One easy way to safeguard your against property theft, home invasion, porch pirates, and even unwanted solicitors is to identify who is at your doorstep before opening the door. Enter the video doorbell, a first line of defense for homeowners that not only lets you see and speak with the person outside, but also records footage of visitors that approach your door while you're away or unable to answer. These devices typically use Wi-Fi to stream live video to your phone and offer a variety of features, including cloud video storage, motion detection, sirens, and interoperability with smart locks and other smart home devices. Read on to find out what to look for when choosing a video doorbell for your home.
8 New State-of-The-Art Video App
Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet. We know that a lot of people don't like the app. We agree that it still needs a lot of work. However, there are so many people that use Facebook that Facebook Messenger just makes sense. The video chat experience works relatively well. Since most of the people you know are on Facebook, it's easier to use this app than to convince everyone to join a new platform. Plus, the new ads rolling out aren't great. It's not perfect, but it's perhaps the most convenient of the video chat apps on this list. At least it's free.
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This great video editing app for iPhone takes you back to old times. You transform the video into a variety of vintage film styles with many combinations to choose from: black & white, sepia, color, vintage sepia, 20's movie or 60's home video, etc. You can speed up or slow down the videos. And several sound options like Video, Piano 1, Piano 2, Movie Projector, etc. are provided to add more feeling to your movie.
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PowerDirector is one of the most comprehensive video editor apps on this list. It comes with a ton of features, including quick editing tools, various effects and other tools, and it even comes with things like a collage maker and slow motion support. The interface is relatively easy to work with and it utilizes the classic timeline editor method. It should be more familiar for those who video edit often. It’s free to download and use, but you’ll need to fork out some extra money to get all the features. This is a for real video editor, especially for larger screens like Chromebooks or tablets.
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Viber began life as a voice calling app. You used to be able to call people on the service along with regular phone calls. It has since evolved into a full-fledged messaging service. You can still make phone calls like you could before (for a fee). You can also text chat, video call, and more. It also features encryption on voice, text, and video calls between Viber users. There are a few extra fun features like hidden chats as well. It's a little bit heavier, similar to Facebook Messenger. However, it's otherwise not bad. The app isn't overly popular in the United States, but it's quite big Internationally. The in-app purchases are for things like stickers and other personalization items.
As with all software services, pricing and packages are an important consideration when it comes to video conferencing. The prices quoted and the product descriptions below are typically for the lowest level of service per user per month. (For more pricing information, click through to the individual reviews.) All but one of the video conferencing services I tested offers free trials (most for 30 days) and many don't require a credit card on file, which means you don't have to worry about being charged automatically when the trial ends.
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with some video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
Adobe Premiere Clip enables you to edit any video right from your Android device quickly. It is fast and fun to use. The best feature about Clip is the automatic video creation capability, i.e., the app can automatically create videos for you with any photos or clips that you choose. Moreover, you can also create your videos with its multiple video editing functions like cutting, trimming, adding transitions, music, filters, effects, etc.
OPlayer Lite is currently one of the best video players for iPad. It has excellent support for almost all formats (the latest update includes MKV support too). There’s an AC3 issue with the current version though — still, a far better player than many others out there. The decoding can be particularly tricky with other apps, but Oplayer appears to handle it quite well.
Movie Maker Filmmaker among the best free video editor apps currently available. You’ll be able to trim, crop, and reorder video content as well as set focal points. The app also boasts a variety of video effects and you can design your own custom filters, although that functionality isn’t amazingly powerful. It also has the rest of the basics, like music. The app has struggled with some bug issues since it’s major redesign, but it’s still one of the better video editing apps out there. It’s also completely free with ads.
Nothing makes an impression like moving pictures with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—phones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever-more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with newer formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and 360-degree VR video, and it has to be able to handle 4K and higher resolution.
Skype is one of the most popular video chat apps for any platform. It has native apps on most platforms, including PC, which makes it one of the best cross-platform options out there. The Android app certainly isn't perfect, but it can usually get the job done. You can do group video calls with up to 25 people. The app also features a free text chat, Microsoft and Facebook account integration, and you can even call regular cell phones for a nominal fee. The app still needs work, but it's definitely better than it was a year or two ago. The cross-platform support is top notch as well.
For those who have an iPhone or intend to buy one, iMovie is absolutely the best iPhone video editing app. It helps you turn the various video (including HD videos) you shoot into a gorgeous home movie with movie themes, titles, transitions and sound effects, etc. And you can also shoot a new video clip inside the application for better video editing on iPhone.
As it turns out, OEMs and carriers have taken matters into their own hands for video chatting. Some carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and others have video calling built into every phone sold by the carrier. You can quickly and easily video chat with anyone else on the service. Thus, someone with a Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile and someone with an LG V20 on T-Mobile can video call each other directly from the dialer app like you were making a phone call. They're a bit restrictive, but they tend to work pretty well when you can actually use them. We hope these options are expanded over time.
When choosing a smart doorbell you have to decide if you want a wireless device that runs on batteries or one that gets its power from low-voltage doorbell wiring. Naturally, a wireless doorbell is the easiest type to install, as it draws power from batteries rather than from your home's electric and doesn't require that you turn off power or mess with any wiring whatsoever. The downside to wireless doorbells is that their batteries tend to deplete batteries quickly depending on usage, lasting anywhere from two to six months. If you live in an area where the winters are cold you can expect to recharge or replace your batteries every couple of months, and run the risk of your doorbell shutting down at an inopportune time.
Adobe Premiere Clip is one of the big names when it comes to video editor apps. It has a laundry list of features, including the ability to auto-generate videos using your images and video if you don’t want to do it yourself. If that’s not your thing, you can edit your video manually using a variety of tools, effects, and music. The app boasts that you can use your own music but some users have found this process to be difficult. It does sync and work with Adobe Premiere Pro so you can start a project on one and continue on the next one. However, you'll need an Adobe Creative Cloud account to make all the syncing work.
Businesses are moving further apart. That is, many small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are becoming spread out across many geographic locations, which brings complex challenges for communication, even for employees that work in-house. Add customers and partners to the mix, and it's difficult to think about talking to all of these folks without extensive travel, which brings restrictive costs. This is where video conferencing can deliver a serious boost to your company's bottom line.
Another handy feature to look for is support for Alexa voice commands that let you view a doorbell's live stream on an Amazon-enabled display. Once you've enabled the skill, simply say "Alexa, show the front door" to launch a live stream on your Echo Show or Fire TV-enabled TV or monitor. Similar voice commands are also available using Google Assistant.
Quik is from a newer generation of video editor apps. It's halfway decent if you need something simple. The way it works is you add up to 50 photos and video clips into the app. The app then analyzes them and spits out a short video from them. Quik contains about two dozen video styles and you can re-order and customize your video before you export it. It’s not nearly as powerful as something like Adobe Premiere Clip or PowerDirector, but not everyone needs something that intense. It's free to download with no in-app purchases.
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of t... See Full Bio