to review them from the PC or from a friend account. 

vanstrien
Aspirant
Aspirant

Thanks for the detailed answer.

My base is a VMB4000r3, so it looks like it is compatible.  I can pair it with the camera, but then it just shows the camera as offline.  

Even after a factory reinstall and reconnection this continues to happen. It is weird that it was fine for the 90 days when I was doing the Premium trial but now it won't work at all.  The only thing that works is to connect directly to the Internet, but then I don't have any video recording functions.  It was totally not clear to me that the recording functions were different in the Essential versus my Pros.  

StephenB
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Guru

@vanstrien wrote:

My base is a VMB4000r3, so it looks like it is compatible.  I can pair it with the camera, but then it just shows the camera as offline.  

Even after a factory reinstall and reconnection this continues to happen. 


The camera shouldn't be off-line - no idea why that is happening.

 

But you'd still only get local storage to USB when connected to the base, and as I said earlier you can only see the recordings by removing the USB device and moving it to a PC.

 

So I guess one question here is whether you gain enough with the base to make it worth your time to resolve the off-line problem.

 


@vanstrien wrote:

It was totally not clear to me that the recording functions were different in the Essential versus my Pros.  


Yeah, you're not the first to get tripped on that.  All the newer cameras (starting with the Ultra in 2018) require a subscription to get storage.

petedude
Star
Star

I've been using Arlo products since 2017, and up until now have been very happy with them (aside from a battery draining issue a few years back after a software update, which took a month or two to be resolved).

 

Recently I thought I'd buy a couple more cameras for my Arlo Pro system. The only cameras available were now called "Arlo Essential", so I naively bought them, thinking they were just an updated model. They've been fine for a while, but now I'm told my "trial" is expiring and apparently they will cease to record to the cloud!!! How on earth was I supposed to know this?

 

I saw elsewhere somebody complained about this, and the reply was something like "well you should have done a bit of light reading". What the?! Many people are actually busy and have other things to do in life than mess around online researching sneaky gotchas in products before they buy. This is something that has changed since I last bought the products, how was I to know? What a rip-off! Without recording functions the cameras are basically useless and I've wasted my money.

 

If Arlo has moved to a new greedy "recurring revenue" model, then why are their cameras still so expensive? Surely they should be far cheaper, if I have to pay Arlo year after year just to use the things! What a nice little earner. At the very least there should be some sort of big warning label on the box in red stating "These cameras will only record if you pay an ongoing subscription".

 

Buyer beware!!!

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