Tabs: A Dropcam Hater Reconsiders

Dave Zatz —  May 6, 2014

I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of Dropcam ($149-199), primarily given their recurring fees — an upload-everything model that starts at $99/year for 7 days of cloud DVR capabilities (potentially threatening your broadband cap). However, the introduction of Dropcam Tabs to augment one’s camera with motion detection, via accelerometer, around the house seriously sweetens the deal. For example, afix Tabs to a door to receive alerts when it opens or closes. Further, it looks like there’s some basic geolocation smarts built-in via Bluetooth LE (which is also how it communicates with the Dropcam Pro you’ll need). Like existing Dropcam hardware, the incoming battery-powered Tabs ($29) are more attractive than most of the utilitarian hardware in this space and a prime selling point has been an extremely user friendly interface. Hm!

5 responses to Tabs: A Dropcam Hater Reconsiders

  1. Interesting. I really like everything about dropcam EXCEPT the bandwidth requirments. It seems they have a few things in place to help with that.

    1. Location based “on/off” so it only records when you are not home, for example.
    2. Scheduled on/off options.
    3. HD and SD options

    What I cant tell, is if there is a “only record” motion option. I imagine this would require a small amount of storage on the camera itself (to constantly be recording a 5 min buffer) but then only upload the “buffer” and the live stream once motion is detected.

    Anyone know if that’s possible or in the works? I really don’t want to use 60 gig of upload per camera “just in case.”

  2. Dave, have you considered creating a Roku channel for the ZatzHome Dropcam feed? I’d expect you could somehow slip in Scientology ads to help monetize the thing…

  3. I know some of teh IP cameras I had years ago would record the video when there was motion and then email the clip to me. The camer should have some storage on board but whether it’s designed to work that way is another story.

    I use Blue Iris software since I have a dedicated PC for it(which is also used for TiVo Desktop/KMTTG). So my twelve IP cameras are constantly streaming to it and anytime it detects motion it records a clip which is sotred on the PC. Which can then be viewed locally on the PC or remotely/locally by tablet or cell phone.

  4. In response to this post Dan Rayburn, of Streaming Media, suggested I check out these Wireless Tags: http://wirelesstags.net/

  5. I don’t like the dropcam either. Mainly because of the monthly fees. They are more expensive then other Ip cameras plus the monthly fees. The tabs are a pretty cool add on though.