I purchased the nearly double-priced Ultras to take advantage of their 4K recording capabilities.
Subsequently, I have experienced that the cameras are nothing more then 1080P cameras - you are FORCED to buy a 4K feature at $4.99 per camera ( I got a free year but that no longer is a valid subscription). Am I wrong in that? Am I missing something? Without buying an upgrade to 4K, the Ultras wouldn't even record to the LOCAL SD card in 4K? I was told by Arlo tech support that I had to buy an SD card to get 4K cloud recording to work, but that was misinformation. Arlo should list the cameras as 4K CAPABLE WITH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. Unless I'm doing something wrong, this 4K feature seems deceptive (though so far the tech support has validated what I've experienced, and I followed their instructions to pay for the 4K and enable it). I can't justify another $10 month on $600 cameras, it sits poorly with me. Once can pay $15/month for whole house monitoring with sensors on all windows and doors, cameras, police/fire department notification and water/fire alerts with other services. Now there is an ELITE Smart Subscription required for 4K, so all of my SD card AND cloud videos have dropped to 2K.
Just a comment here. I think the point you make here that is most likely to be the downfall of Arlo is the price point. The thing most upsetting to people from the start was losing the free 7 day cloud followed by having to pay extra for 4K cloud. Next was that the SD card access is only available outside your house if you can set up a VPN or are willing to do a port to port setup. I understand that they are a business and cloud service makes money and can understand they don't want to compromise your network but as you pointed out, when it becomes as cheap to just pay for a 24/7 monitoring service many will go with it and eliminate cost, setup, firmware updates and various failures to deal with.
The way I understand it is that it DOES record to the local SD card in 4K, but will only give you cloud 4K with the subscription. I agree that a lot of their marketing is very misleading.
It does record to SD in 4K but you need to set it to best recording. I didn't know or missed it at first that there was the option. The recordings look great when you pull the card and use your computer. Access using the app is only on your phone, when connected to your wi-fi. Unless you set up VPN or port to port. I used to have my Arlo hub plugged into my provider equipment and that wouldn't allow it to work. Had to plug it into the same router I use for the wi-fi on my phone for the app to work. Also, my computer is 4 years old so I had to pick up a newer card reader that is made for 4K cards and downloaded a viewer that could play them as my windows 10 wouldn't as it was.
They were also not in 4K even with the best setting. On iPhone, there is yet no option to view data on the SD card, only from Android (I tested on android and got the port forwarding to work, but all my videos are no longer saving in 4K).
Not sure what to say about why you can't I just checked my SD library and they all say 4K on mine. Only thing I would wonder is if your SD card is made for 4K recordings, mine states it has 4K recording capabilities.