Ring Protect is a paid-for plan that stores footage from Ring cameras and doorbells in the Ring cloud, ready to access 24/7 (along with extra features for the Ring Alarm system).
Amazon Prime is a paid-for plan that gives access to a range of Amazon products and services.
Amazon own Ring.
Therefore Ring Protect should be free with Amazon Prime, right? Well, unfortunately not.
Despite Amazon owning Ring, Ring Protect is not currently included as part of the Amazon Prime subscription – meaning that you do have to pay for a Ring Protect plan if you want its specific features.
What is Ring Protect?
If you have a Ring camera or Ring doorbell, it will notify you when motion is detected and allow you to view the real-time footage. However it won’t store any recorded video clips (from motion detection nor live-view footage) unless you pay a subscription to Ring called Ring Protect.
With the paid plan, you can also easily share recorded video clips (with friends/family and social media), along with access to ‘screenshot capture’ – where a lower resolution picture is taken every 30-300 seconds to give you a more complete view of everything that’s happening. This is the ‘basic’ Protect plan, costing $3 per month or $30 per year (i.e. you get 2 months free if you pay per year).
This only covers a single camera, so instead you can pay for the ‘plus’ Protect plan, costing $10 per month or $100 per year, but covering an unlimited number of Ring devices – along with the Ring alarm, and an increased warranty of Ring devices.
More information is available on Ring’s website.
Amazon Prime costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year, and it includes a range of added benefits:
- Free Prime delivery, giving quick next day delivery (but sometimes even with same-day delivery options).
- Exclusive Lightning Deals when there’s sales on.
- Discounts on certain baby items and Whole Foods.
- Access to free video via Prime Video.
- Access to 2 million free songs with Prime Music.
- Access to thousands of free Kindle books.
In other words, it includes quite a lot. However what some people don’t realize is that there’s still some Amazon services that still aren’t included, even with Prime membership:
- The majority of individual products available via Amazon don’t come with free delivery. Yes, the most common purchases do tend to include Prime shipping, but scroll down a few pages and you’ll start to see many items that won’t have super fast delivery.
- If you want access to more songs with Prime Music, or you want to play music on multiple Echo devices, you need to pay for Prime Music Unlimited – which is $7.99 per month.
- If you want unlimited Kindle books to read, you need to pay for Kindle Unlimited which is $9.99 per month.
In other words, whilst Amazon Prime does give you access to a range of features that non-Prime members don’t get, you still don’t get access to Amazon’s full music or e-book library.
Why isn’t Ring Protect free under Amazon Prime?
As you may have guessed by now, since Amazon doesn’t give unlimited access to Prime members for Amazon’s own music and e-book libraries, Prime membership isn’t the all encompassing subscription that some people think it is.
As a result, it also does not include access to Ring Protect for free.
This is unfortunate, especially since Amazon regularly sells bundles such as getting a free Echo Dot with a Ring camera purchase, but ultimately Ring are being operated as a separate company (and have been since Amazon’s purchase of them in 2018), so it sort of makes sense that Amazon’s subscription doesn’t cover Ring Protect.
The same is true of Audible, the audiobook provider who has become massively popular over the last decade. Since Amazon purchased them in 2008, Audible has stayed as a separate company – with separate products and subscriptions.
Yes, Amazon do advertise them sometimes and occasionally offer a one month Audible trial to Prime members, but a one month Audible trial can be obtained outside of Prime membership too (when there’s offers on, that is).
Has Amazon or Ring said this will change in the future?
There’s been no statements or suggestions that Ring Protect may become free under Prime membership, unfortunately.
When Amazon purchased Ring in 2018, an Amazon spokesperson said:
“We’re excited to work with this talented team and help them in their mission to keep homes safe and secure”
Whereas Ring published a blog post, saying:
1. What will happen to the Ring brand?
Nothing! Ring will continue to be its own brand and support past, current and future Ring products and services.
2. So what will change?
Amazon will provide resources to the Ring team that will enable us to grow and reach more Neighbors around the globe, and we will leverage the expertise of the Amazon team to continue to develop even more innovative and affordable devices to make smart security accessible to all.Ring blog post, April 12th, 2018.
In other words, whilst Amazon’s global reach (in terms of marketing and knowledge) will help Ring expand quicker, Ring will stay as a standlone company.
As a result, there’s been no suggestion that Prime will start offering any part of the Ring Protect plans for free.
Does Prime membership help with Ring at all?
So even with Prime membership, you’ll still have to be part of the subscription economy and shell out for a Ring Protect plan too (and Spotity, Audible, Disney+, Netflix and…!). However not all’s lost, you do get some Ring benefit from having a Prime membership:
- Super-fast next day or even same day delivery, when buying through Amazon.com. This is a lot faster than waiting four or five business days for your Ring devices purchased through Ring.com. Ring do give you the option of overnight delivery for $20 or 2-day delivery for $12, but this is fairly expensive unless you’re placing a massive order (and hence can ‘average’ the cost of the delivery out over each item bought).
- Amazon regularly sell bundles between Ring cameras/doorbells and their own smart products (such as Echo devices). It’s quite common to buy a Ring camera and walk away with a free Echo Dot. Yes, after a few years you’ll probably end up with 2 Dots in each room, but it’s still nice that Amazon are creating bundle deals with Ring – something they wouldn’t do as much if they didn’t own Ring.
- A cynical but important (and true) point – Ring’s Alexa integration is now the future. Ring does also offer integration with Google Home, and they did announce upcoming support for HomeKit back in 2016.
Unfortunately Ring seem to have constantly reneged on this promise, and in 2020 they still don’t offer HomeKit support. Cynics have pointed out that Ring are now driven by Amazon (behind the scenes) and Amazon have their own dreams of a smart home empire, so why would they fund expensive HomeKit R&D when they can keep pushing Alexa support?
It wouldn’t surprise me if Ring slowly but surely drop Google Home support too (possibly by just not fully supporting new Google Home devices), meaning that Alexa will be the only real source of Ring integration in the future.
This isn’t something that Amazon or Ring have announced, of course, but it’s interesting that HomeKit support seems to have fallen by the wayside since Amazon purchased Ring.
In other words, since Amazon own Ring, having a Prime membership will help you with your Ring purchased and support going forward – but unfortunately not via free Ring Protect!