New 1-camera Ultra: low resolution, low bitrate...is this as good as it gets?
Hi all. First time caller etc.
I've just this week installed a new single-camera Ultra with base. I don't think the image quality is adequate and I may return it via Amazon. Unfortunately I'm already near the 30-day return window as I had to leave town on a family emergency the day the system shipped.
I'm using the system a bit differently than most; I live in Chicago on a corner and am intending this to be a 'neighborhood watch' type thing as much as watching for 'porch pirates.' Obviously that means the camera is going to get triggered a lot.
The system was easy to set up. The one camera is mounted outside my office and is less than 15' from the Smart base. I have the viewing angle set to 'wide.'
But the picture quality is terrible. Downloading a clip and looking at the properties, the video resolution is only 1760x992, which is slightly less than 1080, probably because the viewing angle crops into the camera sensor. However the bitrate is only 1.077 Mb/s! No wonder it's so pixelated!
I'm a pro cinematographer so know a little bit about video. I am a bit pissed that this '4k' camera came with a year's subscription to the Smart cloud recording, which is only 1080, but I get how that works. And I understand that this is slightly less than 1080 due to the narrower angle cropping in on the sensor. However this is nowhere close to actual 1080 resolution.
The low bitrate means that no matter what quality the camera puts out, the recordings are likely to be near-useless.
My internet connection is AT&T fiber, so I don't think that's the bottleneck.
Any advice is welcome; right now I'm thinking this thing goes back.
I put a micro-SD card into the base, let it record for a while, and then removed it to check the quality. It's far better, enough that I'd call it 'adequate.' Still very compressed, and not quite 4K, but adequate. I see that I (supposedly) shouldn't be able to record 4K locally while on a 'Smart' Plan which tops out at 2K, but that makes no sense, and at least for now it's working. I think this is an okay solution; should I have an issue that needs a look, I can first check the cloud recording from my phone, and if need be, then check the card when at home.
FWIW I put in a 256gb card which the base accepted with no issue.
With the Ultra cameras you can utilize the Local 4k Live Streaming. If you would like to record to the cloud in 4k you will need the Arlo Smart Elite subscription. You can find more info here: What are the available Arlo subscription plans and how much cloud recording is available?
^ I suppose that is supposed to be a 'helpful' response, but it really isn't. It's just a reiteration of *what I already posted* and frankly looks like something a bot would reply rather than a live person.
It's ridiculous that Arlo would sell a '4K' camera with a 'free year' of Cloud recording/storage...except that the recording is NOT 4K. I'm sure that is notated somewhere in the fine print, but really it's bait and switch, and leaves me as a new customer with a bad impression right off the bat.
However, I noted above, because of the local 4K storage, this is working adequately for me at present.
The battery life is about what I expected, 2-3 days before a charge is needed. This is because the camera is seeing sidewalks and street and is triggered a lot. I can recharge the battery with a small juice pack that puts out 5V. A solar panel might work but I'm doubtful it'll do enough, esp with cloudy weather.
4K quality? Recording with SD card intact and Elite Subscription does not record 4K. Having issues with both. 4K viewing is intermittent, cant record, quality is 2K. Please advise. Thanks!
I think you'll more likely get an 'official' Arlo response by starting your own thread, as I already got a response on this one.
However I doubt you'll get more help than I did...which is none.
I can't really help you either. I was disappointed at the '1 year free recording' not being 4K, but practically speaking, what I have works okay, and transmitting and recording that much data might tax my internet connection as my camera triggers hundreds of times a day.
Recording to the SD card in the base unit is something I'd do anyway, for backup. I think of it like video editing, where the online recording is a 'proxy' at low resolution but I still have the 'master' on physical media if needed.
As far as your not being able to get 4K out of the camera, or not consistently, it likely has to do with distance from base unit, or possibly something interfering. That's something that did work out for me as my camera is just outside the office where my base unit is. If I put a second camera on the back of the house it'll be a different matter.