Unfortunately, the charge in place overnight thing is likely a deal breaker for me.
No audio on Blink, I think...
Actually, the soon to be released (5/22/19) XT2 has 2-way audio.
Buy additional batteries you can charge in parallel, fit the solar charger, or wire to the mains. Those are your options for Arlo. Or get a different camera. But you will find other compromises with them of course. It's always a trade off.
Ah, I didn't realize that the batteries could be charged externally. I agree that each one of these systems is just a series of compromises and trade-offs. They may be significant enough that I'll bite the bullet and go with a PoE IP camera and NVR--still trying to weigh all of the options.
In the long run (especially since its not a full time residence) you will be much happier.
2nd vote for POE systems. While running the wire is a pain, the benefits of a 24x7 local recording system that can be accessed remotely won it for me. This was after spending hundreds on Arlo and Wyze cameras.
I still love my Arlo Q cameras (granted, they aren't battery), but the subscription fees for continuous recording put me off. Plus, I hate my video going anywhere near the cloud. Wyze, while I love the cost and quality of them, aren't easy to hide and for outdoor applications, you either need to place them in an enclosure of some sort or place them where they won't be exposed to the elements.
In the end, I ended up going with an Amcrest 16 channel POE system with IP-67 cameras inside and out. It took me about 2 days to run all the wires, but in my mind, it was worth it. My recordings all stay local and I can (but don't) use the Amcrest app to view them remotely. Instead, I use BlueIris for remote viewing.
I have the EZVIZ 8 channel 4k set myself, I love it quality wise, except for how they lock down their api and cameras, so this fall I maybe looking at a different set (if available) to add to my current set. My current set isn't compatible with ONVIF or Blue Iris but it does work with IFTTT, although ridiculous 2 minute cloud delay using it.
Blink is probably the way to go if maximal battery life is a priority. They explain how they made that two-year claim on their website, I can’t recall exactly how much recording time that’s supposedly based on. Unfortunately there’s no way to get an accurate battery percentage though, because they use lithium metal AA batteries.
The XT2 camera that will be released soon solves some of the issues that the prior generation had. As already noted, it’ll have two-way audio, and it can also start a recording while you are streaming a live-view.
Keep in mind you will need strong WiFi outdoors everywhere you want a camera.
The Blink app does not show battery percentage, it only shows "OK" for the battery indicator. This kind of sucks but it's still fine for my use case. I'll replace the battery occasionally.
I thought this article might be of interest. It is not ready for prime time yet, but I can imagine it will be soon.
TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED 5 Reasons Why You’ll Love “Power Over Wi-Fi” Technology
I have Orbi from Netgear for my mesh WiFi solution. They have an outdoor satellite that works well. You can add as many as you need to extend the mesh to the wireless cameras if you go that path.
And the price will go up
So I started looking at PoE systems and have a couple of questions.
I'd like to run Blue Iris so I'm assuming I need a system that is ONVIF compatible. But it's unclear to me how Blue Iris fits in and the Blue Iris site has little info in terms of system requirements, configuration examples, etc.
Assuming I bought an Amcrest system similar to this one:
Amcrest 3-Megapixel 16CH Security Camera System with 4K NVR, (4) x 3-Megapixel Metal Dome PoE IP Cameras, & (4) x 3-Megapixel Metal Bullet PoE IP Cameras, 2.8mm Wide Angle, IP67 Weatherproof, 98 Feet Night Vision (White)
I assume Blue Iris needs to me installed on an always on PC but how does it interface with the Amcrest NVR?
Also, we have a couple of Amcrest systems at multiple work locations and they've been pretty solid which is the reason they're on my short list. Does anyone have any other recommendations?
I have an Amcrest PoE NVR NV4116E-HS with an additional 8 ch POE switch. I wouldn't recommend any other system, to be honest (and I've gone through a few of them). My Amcrest system, which has been running for about a year now(?), has 14 cameras hosted and has never, not once, gone down on me. I have my camera system running off 3 UPS units so that even if the power goes out, I can continue to record for at least a few hours.
There's also Tiger Security, which I've run in the past. But, I've never liked their NVR software and the RTSP support is weird (resolutions, pan/tilt controls, etc). Further, I don't think they have a PoE offering (as of last year at least).
For BI, yes, you need to run it on an always on PC (Windows only though). What you do is configure each camera in BI using RTSP or ONVIF. Once you do that, you open up a world of possibilities in terms of motion detection, recording, triggers, etc. While the NVR software on the Amcrest is decent, it pales when compared to the features that BI offers. Plus, @bptworld has written an excellent BI integration for HE, which ties everything together nicely and allows you to mirror the modes in HE to BI. So, if you only want to record while you're in Away mode, that's possible.
With all that said, you also have the choice of going with Shinobi (https://shinobi.video). While not nearly as full featured (or complex) as BI is, it's free (open-source) and runs on more platforms. So, if you're like a lot of us and only run Linux systems (including Raspberry Pis), Shinobi would be my first choice to go with. There's also ZoneMinder and a few others I'm forgetting off the top of my head.
When people ask me about extending their WiFi networks outside of their physical walls, I almost always recommend Orbi as my first consumer choice. UniFi is always my first choice, but I work in IT, and UniFi can get complicated for those that don't understand enterprise networking.
Thanks for the info. One more question regarding BI; For the live camera feeds I assume BI accesses the camera directly. But how does it access the recorded streams--does it retrieve them from the from the NVR?
Nope. BI keeps it's own recordings outside of the NVR system. Personally, I only use BI to record on motion or trigger events and my Amcrest system records 24x7. That way, I have alerts setup from BI should motion or something else trigger and the Amcrest as a master record and gap filler between events.