Netgear upgrades wireless security cameras

Netgear is rolling out an upgraded version of its wireless security camera system.

The San Jose company on Tuesday is announcing Arlo Pro, a successor to the Arlo system that it debuted last year. Unlike the Arlo cameras, the Arlo Pro cameras will include rechargeable batteries, and speakers and microphones.

The new features will come at a price, though. An Arlo Pro system with one camera and a base station will cost $250, which is $70 more than Netgear charges for a comparable Arlo system.

But the new features should make Netgear’s system more competitive with those of rival companies. Earlier this year, for example, Google’s Nest unit introduced a new outdoor security camera that features a speaker and microphone.

When it was launched, the Arlo system stood out from the mass of security cameras on the market by being fully wireless. Not only did it transmit data wirelessly, but it ran on batteries, so users didn’t need to plug it in. The cameras conserved power by only recording video when they sensed motion and only streaming it when a user sought a live view.

But the Arlo cameras required a special kind of photo battery that needed to be replaced every four to six months. The new Arlo Pro cameras, which Netgear will start selling via its website on Tuesday, use a specially designed lithium ion battery that can simply be recharged either by placing them in an optional recharging station or by plugging the cameras into a wall outlet via an included power cord. That power cord also allows users to run the Arlo Pro cameras purely off a wall outlet, rather than depending on batteries.

The new cameras also include a two-way communications system, allowing users to hear what happening around their homes and to communicate with people nearby — whether to instruct a delivery person to leave a package at the door or to scare away a would-be burglar. Users can also set the new cameras to start recording when they hear a sound, as opposed to only recording when they detect movement.

The Arlo Pro cameras offer a 130-degree field of view. That’s equal to that on the new Nest Cam Outdoor, but about 20 degrees wider than the original Arlo cameras.

Like the original Arlo cameras, the new Arlo Pros connect to the internet via a base station that users plug into their routers. Along with the cameras, Netgear has upgraded its base station also. The new base station includes a 100-decibel siren that can be triggered both manually or automatically as an alarm.

Arlo cameras automatically save their recordings to Netgear’s servers in the cloud, but the new base station will also allow users to save their recordings to an optional drive connected to it. That’s something they couldn’t do with the previous base station.

Netgear is rolling out a new line of accessories to go with the new camera and base station. Users will be able to purchase not only a battery charger, but extra batteries and protective coverings for the cameras. Early next year Netgear will also offer a solar charging station that owners will be able to use to automatically recharge the Arlo Pro’s batteries.

Along with the new cameras, Netgear is rolling out a new app that will allow users to interact with their cameras on Apple TV. Later this year, the company plans to roll out new image-recognition technology that will allow the cameras to identify people, pets, cars and other objects, helping them to better discern when to start recording and send alerts.

The new Arlo devices come as the market for security cameras is increasing. NPD Group estimated that networked security cameras accounted for about 61 percent of all consumer spending on home automation products in the year ended June of this year.

Photo: Netgear’s new Arlo Pro security camera system. (Courtesy of Netgear)


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  • Thelip95032

    How long do the new batteries last ?
    “plug into wall..” lots of cameras do that.
    advantage was you “didn’t need to plug it in the wall”.