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Are Blink Cameras Always Recording? Motion Detection Explained

If you’re in the market for a security system, the Blink line of home security cameras by Amazon is a strong contender to consider. One of Amazon’s main selling points for the Blink line of devices is its motion detection capabilities. You might be wondering, though, how this motion detection works. One big question arises: are Blink brand cameras always recording?

Blink devices do not continuously record, but with a subscription plan, you can manually record footage in Live mode. Regardless, Blink cameras’ other features, like their motion detection, make them a very useful element of a home security system.

Basically, if you’re looking for a security system that is always recording, the Blink line of devices is not what you want. In the event that you want to record footage manually using a Blink camera, it’ll cost you extra via an optional subscription plan. But in order to understand the particular advantages that Blink security systems offer, it’s essential to first know how they work.

Do Blink Cameras Stay On Or Record All The Time?

Blink cameras do not offer a non-stop recording feature. However, a Blink camera’s motion detection feature is always on so long as your system is armed. By design, Blink cameras start recording when they pick up on motion.

The possible length of a recording is determined by the camera you’re using. For “generation 2” Blink Indoor (on Amazon) and Blink Outdoor (on Amazon) cameras, you can set the duration of a clip between 5 and 60 seconds. These cameras also feature an option to end the clip early if the motion stops before the set time is up.

How Does Motion Detection in Blink Cameras Work?

Depending on the model, Blink cameras use one of two motion detection technologies:

A Blink Mini camera (on Amazon) uses what Amazon calls “Pixel Difference Analysis.” When the camera spots changes in a specific percentage of pixels, it triggers the motion detection and sends an alert to you. By adjusting the camera’s sensitivity in its settings, you can customize the percentage of pixels that need to change in order to set off the motion detection.

All other Blink cameras use a passive infrared method of detecting motion, meaning that they work by sensing changes in heat (AKA infrared energy). When people or animals move in front of the camera, their body temperatures cause heat signature changes, triggering motion detection.

Countless environmental factors can alter how far Blink motion detection can reach. That said, by Amazon’s approximation, all Blink cameras have a detection range of about 20 feet.

How Do Blink Cameras Store Footage?

When you purchase a Blink camera as a new user, you gain access to a free trial for the Blink Plus Subscription plan. The plan grants you the ability to save an unlimited number of clips from an unlimited number of cameras to a cloud storage system.

Once the trial ends, though, you’ll have to subscribe if you want to keep using the cloud storage feature.

Those looking for local storage can opt for the add-on known as the Blink Sync Module 2 (on Amazon). The device is described by its designers as a “coordinator” of a Blink security system.

It has two USB ports that allow users to save clips directly to drives and view them in the Blink app. If you have a Blink subscription plan, USB also drives automatically receive a cloud backup once a day.

Keep in mind that if you end up going with an older Blink model, like the Blink XT, Blink XT2, or “generation 1” Legacy Indoor camera, your storage space is limited to 7,200 seconds (2 hours) of footage.

Advantages of Using a Blink Camera

Live View

Say you’re away from home and you want to do a quick check of the premises. The “Live View” feature allows you to view footage and hear audio captured in real time through the Blink app.

When combined with a subscription plan, Blink Mini cameras also offer “Extended Live View,” enabling you to receive images and sound from a Mini camera through the Blink app for up to 90 minutes.

Can You Record Directly From Live View?

Yes, you can save recorded clips directly from Live View, but it’s gonna cost you. You need a subscription plan in order to save clips from Live View mode to cloud storage.

Keep in mind that Blink cameras do not allow Live View clips to be stored on a USB drive.

Smart Home Compatibility

Another cool aspect of Blink cameras is their compatibility with smart services like IFTTT (If This Then That) and Alexa-enabled devices.

Multiple IFTTT applets are available for use with Blink systems. For example, you can automatically arm your Blink system whenever you the leave the house and, of course, disarm it when you come back.

Naturally, you can use your voice to control your camera system through Alexa as well.

Should You Buy a Blink Camera?

If you don’t mind the inability for Blink devices to record continuously, the cameras do offer other useful features that might make up for it. Though the camera may not always be recording, you can count on the speed of its motion detection to alert you of any activity directly via the Blink app.

Live View lets you jump in on the camera feed straight from your smartphone. With a bit of tech savvy, you can integrate your Blink security system into your smart home. And if you’re willing to pay for a Blink subscription plan, you can more directly control what your camera system records.