Hope everyone is keeping safe and well.
Since the early hours of yesterday morning (25th April) UK time all of my Arlo Pro cameras have been suffering from extreme pixelation in both live view and motion detection recordings. The location of the cameras and base station have not changed for months.
The base station is VMB4000r3 on firmware 18.104.22.168_3348_facf74c
The four cameras are version H8 1.092.0.25_24_986
The pixelated video is also present on local USB storage suggesting a local issue.
I have checked WiFi strength using an analyser and all is good. All cameras have three bars in the Arlo app.
One of the cameras is within ten feet of the base station with no obstructions and is suffering the same.
I have noticed that a camera firmware update was issued in the last few days. Are there any known problems that could have caused such a drastic change in system performance?
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And here I thought the issue could be the age of the camera. Now I see that the issue I've been seeing of pixelation is due to the latest firmware. The worst part is since last month the video on one camera is about 50%-60% totally distorted for the first couple of seconds where nothing can be seen and slowly clears when the object moves off the scene. And the icons showing a sample of what was recorded looks like someone took a painting canvas, applied dots of color across the top of it, then took their fingers and smeared through the color dots down to the bottom of the canvas. I can't see anything. I contacted Arlo about this and I was told to shut down the camera and remove the battery. Then delete it from the list of cameras in the system. Then he had me add it back. This did nothing to help. But instead I still get the "smeared" color canvas 50%-60% of the time and the motion pick up range is so short now I'm getting practically no videos at all even at 100% sensitivity. I can walk right past the camera and nothing is picked up until I get two feet from the camera. For vehicles it is somewhat better but not much. This is unacceptable. You can be certain if nothing is fixed with this I'm going to be tossing these out and find a better quality system to protect my property.
I am seeing the same thing here.
I went back and browsed some downloaded videos for the exact same Pro 2 camera.
On 30 January 2020 a 11 second video was 1388kB in size, so 126kB per second or 1009kbps (or 0.99Mbps).
On 9 May 2020 a 11 second video was 691kB in size, so 62.8kB per second or 502kbps (or 0.49Mbps).
By comparison I happened to have a 1080P video taken with a Canon G9X compact camera. It is also 11 seconds long and is 31.7Mb in size (that is right 32,461kB compared with the recent 691kB for an 11 second 1080P Arlo Pro 2 video - 47 times the size). The bitrate for the Canon video is 2951kB per second or 23,608kbps (or 23Mbps), and not surprisingly the video quality is vastly (and I mean DSLR vs 2001 Nokia cellphone camera) better.
According to a data bitrate table posted here earlier, 1080P at 24/25/30 frames/second should be 10Mbps and our "good" Arlo Pro 2 videos were already compressed to 1Mbps, and are now compressed further to less than 0.5Mbps, which is a 20:1 compression ratio. Even 720P is supposed to 6.5Mbps, which is more than 10 times the current bitrate. No wonder the quality is so poor.
Arlo should know (and based on comments here they probably do and are using it as a ploy to reduce the free storage) that there is only so far you can compress a digital file before it is completely wrecked.
I agree that this issue has NOTHING to do with;
- Wifi speed or quality
- Distance from base station
- Internet connection quality
- Ambient conditions
- The colour or the sky, or any other ridiculous excuse that some people might dream up
It has everything to do with over-compressing the data to a point where it is effectively useless. My "security" cameras (and I use the term VERY loosely) are essentially useless for their intended purpose because I am not sure I would recognise my first born if she walked past one of the cameras.
I have tried to be reasonable about this since my first post. There appears to be no formal complaint process that I can use to escalate within Arlo. If there is one I would appreciate the opportunity as my next course of action would be to raise a case with UK Trading Standards as the product has not been fit for purpose for a long period of 2019 (May to October) and now since the firmware update of April 2020.
Under the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 I have a right to
"get what you pay for – all information about the main characteristics of the goods, including statements made in advertising or on labels, to form part of the contract." - I paid for a system that provides Free rolling 7 day cloud storage for 5 cameras at 'maximum 1080p resolution' (I accept that the Pro is 720p only). Whilst Arlo is recording at 720p resolution the bitrate is so low since the firmware update that I do not believe that it meets any quality criteria that one would reasonably expect from 720p content.
