Introducing Philips Hue's latest addition: three brand new smart security cameras

Cupertino, August 31, 2023

Philips Hue is venturing into the smart home security market with the introduction of Philips Hue Secure. This do-it-yourself security system utilizes new cameras and sensors that work in conjunction with Philips Hue's smart lighting system to discourage potential burglars. Once activated by a sensor, compatible Hue bulbs can be triggered to flash red or white and/or sound an alarm through the camera.

Philips Hue Secure will be launched this fall and will feature a wired indoor/outdoor camera ($199.99), a battery-powered indoor/outdoor camera ($249.99), a full-color floodlight camera ($349.99), and new contact sensors ($39.99) for securing windows and doors. The Verge had the opportunity to preview these new devices at IFA 2023 in Berlin and found them to have a modern appearance and a user-friendly magnetic mounting system. However, the standout features are the end-to-end coding and the seamless integration with Hue's lighting system. It's important to note that these devices come with a high price tag and are among the most expensive smart security cameras available.

The battery-powered Philips Hue Secure camera can be used both indoors and outdoors and offers the option of a magnetic mount for easy installation. These cameras operate over Wi-Fi and boast features such as 1080p video, two-way talk, end-to-end encryption, and smart alerts for people, pets, and vehicles. They also serve as motion sensors for the security system and can be utilized as motion sensors for Hue lights when not actively monitoring. However, it's worth mentioning that at launch, there is no compatibility with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The company is working on integration for live footage viewing on these platforms' smart displays. The cameras also do not currently work with Apple HomeKit, but support will be added once cameras are supported in Matter.

To view recorded footage, users will need to pay a subscription fee starting at $3.99 per month/$39.99 per year, per camera. Philips Hue has also announced that Matter support will be coming to its bridge next month, enabling the new contact sensors to work with Matter. It's possible that the motion sensors in the cameras will also be compatible with any Matter-compatible platform.

In terms of the new products launching this fall, there are wired cameras and battery-powered cameras available. The wired cameras are priced at $199.99 and include a magnetic wall mount. For $229.99, a desk stand can also be added. The battery-powered cameras cost $249.99 and feature an extended design compared to the wired cameras. The battery is estimated to last four months with five activations per day. Charging requires removing the battery, although it can also be powered using Philips Hue's low-voltage outdoor cables. Additionally, a magnetic mount and a ground camera mount option are available for the battery camera.

The Hue Secure flood camera, launching in early 2024, combines a Hue outdoor floodlight with a wired Hue Secure camera. Priced at $349.99, this camera is only available in black and requires wiring into the home's electrical system.

The new Philips Hue Secure Contact Sensor, available in black or white, can be purchased for $39.99 for one or $69.99 for two. These sensors work over Hue's Zigbee network and send alerts when the security system is active, or trigger lighting automations when it's not. They function as basic contact sensors and do not include motion detection capabilities.

While the cameras can operate as standalone devices, the bridge is necessary for most of the security features, including the contact sensor, flood camera, light and sound alarms, and automations. The Hue app's Security Center allows users to manage the security system and set different responses for when they are home or away. When a sensor is triggered while the camera is active, the app sends an alert and users can take action, such as flashing lights, sounding an alarm, or contacting emergency services. Turning the system on or off also controls the camera's recording status. When turned off, the Wi-Fi connection is disabled, preventing the cameras from recording. However, they can still function as motion sensors using their respective optical or PIR sensors, sending signals to the bridge via Zigbee.

As for footage storage, there is no local storage available. Instead, users can opt for a cloud subscription, starting at $3.99 per camera per month or $39.99 per year. Motion-triggered recorded events are stored in the cloud for 30 to 60 days. Activity zones and smart notifications are also supported but require a paid subscription.

While the new Hue Secure cameras resemble Google Nest cameras in design and capabilities, they come at a higher price point. However, they offer the added benefit of end-to-end encryption, which is rare in security cameras and highly valued for privacy protection. It's important to note that at launch, the security system may feel somewhat underpowered, as alerts must be manually responded to without a professional monitoring option. Additionally, the effectiveness of flashing lights as a deterrent may depend on the number of Hue bulbs or expensive outdoor lighting fixtures available.

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