Do I need a subscription for a Netgear Arlo security camera?

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Best answer: Arlo cameras can do more for free than most connected cameras, but if you want your cameras to take advantage of any smart detection, that requires the Arlo Smart add-on.

Amazon: Arlo Pro 2 (2 Camera System) ($400)

What Arlo cameras can do without a subscription

Arlo’s cameras are actually some of the more capable connected cameras to use if you’re looking to go without a subscription. With no subscription and no Arlo Smart add-on — we’ll get to that in a minute — here’s what you get with “Arlo Basic”:

  • 7 days of cloud recordings storage
  • 3 months limited support
  • 5-camera limit
  • Motion alerts

If you’re using a system with an Arlo Base Station — such as the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 systems — you can expand your recording storage through local backups, which is quite useful for those looking to skip the subscription.

Arlo Smart all the way

Arlo’s subscription system can look a little odd since it’s listed it in multiple places and with multiple name/feature configurations, but the only Arlo subscriptions you should even both looking at are the Arlo Smart plans.

Arlo Smart Add-on Arlo Smart Premier Arlo Smart Elite
Price $3.50/month $13/month $19/month
Camera limit $3.50/camera 10 cameras 20 cameras
Days of cloud recordings 7 days (Basic) 30 days 60 days

Beyond the price, camera limit, and recording storage window, the features for all Arlo Smart plans are the same:

  • Custom motion zones
  • Person/package/vehicle/animal detection
  • Enriched notifications that say what Arlo sees from your notification shade or lock screen and offer quick options like calling an emergency contact or activating your system’s siren

What about 24/7 video recording?

That 24/7 recording can only be used with certain Arlo cameras — the Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, Arlo Baby, and a plugged-in Arlo Pro 2 — and if you want to record 24/7 video, you will need to add a CVR (Continuous Video Recording) plan to your camera.

  • $12/month/camera — 14 days 24/7 cloud recording
  • $24/month/camera — 30 days 24/7 cloud recording

The recordings are not available for download or local backup; you have to have a CVR subscription and watch the video through the Arlo app or website. CVR is a separate subscription from the regular Arlo subscriptions or Arlo Smart subscriptions.

Our pick


Skip the subscription and the stress of running wires.

The Arlo Pro 2 base station allows you to supplant your basic 7-day cloud recordings for free thanks to the local USB backup option. These wire-free cameras can work indoors or out, and if you use one plugged in indoors, it can even do 24/7 recording.

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December 26, 2018 at 04:06AM