5 Best Video Doorbell Without Subscription (Reviewed 2022)


Best Overall


  • HD WiFi Video
  • Award-Winning Performance
  • Works with Alexa

Premium Choice

  • Wireless
  • Integrated Floodlight
  • Movement Detection

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

06.22.2022

Written By: John Fox | Security expert / Locksmith 30 Years Experience

A lot of video doorbells require you to subscribe to their monthly package in order to benefit from their best features. But, having to pay an extra bill monthly or yearly can really add up to huge fees over the long term. With hours of painstaking research and our expertise in testing, we’ve put together a guide that will discuss in detail five video doorbells that give you all the benefits of a subscription doorbell but don’t require a subscription.

If you’re in a rush, the best doorbell with such a classification that would fit most people is the SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell. It offers cloud-based storage for free and is compatible with smart home devices. It also has some other impressive features that the competitors can’t match.

Best Overall

SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell, Silver

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. SSkyBell HD WiFi Video Doorbell (SH02300BZ)

SkyBell is a relatively new brand that has been gaining in popularity for the competitive advantages its products have over other brands. SkyBell owns over 150 design patents that make their bells uniquely distinctive from everyone else in the market.

The Skybell Video Doorbell has won several awards, and it has been consecutively named “the best video doorbell” by CNET in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

SkyBellofferes all the features and smart video doorbells can offer. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, which allows you to customize the doorbell to your preferences. Integration with Amazon Echo and or Echo dot allows you to answer the door conveniently from anywhere in your house.

But what makes SkyBell really stand out is that they don’t charge any extra monthly fees for their cloud-based storage. You can view or download recorded footage from their servers from anywhere around the globe. Multiple people can connect their devices to the camera, and everyone can access the footage. They keep video footage in their servers for one week without charging you a penny, a perk you won’t find in other doorbells.

The doorbell also offers silent mode. When activated, pressing the doorbell button only sends you a notification on your phone and doesn’t ring your bell.

Another exceptionally impressive feature the SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell has is a 180-degree lens. That is the widest possible lens you can have in a doorbell and allows you to view everything from the far left to the far right. This leaves no blind spots at all.

The Skybell Doorbell also has color night vision. This is enabled by combining two different innovative technologies together.

The camera has an infrared light source that emits radiation in the infrared spectrum. Humans can’t see infrared light while cameras can. An infrared bulb illuminates the environment for the camera while it’s still dark to the human eye. Infrared light also takes a lot less energy to produce than visible light, making infrared night vision a more energy-efficient option than placing a visible light source near the camera. However, infrared light is reflected off of surfaces in a different way than visible light. This means that there is no way to construct a colorful image using infrared light only. This is where the other technology comes in.

The Skybell Doorbell camera also uses wide exposure and HDR technology to produce colors even in the dark. A wider lens allows the camera to be exposed to as much light from the environment as possible. The doorstep may be too dark for humans to see anything but a wider lens allows the Skybell Doorbell to collect more of the limited light and construct an image.

HDR works in a slightly different way HDR technology maximizes exposure by combining data from multiple images. In photography, this technique is also known as “long exposure” and this is how astrophotographers are able to capture stars that are too dim for humans to see.

A wide lens and HDR technology may not be able to collect enough data to form a detailed picture. This is why the combination of infrared night vision and high exposure works so well. Infrared night vision creates a detailed image whereas high exposure fills in the image with true colors.

The camera shoots in 1080p and allows 5x zoom, so you can even read license plates on vehicles parked across the street.

The SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell runs on a battery. This means you can install the doorbell bell without even having to run a power wire.

Features:

  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Media Format: Cloud
  • Item Dimension: 2.8 x 0.9 x 2.8 inches 
  • Item Weight: 1.9 Ounces

What We Liked:

  • It has an award winning performance
  • It works well with Alexa
  • It uses PIR sensor
  • Compatible with Operating System for Andriod 4.4 or later and iOS 8.1 or later

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The cloud storage auto deletes recording in 7 days, though you can save it

Verdict:

The SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell is the only doorbell here that is completely wireless. This also makes the SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell the easiest to install and set up.

