Ecobee’s SmartCamera has received a firmware update that may be of interest to Apple users who feel a little burned out by subscriptions. The camera, which has doubled as a Alexa speaker when it launches this April, usually has the standard features of a smart camera: you can stream videos from it for free to your phone, and with a $ 5-a-month subscription, you can record it and notify you of any movement (or only for human movement if you prefer). But today’s update adds support for Apple HomeKit Secure Video and can give you another, cheaper way to record and store these footage.
If you are unfamiliar with the service, you are probably not alone. HomeKit Secure Video launched at WWDC in June 201
If you want to record a video, you’ll have to pay for a $ 200 subscription to the Apple iCloud, which costs $ 2.99 a month. But it’s cheaper than Ecobee’s service, and also includes extra space for your iCloud archives, Apple Photo Library and more. You won’t have to worry about all these recorded shots eating up your iCloud storage. As a HomeKit Secure Video user myself, I can tell you that Apple does not count the video as your storage limit (although the service only stores recorded videos for 10 days, as opposed to Ecobee’s 14 days).
If you already have a device that can act as a hub, $ 2.99 per month versus $ 5 per month may seem like a good deal, and if you’re already paying for additional iCloud storage, the service is included in your account. It’s a little harder to sell if you also need to buy an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad. If you want to record more than one camera, you’ll also see less savings: Apple requires an iCloud storage plan of 2.9 TB per month for $ 9.99 to record up to 5 cameras (Ecobee or otherwise). which is the same price you will get paid for unlimited recording on multiple Ecobee cameras.
Before you decide to switch to HomeKit and drop the Ecobee app, you should know that Ecobee tells On the edge that the Apple Home app does not support the camera’s ability to pan and tilt (other HomeKit cameras also have the same limitation). You may want to save the Ecobee app for this or buy a cheaper HomeKit camera to get started. I personally use Homekit Secure Video to manage my Logitech Circle 2 and it works well for its main purpose: not having to pay an extra monthly fee to see what a terrible disaster my cat caused at night.