Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Arlo Ultra must pay for subscription plan, can only view local recordings if on the same network

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mauijer
Apprentice
Apprentice

It is said that a successful company should think what it can do for it's customers rather than what it's customers can do for them.

 

Arlo use to follow the first but it is clear they now only care about dollars in their pocket. This was evident upon opening the Arlo 4 camera system and seeing how they skimped out on charging cords and mounting systems and now extends to their lack of function. 

 

A company can grow by retaining it's loyal customers or attracting new customers. So why is Arlo destroying its fan base and offering less at a higher price? This forum is riddled with Ultra problems. The first year was a flop with underperformance and bait and switch advertisements. The Ultra was marketed as premium security and we paid a premium price for it. What did we get: issues with 4k, decreased PIR detection distance, decreased battery life, frequent service interruptions that leave our homes unprotected. Then they gave us a swift kick to the nethers by discontinuing the reason many chose Arlo in the first place: 7 day free cloud storage. I sold my Arlo Pro 2 to "upgrade" to Ultra.. boy was I wrong in that move. Now that all the 1yr free subscription plans are expiring we are seeing how Arlo truly feels about its customers. It is stopping all services without adequate warning immediately unless you pay their subscriptions plans. The free plan includes no cloud access despite the lower models still having this. Their solution to calm the uproar was to say that we can view local recordings .... but here's the thing, you really can't. So Arlo bought themselves some time but the glaring issue is now emerging. You can only view your local recordings if you are at home on the same network as your Smarhub! How stupid is that? So bought a security system for when we are not home but now cannot view anything if we are away?? The push notifications without a subscription are now completely worthless and just say "motion detected" on x camera. I get the no smart notifications but not being able to view the triggering event defeats the purpose of having cameras. Basically my $1200 Ultra setup is now just a series of motion detection lights... 

 

Arlo needs to take a look at itself because a company this poor in customer service is destined for failure. I foresee a lot of Ultras going up for sale in the used market as customers discover that Arlo no longer cares about their technology's usability, performance or our security and safety.

 

My suggestion to Arlo is to give Ultra users back their free remote access. 

If anyone else feels the same please comment here

Model: VMS5440 | Arlo Ultra 4 Camera Kit
18 REPLIES 18
Craig-S
Apprentice
Apprentice

Hi there, yes completely agree with all of the above. With all the glitches and then updates causing more it is ridiculous. I’ve just had to remove a glitchy camera from my system (after customer support suggested) then re-add it. Low and behold it now won’t allow me to drag and drop back into the Premium video Recording I still have 3 months left on. Called customer service and was basically told the plan no longer exists so therefore this camera will no longer be allowed on. My other camera still has the 4K PVR!! I was told tough! And refund was remote. Surprise surprise nobody at Arlo seems bothered or competent to help me out with this infringement of my contract. Will probably just return them to Amazon for refund as not fit for purpose. Disgraceful.

JamesC
Community Manager
Community Manager

mauijer,

 

Arlo ultra has always required a subscription to Arlo Smart to view and save recordings to the cloud. The Direct Storage Access feature allows for locally stored content to be viewed on the same network or remotely with VPN or Port forwarding enabled. For more information on how to set up Direct Storage Access, take a look here: What is Direct Storage Access and how do I use it?

 

JamesC

 

 

Floydbloke
Tutor
Tutor

@JamesC   - you're missing the point.

mauijer
Apprentice
Apprentice

James,

My point is that Loyal customers, many of whom pre-purchased Ultra's prior to the notification that 7 day cloud recording was not offered, invested in Arlo based on the usability of our prior models and expected to maintain the same level of performance with the added technology advertised by Ultras, namely 4k video, tracking, and spotlight.