Best Value

DoorBird WiFi Video Doorbell D101S, Strato Silver Edition

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. DoorBird WiFi Video Doorbell (D101S)

DoorBirdWiFi D101S is a smart doorbell that can integrate well with smart home devices and can be accessed through a smartphone/tablet (iOS and Android).

Doorbird gives you two options; you can either connect the camera to a PoW switch so that it receives power and transmits data via the same cable, or connect the doorbell to your WiFi and power it via closeby socket.

The DoorBirdWiFi D101S is also compatible with smart locks, which can give you different smart customization options. The doorbell can be paired with Kevo, August Locks, Liftmaster, Chamberlain, and Lockstate, among other smart lock brands. This can allow you to remotely view who rang your bell and unlock the door for them even if you’re kilometers away from your home.

The doorbell also has a built-in motion sensor. This means you receive a notification when the doorbell detects motion at your doorstep. When someone approaches your door, you can start viewing live footage even before they ring the bell, and even if they don’t.

Built-in speaker lets to speak to anyone at your door remotely from your smartphone. If someone you don’t know approaches your door and doesn’t ring the bell, you can ask them the purpose of their visit, or if they have some bad intent such as to steal your delivered goods, you can fend them off, letting them know they’re being observed live.

This doorbell is smart home compatible and works with IFTTT. The good news is that while some other doorbells charge you a monthly fee for Alexa compatibility, the DoorBirdWiFi D101S doorbells offer it for free. Smart home and IFTTT compatibility also allow you some other smart features that other doorbells may charge you for.

For example, you can integrate the doorbell with Amazon Alexa so that Alexa can greet anyone at your door using the speaker in the doorbell. Alexa can greet people approaching your door using the motion detector even before they ring the bell. Alexa can also have complete intelligent conversations with people at your doorstep: a feature subscription-based doorbells charge monthly fees for.

IFTTT compatibility allows you to integrate different smart devices and apps any way you like. For example, you can connect your Spotify to Alexa and the DoorBirdWiFi D101S doorbell so that when you approach the door, Alexa starts playing whatever song you liked or saved on your Spotify most recently.

Or you can create an IFTTT applet such that as soon as you unlock the door, Alexa will search Spotify for the words you say near the doorbell and play the song that matches your words best.

Note that this applet would require a collaboration between the doorbell, the smart lock, Alexa, and Spotify. But with IFTTT, you can make any apps or any smart devices collaborate with each other to do anything you want.

If you have an existing chime that you love the sound of, you can also integrate the DoorBirdWiFi D101S with that chime.

Features:

  • 720P High Definition Camera Video
  • Built-in Motion Sensor
  • Item Dimension: ‎11.6 x 3.5 x 12.4 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.85 pounds

What We Liked:

  • Can be accessed by Phone or Tablet ( IOS and Android)
  • Uses WiFi or POE

What We Didn’t Like:

  • It’s a little bit hard to configure, thus, not advisable for tje plug-n-play type of users.

Verdict:

DoorBirdWiFi D101S compatibilities allow you way more customization for free than a paid premium subscription can ever offer.

Premium Choice

Netatmo c Camera, WiFi, Integrated Floodlight, Movement Detection, Night...

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera

We know that this is not exactly a doorbell, but no one buys a video doorbell for the bell any more than anyone buys a smartphone to make telephone calls. We argue that you get all the features that a video doorbell would offer you if you keep your existing traditional doorbell and install the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera at your doorstep.

The only feature a video doorbell has that the combination of a traditional doorbell and the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera doesn’t is the ability to send you a notification when the bell is run. However, this camera serves the purpose better than any video doorbell we could find.

The camera has a built-in AI-powered real-time video analysis system that can detect and distinguish between vehicles, pets, and people. This means that you can customize the camera to only notify you when a person approaches your door or a vehicle enters your driveway.

