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Arlo pulls its 4K security camera from shelves to fix glaring problems

Higher resolution means better security. It’s the reason why people want 1080p livestreams and recordings instead of 720p and why 4K cameras are all the rage now. Arlo generated a lot of excitement at CES 2019 when it announced the Arlo Ultra, a 4K home security camera, but it has been met with a wave of customer dissatisfaction after release. The units went on sale at Best Buy a short time after the camera was announced, but customers experienced connectivity issues and shorter-than-expected battery life. In the most severe cases, the stream did not meet the promised 4K resolution.

Arlo reacted to the complaints by releasing a wave of firmware updates; four of them, in fact. Customers received an update on January 15, 20, 29, and 30. The companion base station that comes with the camera also received three updates on January 15, 17, and 30. Unfortunately, while these firmware updates helped with some of the problems the camera faced, they did not fully correct them.

Arlo has decided to pull the cameras from store shelves until the problems are completely resolved. The improvements from the firmware suggest it is mostly a software problem rather than one based in hardware, which is both good and bad. A hardware problem might require a complete rebuild to resolve, but software bugs can be worked out over time.

The Arlo Ultra was due for wider release in late January, but now Best Buy lists the camera as “coming soon.” Amazon lists its release date as March 17, although Arlo has not released an official statement on when it plans to once more release the security cameras for sale.

An Arlo spokesperson told Digital Trends, “You can still buy Ultra today in certain retail outlets like Best Buy. As we do with all our products and knowing that Ultra is a leading technology product with a lot of new innovations, we did extensive testing before deployment. After end-user sales began, we found some performance challenges in certain user environments and have been releasing firmware upgrades to solve these challenges. We feel we have largely solved the issue, and are now seeing positive feedback on the forums from users in these environments.”

Arlo has a great reputation among consumers, which hopefully means these problems will be straightened out and customers will soon have a reliable, affordable 4K security camera.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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