Ring’s latest video doorbell attaches to the peephole on a front door, making it suitable for renters or apartment residents who often cannot drill into the wall next to the door. Announced at CES, the Ring Door View Cam delivers live high-definition video with the same features as Ring’s other doorbells.
The battery-operated unit comes in two parts. The outside half is styled along the same lines as Ring’s Video Doorbell Pro, although instead of one lens, there are two: The top one is the conventional peephole door viewer, so the old analog function is retained, and the one beneath it is the video camera. The indoor half has the viewing lens for the conventional peephole and is where the battery is installed.
It works the same way as an existing Ring Doorbell. When someone presses the doorbell button or the camera senses movement, the user will get an alert through the Ring app on their phone. The app brings a live view from the doorbell and allows two-way talk with whomever is at your door—even if you’re not at home.
Ring has added an impact sensor to the Door View Cam so users will also get alerted if someone knocks on the door instead of pressing the bell button.
Ring founder Jamie Siminoff told me the Door View Cam was developed to answer requests from customers who live in places where a conventional Ring doorbell couldn’t be installed.
“There would be people who had one and they moved into an apartment or high-density building and no longer were able to have the peace of mind the Ring doorbell gave them,” he said.
Like Ring’s other doorbells, the Door View Cam includes motion detection and night vision. It will also include privacy zones, which enable users to specify certain areas in the camera’s view, for example a neighbor’s door opposite, that don’t trigger recordings or surveillance. That’s to answer potential privacy regulations that may exist in a building or country.
Ring says installation requires unscrewing an existing peephole and slotting the View Cam in its place—something that will take a few minutes and does no damage to the door. Drilling is not required.
The Door View Cam is compatible with Amazon Alexa, allowing users to say “Alexa, show me my front door” to get a live feed on an Alexa-enabled video device, and users can get real-time movement alerts through Alexa. Users will also be able to speak with people at the door through the Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Alexa-enabled tablets.
The unit isn’t compatible with Google Home or the Google Assistant. That’s thanks to a battle between Google and Amazon, which owns Ring, for smart home dominance.
Ring says it will be available later in 2019 and will cost $199. It will be available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.