The camera also allows you to set alert zones so that you only receive notifications when an object is detected in certain areas.

The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera does not use cloud storage. It comes with a micro SD card that stores video footage captured from the camera locally. The camera only uses the internet connection to transmit data to your phone when you’re not home.

The fact that data is not stored in the cloud and that only you can access it leaves your data protected from hackers. Unlike with cloud storage, a hacker can’t simply access your data by hacking the cloud servers. Your data can not be publicly accessed. Your data is also protected from governments who can just demand data from cloud-based data centers in the name of national security.

Lastly, the micro SD card uses bank-level end-to-end data encryption. This means that even if someone got their hands on the card or was able to somehow hack the doorbell, they won’t be able to view the footage unless they also have access to your phone.

But even if they get their hands on your phone, they still can’t access the encryption key if the phone is locked. The data in modern phones is also encrypted, and it’s practically impossible to access data without unlocking the phone.

It would require a huge effort just to unlock your phone and get the encryption key from the card. No hacker can access your footage, nor can a thief.

The sensor in the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera captures video footage at 1080p High Definition resolution. This might seem lower than high-end subscription-based cameras at first. But the fact that the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera uses local storage implies that it does not need to use lossy compression. Unlike cloud-based cameras that have to forcefully compress video footage so that it can be easily uploaded to the cloud, the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Security Camera can store footage of any size on the local micro SD card.

This means that there is no loss of data during the uploading process, and you actually get the full 1920×1080 resolution throughout the footage. This is often not the case with cloud-based video doorbells and security cameras, and footage from even the most high-resolution cameras looks like it’s shot from a first-generation camera phone. This is because it doesn’t matter how much information the camera captures; if the file is too large to upload, it will be compressed down to a mess.

Features:

  • Usage: Outdoor
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Protocol: WiFi
  • Item Dimension: 1.96 x 4.33 x 7.87 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.29 pounds

What We Liked:

  • 1080p Full HD Video
  • 100° field of view
  • Night Vision
  • Weatherproof

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Live views are a bit delayed

Verdict:

It is customizable to your advantage.

Also Great

Ring Video Doorbell Elite

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Ring Video Doorbell Elite

Ring is one of the leading video doorbell manufacturers in the US. They’re one of the most popular and recognizable video doorbell brands in the US.

The Ring Elite Video Doorbell has all the features you’d expect in a smart doorbell. And the fact that it’s from Ring ensures that you’ll get one of the most thoroughly tried and tested doorbell models in the market. The RingElite Video Doorbell has 4.5 stars on Amazon, which is pretty impressive.

The only downside is that the bell doesn’t allow local storage and offers cloud storage for a premium subscription fee. However, the premium subscription is completely optional, which is a reassurance that Ring doesn’t use the razor and blades business model here. To save Ring videos without a subscription, you may want to check here.

However, all the other features that Ring is popular for are free.

You can connect the Ring Elite Video Doorbell to Alexa and have Alexa greet and converse with anyone at your door. If your Echo device also has a screen, the doorbell will show you live footage on the screen when someone rings the bell allowing you to decide if you want Alexa to deal with the delivery person.

You can also remotely converse with anyone at your door directly via the built-in microphone and speaker. The bell can be accessed from anywhere around the globe.

The doorbell has a built-in motion detector that sends an instant notification when motion is detected. 

The Ring Elite Video Doorbell is PoE enabled, which means that you can use a PoE switch and a single Ethernet cable to both power the doorbell and provide an internet connection.

The camera captures footage in 1080p while a wired internet connection allows higher upload speeds. This ensures that you actually get 1080p footage, and the footage does not have to be overcompressed.

The Ring Elite Video Doorbell also has infrared night vision, which allows the camera to capture footage in the dark without having to light up the area.

If you’re privacy conscious and are concerned that your data has to go through Ring’s servers, the Ring Elite Video Doorbell provides you with custom privacy zones. You can black out areas from the footage, and data from such areas will never be recorded or sent to Ring. Of course, you won’t be able to view these areas yourself either. Ring also allows audio privacy and gives you the option not to upload audio.