 

Not only was 4k a technicality at best and a blatant false advertisement at worst, but the poor performance of the Ultra's in the first year left many wondering what they invested in. Usability and dependability was worse than the Pro 2. If anything we only recently received a true product that should have been delivered upon purchase 1 year ago and at minimum the free Arlo Smart plan should be extended for those of us colloquially referred to as "unpaid Beta testers." In my opinion it should be blatantly advertised on the box that Ultras require a subscription because to pretend that they are usable without is straight BS. Coming from the Arlo system (in theory your valued customer) one tends to expect what they have considered standard of care from Arlo. Free cloud storage is the biggest perk on any review site as the reason to pick Arlo Pro and Pro 2. This is a changing world.. Airline's now charge for the ability to have a carry-on and sit with family members and Security Camera companies expect to be paid a premium to allow they customers to use their expensive cameras after purchase... It's very disappointing.

 

 

Model: VMS5440 | Arlo Ultra 4 Camera Kit
mauijer
Apprentice
Apprentice

 

 

James,

The VPN instructions are vague and confusing to non-IT folks.

I have noticed Local storage clips are available only to the primary user and not authorized users?

Notification alerts should still include at least a snapshot of the triggering event even without a Smart subscription. Other competitors offer this.

                                                 These are not helpful alerts:

IMG_2409[12132].PNG

Trance_Omega
Guide
Guide
I have up after 3 months of useless arlo support with mails in the last few weeks being in Chinese or Japanese!!!
I have thrown my non working arlo camera in the trash as it is too much trouble to ship back to the US after 3 months of back and forth to which I presume they did purposly to run the the return for refund date.
I have some choice words for arlo and their so called support but will not post them here.
I should have checked trust pilot before purchasing as the red flags are clearly there.
Model: VMS5240 | Arlo Ultra 2 Camera Kit
michaelkenward
Sensei Sensei
Sensei

@mauijer wrote:

James,

My point is that Loyal customers, many of whom pre-purchased Ultra's prior to the notification that 7 day cloud recording was not offered....

 


These people do not exist. The subscription nature of the UItra system was made clear from day one.

 

Some people did not realise that until they started using their systems, probably because they assumed that the old Pro 2 system would continue, but you can't blame Arlo for that.


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
LandJS
Mentor
Mentor

That would be a yes and a no.  It was made clear once you purchased and were setting it up, at least as far back as Jan. of 2019.  Then you had to decide on keep or return.  It wasn't clear at all in the advertising or the main seller at the time BestBuy, especially the 4K only with extra pay.  Go back and read the professional reviews and even those who praised much about Ultra were disappointed by this fact and are telling people if your not going to get 4K purchase a different system for far less money.  Things are a bit better now that the pay plans have gone to 2K, however the number of cameras has been cut in half without paying extra.  It will depend on where that price point goes, it's a fast changing industry right now with NVR's that are 4K and facial recognition and some of the pro services are adding the doorbell cams and notifications.  For an additional fee.

All_Tork
Tutor
Tutor

Wow... I’m glad I found this thread. I was so impressed with my Arlo Pro 2 cameras, I was almost about buy 4 Ultra’s to add to the system.  I don’t think I will now, gonna have to look at other options. 

LandJS
Mentor
Mentor

All-Tork your not alone, I know 4 people with Pro2 that changed their mind after seeing the online stories and talking to Ultra owners.  They are going to wait and see where Google and Amazon go with their systems.  Both have enough free cloud service that to offer 7 days shouldn't be a issue.  Can't swear by Google but Amazon still does.

JBX
Initiate
Initiate

Wow - glad I stumbled on this thread.  I have a handful of Pro 2 cameras, and was just about to buy a kit of 5 ultra's to add a few more locations and get the higher resolution.  Was looking at how to add them to my current subscription and realized I can't - plus no option to just have the free rolling 7 day cloud storage...  this is very disapointing and unfortunate.  I saw the local storage option and at first thought that would be great - but now realize that it can't be viewed when away from home - how absurd is that?  I don't need to view the videos when I'm home, I need to view them when I'm away...  I don't want to be locked into a high price subscription with no reasonable alternatives, so will probably be looking at competitors now.

trinatron
Apprentice
Apprentice

I was a late adopter of an Ultra kit (Dec 2019) and therefore I was perfectly aware of the local 4K recordings which can be accessed locally and remotely and that you only require a subscription for the smart notifications and cloud recordings.

