The short answer is you don't, you'll just be missing out on some of the overall functionality and storage that a subscription would get you. So if you're okay with the basic functionality you can get out of a video doorbell, without any stored data, you are more than able to use your doorbell without one. That being said, most people install these to have a record of what is happening at their front doors. From stolen Amazon packages to potential perpetrators scouting out your home, most people who install video doorbells do so because they want a record of what is happening outside their front door, keeping themselves and their families safe. If you're wondering whether or not the additional cost is worth the splurge, then check out the rest of this article and let us know your thoughts at the end!
More often than not, what is included in your subscription is the ability to store past data. Some of the basic features you can expect to still be available include, a real-time view of your doorstep, motion detection alerts, and integration with home automation systems like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. The down side? The cost is the main one that deters people from choosing to use a subscription or protection plan, however with some plans starting as low as $3/month, we think the cost for the added features is worth it. You'll also be missing out on footage history, custom alerts, and depending on which brand you go with, some additional cool elements. For example, the Nest video doorbell can alert you to motion in specific activity zones, notify you of strangers vs familiar faces at your door and allow you access to 24/7 continuous footage for up to 10 days.
Because of the low monthly cost and the added bonus of accessing ongoing footage from your cameras, we do recommend people add the cost of the subscription to their overall budgeting for this smart device. So what should you do? We recommend researching the different video doorbell options out there to see which ones suite your needs as well as your preferences and your space. For example, do you need something that is wired or wireless? Do you prefer Nest, Ring, or Arlo products and which ones would sync best with the other smart home devices set up in your home. Once you have decided on your two top choices, look into the subscription plan offered for each one. Most subscriptions offer a basic and premium plan, so you can choose which one you would like based on the features included. From there, calculate how much the subscription will cost you in a year and add that to that cost of your video doorbell to see if you still think the value is there.
Video doorbells are one of the most common and useful things you can add to your smart home, especially if you are worried about the safety and security of the neighbourhood you live in. Maybe you've had things stolen in the past, or maybe you are noticing crime rates go up in your area. Whatever the reason, the peace of mind a video doorbell can offer you and your household is substantial and having the ability to review the footage and ensure all is well at home, no matter where you are is a feature many people appreciate. A subscription will also help your video doorbell learn what kind of motion is standard in your area, leveraging algorithms to help it develop 'intelligent' alerts, so that rather than alerting you every time the wind blows, it will only notify you when there is actual activity and motion at your door, or in your activity zones.
So what do you think? Is the subscription worth the splurge, or are you comfortable with the basic functionality your video doorbell offers? We'd love to hear about your video doorbell experience! What product are you using, is it wired or wireless and did you opt for the subscription and added features, or decide to go it alone? Let us know in the comments below!