You may check here the smart locks that work with Ring.

Features:

  • Video: 1080p HD
  • Field of View: 160° horizontal, 90° vertical
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet
  • Item Dimension: 4.80 in x 2.75 in x 2.17 inches

What We Liked:

  • Advanced Motion Detection with Alerts
  • Works with Alexa
  • Two-way Talk
  • Weather resistence

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Needs high speed data connection to load faster

Verdict:

A reliable choice that provides you with custom privacy zones if your concern is your privacy.

Also Good

Ring Video Doorbell Pro – Upgraded, with added security features and a...

Last update on 2022-06-23 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Also by Ring, the Ring Pro Video Doorbell is designed as a sleek DIY product. It has all the features of the Ring Elite Video Doorbell except for a few differences.

Since the Ring Pro Video Doorbell is a DIY product, it can be installed in a matter of minutes without any professional help or doorbell installation experience.

Since the bell uses WiFi to transmit data, you don’t have to worry about running an Ethernet cable to a switch. The bell can be powered via any outlet, and a power wire is the only wire the bell needs.

This means that you can power the doorbell via your existing doorbell wiring, making the installation process even easier.

The Ring Pro Video Doorbell uses a dual-band WiFi connection which provides reliability and ensures that the footage can be easily uploaded without having to go through lossy compression.

The Ring Video Doorbell also has color night vision which combines infrared technology with a wide lens and HDR to give sharp and colorful footage even in the dark. Color night vision video footage is more sense than both purely infrared footage and daytime footage. This may make it difficult for a camera to upload color night vision footage via WiFi to the cloud.

However, Ring Pro uses a superior dual-band WiFi connection which ensures that the bell stays connected to the WiFi reliably. Single-band WiFi connections can get disconnected from time to time. The time wasted while attempting to reconnect may compromise the quality of the camera footage.

The package also includes interchangeable faceplates with different colors so you can easily make your doorbell look new if the faceplate gets aged. Scratches are common on doorbells since they get touched so often.

Features:

  • Video: 1080 HD
  • Field of View: 160° horizontal, 90° vertical
  • Motion Detection: Advanced with Customizable Motion Zones
  • Dimension: 4.50 in. x 1.85 in. x .80 in

What We Liked:

  • Dual-band Wifi
  • Built-in Alexa greetings
  • Two-way talk
  • Real-time notifications

What We Didn’t Like:

  • This really requires high-speed internet

Verdict:

An impressive video doorbell with a wide lens field of view of 160 degrees allows you to view a large portion of the total area in the front.

Value Editorial and Buying Debates 

You have several options that work as alternatives to doorbells without a subscription. Let’s discuss the specifics of what you can do to get all the features of some of the best subscription doorbells (and then some more) without having to pay an extra amount every month.

Local Storage

uncovered hard drive

One of the things doorbells with premium subscriptions offer is extended cloud storage. Without subscribing, you only get a few days of cloud storage, and you can’t pull footage from even a week earlier.

It costs doorbell companies to store data in their servers, and hence, for extended storage, they cost you extra. However, there may be something else at play here. It’s called the razor and blades model.

The razor and blades model

You might have wondered why printer ink cartridges are so expensive; it’s because printer companies sell their printers at a price that is even less than what it costs to produce the printers. This makes printers affordable for most people. However, they make up for the loss by overcharging the printer ink cartridges. It’s almost like you never really buy a printer.

Some doorbell security bell companies have adopted this model. They make their doorbells almost useless without the subscription, or they make the subscription mandatory for all functions. They sell the doorbells at a lower price to outdo their competitors, but they more than makeup for their loss from the monthly subscription charges.

It does not cost nearly as much to store data as doorbell companies charge you. You can instead get a doorbell that has the option to install an SD card where it stores data. Or even better, you can get a wireless doorbell with a central hub that stores data transmitted wirelessly from the doorbell.

