After several hours with tech support, i've learned this about the Ultra system:
If you use CVR on a ultra camera, regardless of your network connection and camera proximity to the base station, after a short about of time (im talking a few hours), the camera will stop respecting activity zones. Then, the footage will have so much artifacts around motion, that entire people start to blur into noise and blockiness. Image attached at bottom of post.
I've found the solution and it indeed is with the CVR. I've restored functionality to my Ultra camera, but it cost me turning off CVR. After turning off CVR, respect to activity zones are restored, the camera becomes stable, and the footage looks clean. I then upgraded to PVR (4K) footage in the cloud to stress-test the ultra, and the results still hold well.
- 1 Ultra within 10 feet of the base station, running as CVR, no PVR. I've change this setup after my testing and I now only run the ultra with PVR, and NO CVR.
- 450Mbps down speed, 22Mbps up speed
- Mesh Linksys Network (VELOP)
Tech Support Troubleshooting:
- Changing my network channels to lower the interference with the base station's wifi channel did nothing.
- Moving my base station closer to the troubled camera immediately helped resolve all my issues BUT THIS WAS NOT RELATIVE to moving the base station because my issues re-appeared within hours. What actually happened is that the base station was rebooted by the relocation (i had to unplug it and plug it back in).
What i noticed is that the flaw appears to be in the base station and/or the cloud transcoding / analysis. When the ultra camera is recording in CVR mode, you will notice in the timeline it's about 45 seconds behind real-time. Wait a moment and you'll see the footage appear (the 45 second block). I believe in CVR mode, the camera is streaming footage to the base station, which is transcoding the footage on the fly. I believe over time, this transcode gets backed up, and when it gets backed up, the artifacts appear in your footage. PLUS, i believe if you set your Ultra to also record on motion (whereby you get clips in your library), I believe with SMART NOTIFICATIONS, the post processing in the cloud never occurs. Since the CVR appears to bog down the base station, I believe the cloud never gets the clips to post-process because of the handoff bogged down by the CVR transcode process.
Arlo Ultra CVR is broken. With current firmware, CVR will cause you hundreds of mis-fired notifications and dramatically terrible footage that is not useable in ANY respect. Im not being dramatic, but people within 10 feet blur into a block mess and you can barely see the color of their t-shirt.
My advice: get your money back for CVR. Get PVR, it works. I did side-by-side comparisons of 4K and HD with the cloud clips downloaded and there is a sharpness that's worth the upgrade. So, get PVR, ditch CVR until it gets fixed, or use a HD camera only for CVR if you must have it (pro 2 is stable, i see the same tech specs on the Pro 3 as with the Ultra, so i'd recommend avoiding the pro 3 for now if you want CVR).
I can't stress enough how much better the ultra runs now without CVR. My street traffic doesn't trigger any alerts, my footage is now 4K and crisp. Motion looks good, no blocky compression. And I believe it's all because the base station is underpowered either the hardware is bad, can't handle the 4K stream, or the CVR code needs some help.
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Thank you for bringing this to our attention along with the excellent detailed information.
I was able to find your support ticket and have escalated that along with your post here to the engineering team for further review.
I want to mention one more thing that might help the Arlo brand.
I noticed when helping a family member setup their nest cameras that the UX design with the nest did a role in educating the user about features relative to the camera all in one sub-menu per camera. If you took the current menu system you have where activity zones are assigned, and added slide-toggles for PVR, CVR, maybe aggregate other feature sets... you could use tooltips to help explain why the upcharge, how things work, it would give the Arlo brand a `customized` feel rather than a hidden cost `a-la-carte` model.
Right now, camera-relative features are hard to find: setting up an activity zone for example is in a sub-menu relative to a specific camera, which is good. But far out of this sub-menu, you can also setup 'smart notifications', relative to each specific camera. Then PVR and CVR are completely ghost features on the iOS app. Purchasing it is difficult: you must go to the website, not on an iphone, not on an ipad, but specific you must be on a computer to get the desktop site. Then, when buying these features, I think Arlo could better explain why each feature is necessary, so the customer is both educated and understands why storing 4K in Amazon S3 costs more than storing HD in S3 and therefore the upcharge. With refactoring this UI/UX, you could offer easy trials that generate more income for Arlo.
Just a thought!
Would you post back here if CVR is indeed a issue and is resolved? I’ve cancelled by CVR subscription and purchased the PVR for now. I’d like to keep a CVR subscription but I want to wait until it’s been reviewed and the issue is found & resolved.
Please post back on the status of the solution. I just upgraded one new Ultra camera to CVR yesterday and overnight it started experiencing the pixelation issue. I'm reluctant to switch over to PVR at the moment due to a current neighborhood issue.
Thanks to the OP for the detailed explanation. I do plan on attempting to reboot and relocate the base further away from the router, but the camera has a solid signal at the moment, and this all started within hours of subscribing to CVR.
but what exactly is PVR? I understand it’s 4K recording but I need 24/7 recording. Is PVR 24/7?
PVR is "premium video recording" In the case of Ultra, it is needed if you want 4K recording for motion detection.
But CVR will is only 1080p, so if you are buying CVR for a camera you shouldn't get PVR also.
Can you give us more information about the issue you experienced? What do you mean when you say it caused the camera to "stop responding"? Was there a specific error message were you seeing?
It just says "Connecting" and spins when trying to access the live view now even without the CVR activated. The CVR has never worked which I submitted a couple other tickets for. I have submitted multiple tickets and have not heard back from anyone in the last 30 days. I have however cancelled the CVR again because I am not paying that insane amount for it not to work. It should work without fail for the price you all are charging people. $10-$20 a month PER CAMERA for a service that has not functioned either times I subscribed is ludicrous. Now I have a completely separate issue which is that this camera is not responsive or submitting alerts. Again it is on constant power so it is not dead. Lastly, it is on a mount in the air so for someone to climb a ladder to reach a camera in snow and ice makes it a dangerous product to own. I have reset the arlo hub and attempted to turn the camera on and off in the app without any luck getting this camera to function after it was setup on CVR service. The first round that this happen was similar. The camera would send limited videos to the cloud and would not respond in live view. Now it just doesn't work. I will have to wait until i can access the camera with a ladder to remove the battery and see if it fixes it. This does not even include the issue that has been submitted about the library missing clips that are clearly on the SD card. That is a separate topic. I also noticed while I was typing this 1 other camera has stopped responding. 2 out of 4 are working as designed.
I just wanted to respond to your post about this.
i own an Ultra 2 camera system with an audio doorbell and door chime with both my cameras outside plugged into AC power with the Arlo 25 foot outdoor power cords and subscribed to CVR and PVR (up until this past Friday morning).
I’ve been experiencing issues on and off with no cloud recordings, no smart notifications, incorrect smart detection, ie Arlo says it detects a person but it’s actually a vehicle or it says it detects an animal and it’s actually a person etc, etc. also it would not be able to smart detect from the motion of it would just keep it as a motion, even though there was clearly a person or a vehicle in the shot of the camera view.
So on Friday morning I went to Arlo’s website and removed my CVR subscription. Now I only have PVR with 4k recordings and smart detection.
Ever since then my smart notifications, cloud recordings, and smart detection have started working AMAZING and better than ever with no more CVR plan. It detects animals for animals, people for people, vehicles for vehicles, because as I’ve stated in the past the Arlo smart notifications would mix up a lot stating it detected.
Thanks Zach, worse case now that I don’t have CVR I’ll just rely on my micro SD recordings if need be.