I believe that firmware updates would be covered by the Digital Content' section of the act that states:
"a clear right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content...Specifically, the supply of digital content is regulated when it is supplied free with goods and services which the consumer has paid for and would not be generally available to consumers otherwise." "Where digital content does not conform, the consumer can call upon the following statutory remedies: repair or replacement; or a price reduction. The repair or replacement must be performed within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience to the consumer"
All I am looking for here is recognition of the issue and to understand what a reasonable expectation of the timescale for resolution would be.
Looks like my previous message has been deleted from the thread (so someone from Arlo appears to be actively looking at it).
I will try again…
@JamesC , @ShayneS and @JessicaP or any other representative from Arlo – Can you please provide an update. Throughout my posts here I have tried to be reasonable. I have also explained the problem in detail twice and sent example files to Arlo support directly. I still have had no contact from Arlo on any of the three tickets that have been raised.
The support options are restricted and I have exhausted the forum and the support team itself so I wish to escalate this to a formal complaint. I would rather not do this in a public forum but I seem to have no other choice as I cannot find a formal complaint mechanism on the Arlo website. If there is one, can you please advise as my next alternative course of action would be to raise a case with UK Trading Standards under the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 which states:
“Right to get what you pay for – all information about the main characteristics of the goods, including statements made in advertising or on labels, to form part of the contract." – I have paid for free 7 days rolling cloud storage on a plan that “never expires” for up to 5 cameras with a maximum resolution of 1080p. Whilst The Pro records in 720p and the recordings adhere to the 1280x720 format I do not believe that a reasonableness check on the bitrate and quality would lead to a conclusion that the current quality is what one would expect on purchase of the product.
I also believe that firmware would be covered by the Digital Content sections of the act:
“a clear right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content… Specifically, the supply of digital content is regulated when it is supplied …free with goods and services which the consumer has paid for and would not be generally available to consumers otherwise" “the consumer can call upon the following statutory remedies: repair or replacement; or a price reduction. The repair or replacement must be performed within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience to the consumer".
All I am asking for is recognition that there is an issue that needs to be resolved and to understand what a reasonable time will be to fix it. It is becoming frustrating that I and many others on this thread are having to invest significant amounts of time and effort in trying to get Arlo to respond to a fundamental quality issue.
Arlo at least needs to give some sort of timeline for addressing this. I'm going to start looking into false advertising in Canada with this product. We have laws very similar to the UK. On the surface this looks like it would be a field day for a lawyer.
Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act - Canada
7 (1) No dealer shall apply to any prepackaged product or sell, import into Canada or advertise any prepackaged product that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may reasonably be regarded as relating to that product.
Definition of false or misleading representation
(a) any representation in which expressions, words, figures, depictions or symbols are used, arranged or shown in a manner that may reasonably be regarded as qualifying the declared net quantity of a prepackaged product or as likely to deceive a consumer with respect to the net quantity of a prepackaged product;
(b) any expression, word, figure, depiction or symbol that implies or may reasonably be regarded as implying that a prepackaged product contains any matter not contained in it or does not contain any matter in fact contained in it; and
(c) any description or illustration of the type, quality, performance, function, origin or method of manufacture or production of a prepackaged product that may reasonably be regarded as likely to deceive a consumer with respect to the matter so described or illustrated.
Another observation - it seem that adjusting the video setting on the cameras (Best Video versus Best Battery Life) makes little or no difference on the recording quality, video bitrate, or local file size. I tried adjusting the video settings on my Pro and Pro 2 cameras and recorded essentially the same movement at both settings and examined the local file properties with the following results:
Pro camera, Best Video: 546 kbps bitrate, 23.88 frames/sec, 4028 KB file size
Pro camera, Best Battery: 545 kbps bitrate, 23.88 frames/sec, 4020 KB file size
Pro 2 camera, Best Video: 420 kbps bitrate, 23.34 frames/sec, 4664 KB file size
Pro 2 camera, Best Battery: 437 kbps bitrate, 23.70 frames/sec, 4843 KB file size
Visually, I can tell no significant difference in quality just watching the videos at the two settings. I don't know what should be changing when the video quality is switched from Best Video to Best Battery Life. But I almost wonder if Arlo has simply defaulted all recordings to the Best Battery Life settings, with no option to change it.