This option is actually even better than could storage since you don’t have to rely on your internet connection to store data. Whereas, just like in cloud storage, you can access the hub wirelessly from anywhere via the Internet.

Smart Home Compatibility

a woman holding a tablet accessing her home security system

Video doorbell companies usually charge you for smart services. These doorbells can detect people approaching your door and perform actions such as greeting the guest and even having a short conversation with them. However, this is not something you can’t get without having to pay extra.

If your doorbell is smart home compatible and works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, you can customize the doorbell to unlock these and some other amazing features that no subscription service can provide.

You can set the doorbell up to work with Alexa such that when someone approaches your door, Alexa greets them through the built in-speaker and has conversations with them. Since Alexa is more intelligent than the AI a typical subscription doorbell would have, this option is actually superior to the subscription service option.

Not all doorbells are compatible with smart homes, however.

IFTTT Compatibility

IFTTT

With IFTTT, you can make your doorbell work with other smart devices such as your lock and your smart lights. You can set the smart home up such that when the doorbell camera or motion sensor detects someone approaching, it turns on the light and offers a greeting. With IFTTT, you can make any of your smart devices do anything using if-then IFTTT applets. For example, you can make an applet that says, “If I’m home and someone rings a bell, show me the footage from the camera and make my phone ring,” “If I’m not home and someone rings a bell, and them for their purpose of visit and…” and so on. With IFTTT, the only limit is what you can imagine. (1)

Another feature doorbells offer for subscription is instant notifications when someone approaches your door and rings your bell. But with IFTTT, you can make an applet for that yourself and use this feature for free.

A lot of doorbells are not compatible with IFTTT, and for understandable reasons. It would make their premium services obsolete.

Third-Party Applications

third party app installed on a phone

Some security doorbells, such as the Google Nest offer facial recognition as a premium feature. The camera can analyze faces at your door and send you a notification with information about who is at your door. You can do an action based on this information, like unlock your smart lock remotely from your phone if it’s a friend of yours.

But this feature doesn’t have to be a paid one either. There are some video analytics applications that can do the same thing without costing you extra. These applications analyze the video footage through AI-powered programs and can recognize faces as well as other things such as pets, cars, number plates, parcels, etc.

Using these applications, you can set the doorbell up so that the video footage from the camera gets analyzed by the software, and the output from the software determines what to do next. You can set up your smart devices to perform different actions based on who is at the door. You can also set your smart home up to keep a log of everyone who came in and went out of the door with a picture and the name of the person with the exact time they came and left.

You can, of course, use IFTTT to send you notifications with information about who is at your door. You can also program a conversation for people who have never visited your home before, and their name is not in the database (hence the doorbell can’t send you a notification with their name). This includes delivery people, among others.

You can program a conversation that asks their name and the purpose of their visit and gives an output based on the response. For example, if it’s a delivery person, the doorbell could instruct them where to place the delivery. For some other purpose, the doorbell can notify you of how they responded to the programmed questions. IFTTT and third-party software give you more freedom and options than subscription services while also not requiring you to pay every month. (2)

Another feature you can unlock using video analytics software is object recognition, particularly license plate recognition.

When we look at camera footage, we analyze the footage frame-by-frame. All the data we have available at any given time is that from a single frame. But AI systems can combine data from multiple frames to discern required information from the footage. Multiple camera phones use the same technology to combine pictures from different cameras to form a higher resolution image.

This means that even if the doorbell camera does not have high enough resolution, or if the vehicle of interest is parked too far away from the camera, or if the vehicle is moving too fast, or if the different parts of the number plate are hidden in different plates, a human will likely not be able to correctly determine the number plate looking at the footage frame by frame. But for video analytics software, combining data from multiple frames is no trouble at all. This ability to discern objects, text, and even faces from indecipherable footage is nowhere to be found even in the most high-end smart video doorbells.


Advantages to a Video Doorbell Without Subscription

camera detected objects

Video doorbells without subscriptions give you more customizability and freedom, which can foster a lot of other advantages. If you’re not sure if going through the trouble of setting up all the smart doorbell features yourself is worth it, we’re here to convince you otherwise.

