Dropcam HD VSaaS Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 22, 2012

Last October, Dropcam received an investment of nearly $6 Million, the largest funding any VSaaS provider has yet received. Now, Dropcam has announced its first major new product in nearly 2 years. The new HDcamera is a significant step forward in functionality and cost competitiveness. In this update, we examine the new offering and its competitive positioning.

To get a sense of the improvements, it is important to contrast to the previous / original series:

  • Original series - a straight Axis OEM (M11 series); New series is their own design
  • Original series - SD only; new series is HD 720p
  • Original series - color only; new series - integrated IR LEDs
  • Original series - minimum price - $199; new series price - $149
  • Original series - recording at CIF; new series up to 720p

The subscription plans remain fundamentally the same (e.g., free for live viewing, $9.95 per month for a single camera, 7 days recording, etc.).

Notable concerns include:

  • The camera has a very wide angle lens (~110 degrees) creating a warped effect for objects on the side and delivering very low pixel density (e.g., see their demo cams). As such, it is unlikely to deliver the same image quality as a more traditional HD camera.
  • The camera does not have a mechanical cut filter yet allows IR light to pass for their LEDs. While this will clearly improve night time performance, it is likely to create some imaging artifacts during the day.
  • Dropcam says the HD camera will stream at bandwidth levels of 200Kb/s to 500Kb/s. This is extremely low for 720p/30fps video. We assume that they will be dropping frames and/or inreasing compression in more complex scenes. Dropcam confirms that 'adaptive bandwidth shaping will be used'. This may reduce quality compared to traditional HD cameras.

Those noted, the company is clearly positioning this for home / residential users which clearly has a much lower threshold of features/performance than business users. At its new low price point, with built in IR, and the same easy setup capabilities of the original Axis/AVHS offering, we think it is going to be quite attractice to home users, far far more than their original offering.

For home users, a couple of common alternatives exist that Dropcam matches up well against:

  • Avaak Vue: Vue's main advantage is that it is completely wireless and battery powered at a similar price point to Dropcam HD. However, the image quality of Avaak is much worse, especially in low light, plus Avaak cannot record continuously.
  • DIY: A number of IP cameras such as Lorex offer simple setup remote viewing. Typically, though, these are SD cameras and do not offer any off-site recording (just live view).
  • Viaas: Probably the most sophisticated VSaaS offering and closest rival to Dropcam HD, Viaas has not matched the progress recently as Dropcam. However, Viaas has an impressive SD VSaaS offering.

The embedded video below, from Slashgear, provides a short physical review of the Dropcam HD camera:

1 report cite this report:

Google / Nest is Destroying Dropcam on Aug 10, 2015
Wow. The most popular consumer camera has suddenly become one of the most hated. Just add Google. In this note, we examine the four main...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Axis 12MP Stereographic Camera Tested (M3058-LVE) on May 10, 2018
Axis has released the M3058-PLVE, a 12MP sensor, stereographic panoramic camera and Axis' first with integrated IR claiming images "sharp to the...
Vivotek 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (FE9391-EV) on May 08, 2018
Next in our 12MP fisheye camera evaluation, we bought and tested Vivotek's latest generation FE9391-EV, a new model claiming improved smart IR...
Last Chance - May 2018 Camera Course on May 03, 2018
This is the last chance to register as the course starts next week. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Avigilon 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested on May 03, 2018
12MP fisheye cameras have become mainstream, with nearly every major manufacturer offering their take on this segment. To see how these new higher...
FLIR Launches Saros on May 01, 2018
Has FLIR solved the video intrusion / remote monitoring problem or have they created an overkill, overly expensive device? FLIR has launched...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...
Axis Launches Mini Concealed IR PTZ on Apr 11, 2018
Axis has been a laggard in releasing IR PTZs. While the company released a laser focus PTZ (the Q6155-E tested) until now Axis has had no PTZs with...
Axis Launches ~$100 HD Camera on Apr 11, 2018
Chinese manufacturers, led by Hikvision, have come to dominate the low end of the Western market, driven by ~$100 cameras. While Axis has...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Stealth / UCIT - Remote Video Monitoring Provider Profile on May 18, 2018
Can 2 remote video monitoring companies, Stealth Monitoring from the US and UCIT from Canada combine to impact the market and compete in a changing...
Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance Guide on May 18, 2018
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Forced Entry / Duress Access Tutorial on May 17, 2018
Even though access control normally keeps people safe, tragedies have revealed a significant issue. If users are forced to unlock doors for...
ADT Stock Drops 50% Since IPO on May 17, 2018
It has been a brutal 4 months for ADT. They first expected to IPO at ~$18. They IPOed at $14, dropping immediately to $12.39 And now, not even...
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 16, 2018
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to 190+ integrators in new IPVM results. These integrators answered: In the...
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Top Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows (Statistics) on May 15, 2018
150 integrators told IPVM: What are the top benefits of going to trade shows? The clear top 2 responses in order: (1) Networking (2) New...
Measuring For Security Installation Guide on May 15, 2018
Accurate measurement is a fundamental skill, yet many installers do not know how to do it. Using these tools are a key skill needed for security...
Arecont Files Ch.11, Agrees To Sell To Turnaround Specialist on May 14, 2018
The long-anticipated sale of Arecont Vision is finally happening. After raising $80 million in debt in 2014, a failed sale in 2017 and the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact