Dropcam HD VSaaS Examined

By 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...
Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Recent Reports

Bedside Cough and Sneeze Detector (Sound Intelligence and CLB) on Oct 28, 2020
Coronavirus has increased interest in detecting symptoms such as fever and...
Fever Tablet Thermal Sensors Examined (Melexis) on Oct 28, 2020
Fever tablet suppliers heavily rely on the accuracy and specs of...
Verkada Fires 3 on Oct 28, 2020
Verkada has fired three employees over an incident where female colleagues...
Recruiters Online Show LIVE Thursday! on Oct 27, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show resumes Thursday with 12 recruiters presenting...
Eagle Eye Networks Raises $40 Million on Oct 27, 2020
Eagle Eye has raised $40 million aiming to "reinvent video...
Hikvision Q3 2020 Global Revenue Rises, US Revenue Falls on Oct 27, 2020
While Hikvision's global revenue rises driven by domestic recovery, its US...
VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz" on Oct 26, 2020
This month, IPVM investigated Verkada's sexism, discrimination, and cultural...
Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras on Oct 26, 2020
As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the...
ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...