Should I Subscribe to Samsung SmartCloud?

Should I Subscribe to Samsung SmartCloud?The newly announced Samsung SmartCloud service is going to take the Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus and coming generations to another level.  A significant gap to some home security camera customers was the ability to record video to the cloud.  Samsung could never do it.  Nest (and several other cameras) could do it.  Effective May of 2016, things changed.

When I compared the Nest Cam to the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus, a glaring absence was the availability of a cloud service.  Sure, you could record video to the included SD card, but what good is that if your camera is stolen along with everything else?  To me, it wasn’t a deal breaker.  I was using the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus to monitor my pool and the camera was located indoors.  But to some, this is an absolute necessity to truly make this a home security device.

Cost of Samsung SmartCloud Subscription

The cost of Samsung SmartCloud isn’t the cheapest, it’s on par with others, although a bit lower than Nest which I think is overpriced.  There are three levels.  Starter provides 5 days of event storage for $49.99 per year.  An event is when an alarm such as motion is detected.  These are stored for 5 days then deleted from the cloud.

The next level is called Essential and this retains 7 days of events plus what they call DVR storage.  The cost is $99 per year.  DVR storage is continuous recording allowing you to go back to any time over the past 7 days.  The highest level is called Elite and that’s 21 days of DVR and event for $199 annually.

Features of Samsung SmartCloud

Samsung SmartCloud allows you to record events and (optionally) an extended amount of video to the cloud.  Using an unlimited number of Motion Zones, you trigger a motion event which is recorded to the cloud for later review.  You also can send email alerts when the event occurs.

Keep bandwidth in mind when activating any cloud service.  Samsung recommends 800 kbps upload speed per camera.  To minimize bandwidth consumption, turn the Cloud DVR off and setup activity zones to only record movements in recorded areas.  This suggestion is especially important for ISPs that limit your monthly bandwidth consumption.

How to Activate Samsung SmartCloud

Currently, this new feature only works on the Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus but will likely be supported in future generations of Samsung SmartCam.  You will need to upgrade your firmware to 1.11 and this is easy to do.  The app will prompt you that there’s a new firmware release available and you just confirm you want to do it.  I did it.  No problems.

After that, you will get into the SmartCloud site to set it up.  You will create a new account using your current Samsung SmartCam credentials.  You will then reach the setup phase which starts out with a confirmation screen like what you see in the photo that accompanies this article.  I’m not a fan of how Samsung did this.  You need to physically be where the camera is because they create a scan code that you need to place in front of the camera. I consider this to be unnecessary since my camera is already defined but I digress.  Aftetr you get through all of this, pick your plan and off you go.  Initially, Samsung provides a 15 day Starter trial.

Should I Subscribe to the Samsung SmartCam Service?

So the marketing of Samsung SmartCloud makes it sound like you are getting a lot of additional features in addition to the cloud.  In reality, you aren’t.

Motion Zones are at the core of how to reduce false motion alerts both with and without a Samsung SmartCloud subscription.  I have used Motion Zones since I first installed my Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus several months before the release of this new service.  They are extremely effective in eliminating false alerts and it’s documented in our article on this topic.

Email alerts are marketed as an advantage to this new service however alerts to a gmail account have existed since the camera was first announced.  The limitation was it had to be gmail and no other email host was supported.  With Samsung SmartCloud, the email host doesn’t matter.

Samsung SmartCloud uses an unlimited number of these Motion Zones to trigger an event and start recording that motion to the cloud.  Without the cloud subscription, this is recorded to an SD card within the camera.

I’m suggesting that you not subscribe to this service.  I think the SD Card is sufficient and have a problem with charging for this cloud service.  If you have not purchased your camera yet, and need cloud service, go with the highly rated Nest Cam or Canary All-in-One Home Security System instead.  The Nest Cam and Canary have a better app and slightly better hardware.  While Nest does charge for this service, Canary does not.

All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way.  I have owned and tested dozens of cameras.  Manufacturer support varies.  There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions.  There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).