In 2019, Ring launched the Peephole Cam, a camera that fits over existing door peepholes to record goings-on outdoors, in apartment building hallways and so on. Priced at $199, the Peephole Cam failed to catch on, leading Ring to discontinue it in 2021.
But now, Ring’s giving it another go — the Peephole Cam made a return this morning at CES 2023. The model is the same but now starts at $129 and ships with software that brings its capabilities in line with the rest of Ring’s product portfolio.
“After removing the Peephole Cam from our inventory, we heard from a number of customers who still were interested in this device and wanted to secure their front door with a Ring Doorbell but were not able to install one of Ring’s existing doorbells,” Ring CTO Josh Roth told TechCrunch in an email interview. “We are pleased to be able to offer the Ring Peephole Cam at a lower price than before to better serve our customers.”
The Peephole Cam — which Ring insists can be installed without permanent modifications to a door — offers motion detection, a doorbell button, 1080p video, two-way talk, real-time streaming video and Privacy Zones (areas users can designate to black out from their camera’s field of view). Exclusive to the Peephole Cam is an adjustable impact sensor to detect when a door is being “physically interacted with”; when the Peephole Cam senses vibrations, it’ll alert that someone’s knocking on the door and will begin recording.
Predictably, the Peephole Cam works with Alexa, letting owners send announcements or sound effects to Alexa-enabled devices when a knock, motion or doorbell ring is detected. A Peephole Cam-detected knock or motion can also be set to trigger smart home routines — for example, switching on connected lights and closing motorized window blinds.
When asked about the Peephole Cam’s privacy features, Roth noted that the doorbell has built-in cover slides to prevent a passerby from looking through the peephole and a toggle for audio recording. But that probably won’t allay the fears of consumer advocates who’ve argued that the company’s devices are a security threat. As TechCrunch previously reported, Ring has a history of sharing footage with the government without users’ permission, working closely with police departments around the U.S. and being generally reluctant to disclose its connections with law enforcement.