In early 2023, Ring made some headlines by announcing — albeit in an update to its support pages — that various features that had previously been included with the purchase of a video doorbell were being moved over to the paid Ring Protect subscription plans. “Starting March 29, 2023, a Ring Protect subscription is required to access Ring Alarm in-app features in the U.S. and Canada, including digital notifications and the ability to Arm and Disarm from your app,” read the announcement. “If you owned an Alarm before this date, your current device will keep these in-app features. If you did not own an Alarm, these features will now require a subscription.”
For those with the basic video doorbells but not the Ring Alarm hardware, this means that they lost the ability to set “home” and “away” modes to alter the behavior of their Ring Video Doorbells. This determines how strictly movement is scrutinized inside vs. outside the home, and though it was free before, it now requires a subscription. Those subscriptions start at $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year if paid in an annual lump sum.
What all of this means is that a lot of features that made Ring Video Doorbells relatively inexpensive home security systems have gotten a lot more expensive. If you had one of the doorbells before March 29, you lost a lot of features that you thought you had already paid for, even while existing Ring Alarm owners didn’t lose any features. Now? Without a subscription, a Ring Video Doorbell is literally just that: A live video doorbell.