"Maybe there is a firmware issue too, but I believe the app is the source of many issues. For instance, the pixelation and connection issues seem much improved when I reboot the phone or reinstall the app."
Are you comparing the exact same files?
I download the files from the library in the cloud. I only use the app to see if there's something interesting, but I view the files on my PC. It doesn't matter what PC I download them to. or whether I download them to a PC or mobile device, nor does it matter what software I view them on - all the way up to Adobe Premiere Pro (I'm a filmmaker) - they look just as bad and pixelated. Comparing current files to ones from last year it's apparant they took a big step down this spring.
I'd sign on, not to get anything out of it, but to get Netgear to rise to the occasion to fix their junk.
I thought Arlo stopped their association with Netgear last year.
I won't be purchasing any more Arlo products when these Pros give up, there are much better vendors/options. I wish that would be soon so I could justify another $1000 on a home security system
I'm looking for suggestions for a better option. I want all-weather, wireless operation, with good IR night-vision, with a dedicated base station like the Arlo has so it's not dependent on the range of my WiFi since some of the units are located elsewhere on my 1.6 acre property
I believe that someone has already started the class action lawsuit
What is your source of information? I think many of us would eagerly join it if there was one but this is the first I've heard.
Earlier comparison was done exclusively on the USB recordings so what I observe has nothing to do with the Arlo app nor website. It is purely camera or base station.
By the way, is it the camera or the base station that performs the compression?
These issues have degraded the system so much that it no longer serves its intended purpose as a security system. I have just filed a complaint with the BBB looking for Arlo to refund my purchase price. I will pursue legal action per Massachusetts Ch. 93A consumer laws should Arlo not respond to the BBB complaint. I have had it with Arlo taking my money on false pretenses and compromising my security.
Now I understand another reason why they combine similar posts under one thread, to bury the subject matter pages deep, away from the front page.
Generally in forums like this, threads with the most recent posts rise to the top.
Not here. The 'original' post gets buried so new or casual uses can't see them.
In addition to the poor video quality, it seems like the cameras are now getting triggered much easier leading to lots of nuisance notifications (trees blowing, shadows, etc.). Is anyone else experiencing this? I am using activity zones on some cameras.
The late April firmware update compromised the video quality on Pro and Pro 2 cameras. See this thread:
Arlo has been completely silent on this issue. I doubt this will get fixed any time soon, if ever.
I have the same issues as all the other posts regarding the recent extreme poor quality video pixelation. I have tried all the same measures..rebooting...changing the wifi channels to avoid interference, etc with no improvement. Had a chat with customer service and opened up a case file with no feedback.
I hope this issue can be resolved....I really like my Arlo system and it has worked great for years...
Sadly, once again, we all have to wait for a fix. A 2-3 months time frame. It's a buggy firmware because Arlo had to release their new product Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera to be compatible with all the Base lineup..
This bug introduction into legacy due to feature update strengthens the argument for (1) the need for a clear explanation of what they are pushing in their release notes as a standard practice and (2) allowing users to defer the update or to revert in the case when they push out a mess.
Seriously, if they haven't fired their head of engineering (or at least head of testing), the current CEO should consider it. How many times can a company fail to get their act together? They are eroding their user fan base by the day.
People should write to tech magazines/online review sites to re-review the Arlo products they have done prior. See if these reviewers will amend their older evaluations. These reviewers need to take stock that vendors can pump up their products for the review and then erode service later.
While there may be a bug in this latest firmware, it probably is a compounding effect ON TOP of their extreme compression. This compression issue has been going on for over a year now. If the compression weren't so severe, this apparent bug would have been minimized. It appears to me to be there is a frame reset that occurs a couple of seconds after the recording starts. When this occurs with extreme compression, it can take a long time for the video to clear up. I bet that these new lights have a delay turning on, and instead of washing out the camera recording for a couple of seconds before these legacy cameras adjust, they have hacked in a simple recording resync. This resync paired with the extreme compression results in massive pixelation until the frame has enough data again to make a clearer picture. The result is camera records normally, and then ~2-3 seconds into the recording the frame messes up. Then it takes 5+ more seconds for the recording to clear up. This bug, combined with the extreme compression, renders these cameras useless. If a fix cannot be pushed shorter than a week or two, ARLO please revert the firmware now!
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