 

My plan was to keep using the Premier subscription for the smart notifications and cloud recordings @1080P as a backup while recording locally to the SD card in the smarthub @4K. This is one of the main reasons I picked Arlo over Eufy at the time and I tested both systems.

 

What's really dissapointing and is actually making me consider switching to Eufy or Nest, is the fact that once the free 1 year Premier subscription runs out you have no choice but to pay for the more expensive Elite subscription if you want to still record locally in 4K but also have a sbscription for the smart notifications. If you chose the 2K subscription it will only record locally in 2K as well.

 

In regards to the 4K quality you have to cut Arlo some slack here. The Arlo Ultra still produces the best image of any wireless battery operated security camera I know of. Unfortunately using WiFi requires some serious compression and therefore if you want a true 4K image you have no choice but to go wired/POE. There's a reason why the other manufacturers of battery operated WiFi cameras haven't produced 4K cameras.

 

On a final note I do believe subscriptions will be the norm in the future. Vendors can no longer survive just on selling hardware, they need to be able to afford and provide a great service.

Model: VMB5000 | Arlo Ultra SmartHub
StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@JBX wrote:

 I saw the local storage option and at first thought that would be great - but now realize that it can't be viewed when away from home - how absurd is that?  


Not true, it can be viewed when you are away from home.  You do need to forward the appropriate port in your router though.

michaelkenward
Sensei Sensei
Sensei

Paradoxically, it is almost easier to view local recordings away than at home.

 

At home you can't use the browser – the most obvious way of checking recordings – you have to use a mobile app.

 

 

 

 


Just another user
Arlo hardware: Q Plus, Pro 2 (X2), Pro 3 (X3), Pro 3 Floodlight, Security Light (X2), Ultra (X2), Doorbell, Chime
LandJS
Mentor
Mentor

So are you saying that with port fwd you can view on a computer when away from home.  That would surely make you wonder why only on your phone app at home ?

JBX
Initiate
Initiate

Thanks for the clarification on the port forwarding.  I did see that option, but don't consider that to be a reasonable solution for the average user.  Most people do not understand how to configure port forwarding, and even if they do, it isn't really a great practice to expose the system to the Internet.  Only people who really understand how to do this securely should even be considering this option.  And most people that are qualified to do it properly, would probably also advise others against it 😉 

Given that Arlo already has a secure outbound connection from the basestation to their servers, it would seem they could facilitate a proxy connection to your local storage via their secure channels.  A small monthly fee to enable this capability over existing secure infrastructure would be reasonable, and a less expensive option if you don't need the cloud resiliency or added features of the smart plans...

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@JBX wrote:

 

Given that Arlo already has a secure outbound connection from the basestation to their servers, it would seem they could facilitate a proxy connection to your local storage via their secure channels.  


I agree on that, and I think I've suggested it in other posts here (as a free service).

 

Not sure if a very low cost subscription for a local storage proxy would be well received by customers (or what the proxy would cost Alro either).  But in general I think there is room for a lower-priced subscription tier below premier.

YeahRight
Initiate
Initiate

I agree totally. When I bought the Arlo Ultra camera system I was led to believe that the cloud subscription was optional forever. It even states this fact on the box. "Cloud Storage keeps all your clips secure. Access your clips for 30 days on up to 10 cameras. Safe and Secure." ** The astric symbols state in very fine print that "Higher resolution clip storage requires add-on subscription." Nothing is mentioned about being forced into a subscription after a one year trial period for the lower resolution cloud access. Wow do I see a law suit coming on this one or what?

Model: VMB5000 | Arlo Ultra SmartHub
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