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Today’s Show:

Skybell Doorbell

Last August a listener alerted us to an Indiegogo campaign for a Wifi doorbell that would allow you to answer the door from anywhere in the world provided you had an Internet connection. At that time to contribution was $125 and for that you would helping a startup company bring their product to the market. A product that was supposed to be available around Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then in time for the Holidays. We ended up getting our Skybell in late January but these are the problems of being an earlier adopter. Today, Skybell is available atSkybell.com and Amazon for $200.

Features

  • Answer your door from select Android and iOS devices – Anytime, Anywhere.
  • Exclusive Motion Sensor starts a call even when the person at your door doesn’t press the button (Coming Soon)
  • Quick and easy installation. Requires direct power and analog doorbell chime.
  • Manage multiple cameras in the same account

 

Setup

Please read the manual! Ara decided how hard is it to connect two wires and mount the doorbell so he did just that. Then he tried to sync the doorbell. Nothing! Total frustration. Then he finally decided to read the manual and that’s where he learned that the doorbell needs to charge a battery before syncing. That process takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the battery charged the doorbell synced with no issues.

Ara’s install did have another issue, the Skybell draws a small amount of current to power the unit. This caused a humming noise to come from the doorbell transformer. For the short term the doorbell was disconnected which has not gone over well with the family. Ara is still looking for a solution. The phone app does make a doorbell chime when the front doorbell is pressed but you only hear that if the sound is on. On the tablet, the sound is a generic notification so if you have some of those laying around with the sound on you won’t know if the notification is a doorbell or you just got a sports score update. By the way, there is no native tablet app.

The last setup nit pick. The camera is moveable so you can try to get an optimal viewing angle. It is very hard to move it so it requires the use of a screwdriver. There is a video at Skybell.com that shows how to adjust the camera angle.

Use

Once installed the doorbell works as advertised. Within a second or two of the doorbell being pressed you get a notification on all the phones and tablets connected to the doorbell. At that point you can see who’s at the door and even speak to them. If someone else answers the door you won’t be able answer. Skybell will be adding a notification to let you know someone else answered the door.

Picture and audio quality are adequate. There is a lot of background noise coming from the doorway. The picture quality allows you to see who’s there and you can take a snapshot if you choose. Night quality is terrible.

Skybell is promising improvements including:

  • Motion Sensor Activation
  • Motion Sensor – On/Off Toggle
  • Doorbell Sound for Push Notification Alert
  • Alert that another user answered the call
  • On-Demand Camera Access
  • Special SkyBell Alert Tone
  • Image Balance for backlighting

 

Bottom Line

Being able to see who is at the door and speak with them while you are away from home is quite powerful and Skybell lets you do just that. The product as it stands seems a bit rushed to market and is missing a few features. The good news if you have already bought one is that your Skybell will be updated automatically. Our recommendation is that if you are an early adopter type go ahead and jump in. Skybell works, albeit with a few incomplete features. If you want something that’s been fully buzzed out. Wait a few months and then jump in.

Download Episode #622


Posted by The HT Guys, February 13, 2014 11:17 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.