Tech sup­port

No longer just for the rich and fa­mous, the smart video door­bell is now a prac­ti­cal – and in­creas­ingly af­ford­able – choice that lets you keep an eye on vis­i­tors from wher­ever you are in the world. Here’s all you need to know to get started…

Ideal Home (UK) - - Contents -

Need a video door­bell?

Q Why should I get one? Sick of ‘Sorry we missed you’ cards, or want to see who’s at the door? When some­one presses a video door­bell, it videos them and con­nects to your smart­phone, so you can see and talk to them, from wher­ever you are. You can also record im­ages/videos of any dodgy char­ac­ters hang­ing about.

Q How do they work? Most smart door­bells con­nect to your wi-fi then com­mu­ni­cate with your smart­phone via an app. Some can also con­nect via eth­er­net ca­ble. You can choose a wired or bat­tery-pow­ered de­sign mounted on the house us­ing plugs and screws for added se­cu­rity.

Q Should I just get CCTV? Few CCTV sys­tems let you in­ter­act like a smart door­bell can. A smart door­bell records faces and alerts you to any­thing sus­pi­cious, like a bur­glar check­ing if any­one’s at home. And you have the op­tion not to open the door if you pre­fer.

Q What’s avail­able and how much will it cost me? Ring, the orig­i­nal smart door­bell firm now owned by Ama­zon, has two bat­tery op­tions: Video Door­bell (£89) and high-def­i­ni­tion Video Door­bell 2 (£179), and ad­vanced wired units, at £229 and £449. Smart home brand Nest has Hello, a wired de­sign (£229). It has face recog­ni­tion, dif­fer­en­ti­ates be­tween the mo­tion of peo­ple and pass­ing cars, records video 24/7, and you can record mes­sages, like ‘Please leave par­cel next door!’ Ama­zon’s op­tions in­clude Konesky’s Wifi (£16.99), and Hom­scam, By­ron and Ac­cfly, among oth­ers. You pay for ad­vanced fea­tures such as 24/7 video record­ing, im­age stor­age in the cloud, and face recog­ni­tion. Nest Aware costs from £4 a month, Ring Pro­tect from £2.29.

Q Can I in­stall it my­self? Bat­tery mod­els are de­signed for DIY. For a wired door­bell, un­less you have one al­ready, you’ll need to chase electrics back to a junc­tion box, drill through door frames and fit a trans­former. Nest of­fers in­stal­la­tion, or call a pro­fes­sional.

Q Will my door­bell work with other smart home gad­gets? Ring works with Ama­zon Alexa and has a part­ner­ship with Kwik­set locks, while Nest has teamed up with Yale, so you can let peo­ple in with­out keys via the app. The Nest app con­trols Hello, so it works with brands like LIFX smart lights, Philips Hue and Google As­sis­tant voice con­trol… and can be set up to recog­nise who comes in and to greet them!


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