Professional grade security systems will allow you to watch all real-time (live) views of the camera feeds on a single PC/TV monitor.
This got me wondering whether it’s possible to do this with Ring’s cameras (and doorbells) too?
This video explains if it’s possible, and how to do it if so:
Hey YouTube, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. You know in the movies where you’ve got security guards sitting in a security box somewhere, and they’re looking at a screen full of CCTV images – live feeds – of their CCTV cameras? And then Ethan Hunt or James Bond comes in and knocks them out, and disables the CCTV cameras? well I’m not going to show you how to knock people out, but I wanted to do this video and show you whether or not with your Ring cameras you’re able to actually get a TV screen or PC monitor and look at the actual individual camera feeds that are available?
Interesting question… no, no you can’t, no, not possible. Wait you… you can’t?! What do you mean?! Well I gotta film a YouTube video, I gotta give them something! Okay well as it turns out from my much more intelligent assistant over there, it’s not actually possible to – on a particular monitor – look at all the live feeds of all your different Ring devices, but worry not. What you can actually do is use the snapshot capture feature and then you can log into your Ring dashboard and you can actually view all the feeds there on a single place, and I wanted to film this video and talk through how you can do this. Whilst it’s not quite as good obviously as viewing all the live feeds, snapshot capture images get refreshed every 30 seconds, so at least you can get a decent enough snapshot of what’s happening in all parts of your property without having to go out and spend a small fortune on professional quality security cameras.
Okay so for snapshot capture, um it’s not activated by default, um at least it wasn’t to my Ring Doorbell Pro or my Ring Indoor Cam, so what you need to do is go into each device, go to the settings up there, just go down to device settings, and then you’ve got this snapshot capture feature. It was rolled out I think end of 2019 I believe, or start of 2020, so all your devices should have it now. Uhm and basically what this does is it captures images regularly to show what happens between detected events. So in other words, it fills in your timeline um, which is quite a handy feature. So in between your motion events and your full recordings you’ve actually got… get this… slightly lower res snapshot capture that’s taken. So to turn it on, obviously just click the toggle and then you can choose how frequent you actually want this snapshot – Uhm, this still image – to be taken. You can do every three minutes, I tend to do every 30 seconds. Uhm, you do get a warning with 30 seconds just saying it can slow down your timeline. There you are see, that’s the warning. Uhm to be honest, my timeline is fine even with this 30 seconds on. Uhm, your mileage may vary but just try it out.
I think for me personally, especially since you know I’m doing this video on the – sort of – security camera dashboard, it makes sense to do every 30 seconds because it’ll fill in my timeline a lot better. But if you do find things get slower, then just do every one minute instead or even every three minutes. Uhm and how this actually works is if you look your event history for a particular device… no sorry not my event history… if I look at my timeline, I’ve got all my motion events but then between – so that’s an actual motion… then I think that’s actually me isn’t it! Anyway, whatever, in between a motion event you’ve got all these still images. Okay so every 30 seconds it’s taking a snapshot capture and it’s just filling things in between the motion event, and obviously you can see that – you know – it’s not ideal because you know you see a car there and then it disappears quite quickly. But to be honest, it’s better than nothing and certainly a still image every 30 seconds – especially if you’ve got more than one Ring device – will actually allow you to see some crime or just other things going on in your neighborhood. It’s a lot better than literally having motion events and nothing else. Uhm yes it’s detected some people go past. So it’s quite a nice feature. So what I’d say is just make sure for any of your Ring devices, go into your device settings, and just make sure you’ve got snapshot capture turned on. Make sure it’s at the frequency you want it on, and then just like you can view your dashboard here on the Ring app, you can also do the same on a laptop. Let’s have a look at that now.
So in terms of how you actually do this, the first thing you need to do is just get a laptop and plug it in to a PC monitor, or you could use a Raspberry Pi or media TV or any device. But anything that’ll – sort of – plug in to a PC monitor. and then you need to go to Ring.com. Okay so first thing to do is log into your account on a computer – or whether it’s a tablet – you know, just on a web browser of some sort, just like you do with the Ring app. And you firstly come here. So we’ll go off that and just go to my account instead. what you do when it finally loads – it’s a bit slow – is you can see you’ve got your protect plan stuff up here, but down here you’ve actually got your devices and you can see the snapshot captures there, and you can see that they’ve refreshed quite recently. Uhm obviously there’s a lot of white space here, so if I was setting this up on the TV monitor somewhere in my house, what I’d probably do is zoom in a few times.
Let’s have a look… zoom in a few times… just get rid of some of the white space, and then you know so make sure it’s comfortable for all the different devices I’ve got. I’ve only got two, in which case I can just zoom in quite a lot. If you’ve got more you might want to zoom out a little bit, or maybe not zoom out at all. Or zoom in at all, rather. But as you can see you’ve got the individual snapshot captures here, and it’s a really good way of just having it up on one screen and seeing exactly what’s happening around your property. Obviously as I mentioned in the intro, this isn’t as good as some professional level security system that actually has all the real-time feeds on a security monitor somewhere, but this is at least good enough, especially for a smart product. It’s a good enough way of seeing roughly what’s happening in your property.
Some websites will automatically log you out if you’re inactive for a certain amount of time, um so I want… and obviously if you were being automatically logged out of this Ring dashboard after a certain amount of time, then this whole video wouldn’t really make sense because obviously a security dashboard – or security monitor – which keeps logging you out wouldn’t be very useful! So what I did is first thing this morning – well quarter past eight – I set up a… I logged into the Ring website and I set up a device – a bit software – that just takes a screenshot every second or every minute, sorry. Uhm, so it starts at quarter past eight, and first you can see the… the images, the screenshot captures, are changing which is good so it shows this method works. The other thing you can see is I’m never logged out. I’m just literally cycling through the images that have been taken, the snapshots here. I think at this point I was messing around manually, that’s why it’s zoomed back up. But yeah, later on you can see I’m still not logged out, you can see the images are changing so everything’s good. Uhm, and to be honest I’ve just left this running, so it’s now quarter past eleven I still haven’t been logged out of my account, so it’s pretty safe to assume that Ring don’t have any – sort of – automatic log out system setup, because if they did it would take effect after a few minutes – certainly not after three or more hours. Uhm, but if you do find in the future Ring are automatically logging you out, what you could do is go to Chrome or Firefox and install an auto refresh extension. There’s loads of them out there. I’ve got one – it’s called super easy auto refresh – and what you can do is choose the polling interview for how often you want this web page to refresh.
So if I say every five seconds, what’ll actually happen is I can go away, leave this um monitor here, and every five seconds it’ll just come along and refresh, and it’ll scroll me back down to where I was before, um which is good. Uhm, obviously every five seconds is a bit too frequent so I’ll just fix that a second… I set it to every one minute, even though my snapshot captures are set for every 30 seconds, I’ll just do every minute. So this is quite useful because this actually simulates activity, so if in the future Ring does bring out automatic log out, then the plugin – such as an auto refresh plugin – will actually simulate activity and stop you getting automatically logged out. The other benefit is if… although I’ve noticed… although my screenshot captures are updating perfectly well, as we’ve just seen from looking at this, we can see that they’re changing really well. If at some point that’s not the case and they’re not refreshing for whatever reason on the website, then by using an auto refresh extension, you know that it’ll always resync from fresh, so it could be worth doing this even if Ring doesn’t have an auto… an auto log out in the future. But right now everything seems good! This method works well based on my testing – I’ve been logged in for over three hours, so this could work really well as a makeshift security monitor.
Okay thanks for watching this video about how to view all your Ring cameras from a single place. I hope you found it useful. If you did, please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you!