Cost

dollar bills

Subscription doorbells may cost less when you pay upfront, especially those that use the razor and blades model and charge you less for the doorbell, counting on the subscription fees to cover the loss and generate profit. However, in the long run, these doorbells can cost you a lot more than the alternatives of local storage and smart home features.

These doorbells are also built with lower quality materials to minimize the loss in case you don’t buy the subscription service. But if the doorbell lasts more than a few years, it’s still your loss since now you’re paying the mortgage even though you have paid the cost of the bell.

As we mentioned before, the services that paid subscription doorbells offer do not cost nearly as much as they charge; it costs the doorbell companies even less since they offer these services on a large scale.

With subscription-free doorbells, you can get all the subscription features and some additional features that premium subscription doorbells don’t offer without having to pay regularly and with less total cost.

Furthermore, unlike with subscription doorbells, you don’t have to pay for the whole package, including features you never asked for. You can customize your subscription-free video doorbell to add the features that you want.

Reliability

eufy and ring products

The cloud storage offered by subscription services relies on your internet connection. Everything these camera doorbells record gets uploaded to the cloud IF the camera is connected to the Internet and WHEN the Internet provides enough bandwidth. The camera holds on to the data for some time since it’s rarely possible to upload footage in real-time.

But if the internet connection is lost for a long time or if the camera keeps storing footage faster than it’s being uploaded, the camera’s limited internal storage may run out. If this happens, the camera will either stop recording or delete some footage to record new footage. This dependability on the Internet makes cloud-based cameras somewhat unreliable.

If the internet speed isn’t fast enough, all it would take a burglar to avoid being recognized is to destroy the doorbell before it’s able to upload the footage to the cloud.

Another security flaw with doorbells that require a subscription is that they can’t stay off-grid. These bells stay connected to the Internet in order to function, but this also leaves these doorbells vulnerable to being hacked. Nothing is completely hack-proof, but devices being connected to the Internet take much less effort to hack, and they can be hacked from even half a world away.

Video doorbells that don’t require a subscription don’t need to be connected to the Internet. They can transmit video footage wirelessly directly to the hub without using the Internet. Even doorbells that use your WiFi router to transmit data to the hub only use the router as a signal amplifier; they don’t access the Internet and can work just as well, regardless of the status of your internet connection.

Privacy

a man with phone on his hand, table, and laptop on his desk

Almost every tech giant today is trying to get their hands on as much data as possible. This concerns a lot of people since giving away your data means losing your right to privacy. Most cloud-based services, including social media and security camera footage hosting, have convoluted privacy policies, and they almost always use the data they collect for personalized advertising and other methods of revenue generation.

The point is, corporations cannot be trusted with your data. Not only this, but the US government can access any data from any data center in the US in the name of national security, and the tech companies that run these data centers are legally restrained from telling anyone that they gave data to the government. Most countries have such laws, which throws away any trust you might get from the privacy policies. China goes beyond this; all companies based in China are obligated to send data to the Chinese government.

Data from video doorbells and surveillance cameras can reveal a lot of information about you that you might want to keep private. The only real way to protect your data is if you never store it in cloud servers in the first place. When you use a cloud storage subscription service, you’re putting your trust in these corporations not to view your data; but since it’s their servers, there’s no way you can protect your data from governments or even these corporations.

These servers are connected to the internet 24/7, which makes them “cloud” servers. Although cloud servers are well protected from hackers, nothing is truly unhackable. And if your data does get stolen by hackers, these companies have the incentive to bury the news, or it would damage their reputation.

If you store data locally, your data would be much harder to hack since your local drive wouldn’t be connected to the Internet.

Video Compression

video player

Cameras in video doorbells shoot a lot of raw repetitive data. The camera footage has each pixel from each frame stored in a different bit. This means that if a video clip contains 10 seconds of your doorstep with nothing, in particular, going on, each of the 300 frames will be stored as a separate picture despite the fact that all the pictures are exactly the same. Not only this but groups of consecutive pixels that have the same color are stored as separate pixels as if they have no relation with each other.

