Modern technology gives us lots of ways to keep tabs on the people we care about. From daily calls and emails to video chat, personal emergency call buttons, and streaming surveillance video and audio, there’s a range of options that vary widely in terms of coverage, cost, and difficulty of installation.
For users who want visual reassurance that a loved one is alright, don’t want to pay monthly fees, and prefer not to mess with wires and cables, on-demand video systems can be a viable option.
VueZone is Netgear’s previous-generation wireless camera technology, the predecessor to the new Arlo system. Unlike more complex and costly home surveillance systems, VueZone does not continuously record video or stream it online. Streaming and recording are activated only when users check in remotely, which allows the cameras to run for several months on each set of batteries.
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Each VueZone system includes a base station, wireless camera or cameras, and a free or paid service plan to let users see their property, loved ones, and pets while away from home. The base station plugs into users’ router or modem, and the cameras can be placed on shelves or wall-mounted using the included mounting equipment.
All cameras included with VueZone packages have motion detection capability. Optional weatherproof covers, night-vision equipment, and simple cameras without motion detection are also available. All users have free access to camera feeds via smartphone and PC. Upgraded service plan subscribers can add cameras, store images and video clips, and receive motion-detection email alerts.
The cameras are battery-powered and don’t require power cords or video cables. That means they can be mounted on walls, placed on shelves, and moved from location to location as needed. The weatherproof shell turns indoor cameras into outdoor units, and the inexpensive service plans allow for DIY monitoring and check-ins by users and family members. The basic plan can accommodate 2 cameras, while subscribers to VueZone’s paid plans can link as many as 15 cameras to their system. Netgear has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau as of July 2015.
Netgear told The Verge in late 2014 that it is no longer producing VueZone equipment but will still offer support. (The company is replacing VueZone with its new Arlo line of indoor/outdoor cameras.)
VueZone cameras do not have audio, so users cannot hear what’s happening on-site or communicate with the people they’re checking on. The infrared lamp that comes with the night vision package requires a wall outlet in order to work. Shoppers cannot purchase equipment directly from the VueZone website. At this writing, Amazon, eBay, and a few other merchants still had VueZone equipment for sale.
Returns and refunds for VueZone equipment depend upon the retailer from which shoppers make their purchase. Netgear says monthly service plans are not refundable but can be cancelled at the end of the term upon request. Customers have 30 days to request a refund on annual service plans purchased directly from Netgear.
Equipment packages: VueZone offers 4 base packages, all with motion-detection cameras:
- The VZSM2200 package has a list price of $130 and includes a base station and 1 indoor camera.
- The VZSM2700 includes 2 indoors cameras and the base station for $200.
- For users who want outdoor coverage, the VZSM2720 includes 2 cameras, an outdoor camera shell, and a base station for $230.
- The VZSX2800, also $230, includes 1 regular camera, 1 night-vision camera, an infrared lamp, and base station.
Accessories: Users can buy additional cameras a la carte to expand their system coverage. Basic cameras without motion detection or night vision carry a list price $80. Add-on motion detection cameras cost $100. Extra night vision cameras cost $130 each. Prices for equipment and accessories may vary depending on the retailer.
Service plans: The basic service plan is free with VueZone system purchase. Premier service costs $5 per month or $50 per year if paid annually. Elite service costs $10 per month of $100 per year if paid annually.
Seniors whose family members want to check in a few times each day to see how they’re faring as well as cost-conscious shoppers who are able to find a good deal on the discontinued equipment.