Hence, every 10-second video shot from a doorbell camera has the same size on disk regardless of whether it’s rich footage of a monkey dancing on your doorstep or dull footage of chewing gum blocking the camera lens. Regardless of the information contained in the footage, it has the same amount of data.

To solve this problem, raw footage from security cameras has to go through a process called video compression. Video compression can reduce the size of raw doorbell footage by a factor of 2000.

Who performs this compression? Your doorbell does. Raw footage from your doorbell would take forever to get uploaded to the cloud if it wasn’t compressed first.

The process of video compression does not necessarily remove any information contained in the footage; that is unless you compress it more than it should be compressed. When raw footage is being compressed, there reaches a point when there is no repetitive data left. (3)

But if you want to compress the footage further, you can do so by removing more data that is not exactly repetitive but quite similar to some other data. This process can compress the footage by a large enough factor, but you lose some information as well.

This often happens with cameras that store footage on the cloud. A typical internet connection doesn’t have enough bandwidth to upload video footage fast enough. And if the video doorbell held on to the data for too long, it might have to delete it altogether before it’s uploaded to make room for new data. Hence, subscription video doorbells often use what’s called “lossy” video compression to ensure the data can be uploaded to the cloud timely.

This is not a problem for video doorbells with local storage, however. If you store data from your video doorbell in a local hub, the camera will have almost the complete bandwidth of your WiFi router, which would be around 100mbps (megabytes per second) to 1gbps (gigabyte per second). This speed is more than enough to upload raw footage in real-time, let alone compressed footage. This means that no lossy compression is needed to store the data, and you get all the information your camera collects.

But does this help you as the user? Lossy compression is, well, lossy. It doesn’t have all the information of the original footage. If you’ve ever seen large square or rectangular boxes on video footage, you already know what we’re talking about.

Such footage may annoy you when you need it. Since lossy compression in subscription video doorbells is more likely to happen when there is a lot of action in the footage, you might end up with footage that doesn’t even show a license plate clearly. If you have a nice high-resolution camera, but it uploads forage to the cloud, it likely uses lossy compression and is no better than a low-resolution camera since the footage eventually gets ruined anyway.

Now, let’s look at some of the best doorbells in the market that don’t require you subscribe to a monthly package.


Wrapping Up

You don’t need a subscription to have the ability to video past footage, nor to need to pay monthly fees to integrate your doorbell into your smart home. There are doorbell brands that even offer cloud storage for free. The doorbells listed here will cost you much less than subscription doorbells in the long run. The fact these doorbells don’t compromise on features despite being subscription-free gives these doorbells a clear edge over doorbells that require a subscription. The doorbells here that don’t directly support local storage can still be made to work with a local hard drive using third-party applications, but these applications are not supported by most brands and might void your warranty, as well as your claim to any customer support or automatic software updates.



References

(1) IFTTT – https://www.computerworld.com/article/3239304/what-is-ifttt-how-to-use-if-this-then-that-services.html
(2) third-party software – https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-third-party-app-4154068
(3) video compression – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/video-compression

Our Recommendation Again

SkyBell SH02300SL HD WiFi Video Doorbell, Silver
  • AWARD WINNING PERFORMANCE – SkyBell HD has won numerous awards and named the Best Video Doorbell by CNET in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  • WORKS WITH ALEXA – use simple voice commands using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot for more convenience.
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John Fox

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Fox and I’ve been working as a security consultant for over 20 years now. During my time in the industry, I’ve learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe. With Safe Now, I’ve tried to take those two decades of experience and share it with others. My goal now is to help others figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families. On my website, you’ll find tips and guides on how to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations. What’s more, my readers can learn more about what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect themselves at all times. So, if you want to know everything there is about security systems and home safety, I invite you to join me and my team and help us build a community together.