No matter what Ring doorbell model that you might have, they are all designed to be used primarily with a smart phone via the Ring app.
The phone acts as a monitor to view the video from the doorbell.
But where does this leave people who don’t own a smart phone or don’t want to use their smart phone to link with their Ring doorbell?
For quite some time it left them high and dry.
I mean, there are video doorbells that you can buy that come with their own monitors but they are nowhere near as sophisticated as a Ring doorbell.
Now fortunately there are solutions for Ring products which go beyond your smart phone and tablet. And in this article I will be explaining what they are.
The easiest alternative monitor to use is an Echo Show and I offer a step by step guide below. But I also look at the option of using a smart TV as a monitor via Chrome cast and I tackle the thorny issue of whether Apple TV can be linked to a Ring doorbell and used as a monitor.
But let’s start off with the simplest solution- using an Echo Show.
Can you use an Echo Show as a monitor for your Ring Doorbell?
Although Ring is widely used in conjunction with mobile devices such as smartphones, some of you might prefer to set up a dedicated in-house monitor for the Ring Doorbell. A great tool for this would be Amazon’s Echo Show. The Echo Show 5 is one of the devices that support the Ring app and getting things running is a fairly straightforward process.
All you need to do is add the Ring Alexa skill via the Amazon Alexa app. Once you’ve opened the app, select the menu in the top left of the app. You will need to tap on the Skills & Games section and from there you can proceed to search for the Ring skill. After hitting the search button, Ring should come up at the top of the list in the Smart Home category. When you select the “Enable to use” button, you will be directed to the in-app browser so you can get into your Ring account (assuming you have already signed up). After you’ve entered your details and signed in, you’ll get to the part where you actually connect Ring to your Echo Show. Once you hit the “Discover devices” option, you’ll notice “Ring Doorbell” in your device list at which point it should link up by itself. If the connection doesn’t work, be sure that your Ring Doorbell is actually on before prompting Alexa to look for it by saying, “Alexa, discover my devices.”
At this point everything should be hooked up and you’ll have a Ring Doorbell with a monitor that you can keep in a convenient spot in your home. If you work from home, a good spot for your monitor might be in your office. If you spend a lot of time watching TV, it might be better suited in the lounge area. If you’re like me and you find yourself frequently raiding the fridge, the kitchen would make a good base for your device. Or if you want, you can set up a device in each of these locations around your house.
Is there a Ring app for Chromecast?
The Ring app itself may not be compatible with Chromecast but this doesn’t mean that you can’t use Chromecast to manage your Ring devices. Although the feature is apparently only available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, you can use your Ring Doorbell through Google Nest and Google Home speaker which will let you know when you have a visitor at your door, and you can also stream your video feed to your television using Chromecast. In order for this to work, you’ll need to make sure you have: a connected Ring Doorbell, Chromecast or a TV with built-in Chromecast, and either Google Home, Google Home Max, Google Home Mini (1st Gen), or Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen).
Once your doorbell is set up correctly, you will need to link it to your display. Go into your Google Home app, select “Add”, and then select “Set up device”. Presumably your Ring Doorbell will appear on the list of available devices. After you’ve logged in to your account you can begin the pairing process. After reading through (or skipping over) the terms and conditions, hit “Allow” to connect Google Assistant to your account. After pairing is finished and you’ve named your doorbell, you’ll want to set up your Chromecast if you haven’t done so already. From here you will need to connect your TV with your device. Ensure that your display and mobile device are running on the same network (Wi-Fi). Like before, open your Google Home app and add a new device. You’ll need to specify what device you wish to add and which “Home” you want to link the device to. You can be sure of this by verifying that the code displayed on your TV is the same on your mobile device. After choosing the room and the Wi-Fi your device will be connected to, you can select which video services you want to include. From there you should be able to start streaming your Ring Video Doorbell’s video feed by using the applicable voice commands. Use the phrase “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”, and then say either “What’s on” or “Show the” followed by the doorbell name. You can also specify which Chromecast you wish to display the feed on. To end the video stream, just say, “Stop”.
It sounds like a complicated process, and that’s because it is. To put things in perspective, the process of setting up your Ring Doorbell on a Samsung smart TV is a lot easier. Simply download the Ring app, log in to your account, add the desired doorbell, go to the SmartThings app on your mobile device, select “Devices”, choose “Add device manually”, then hit “Doorbells” and select “Ring”. After you’ve entered your Ring account details you should be all linked up.
Is there a Ring app for Apple TV?
According to the Apple App Store, the Ring app is only compatible with the iPhone and iPad with no mention of the Apple TV. Under information, it says, “Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch”. This comes as somewhat of surprise considering that customers have been suggesting a Ring app for the Apple TV for several years already.
Shortly after Amazon bought Ring in February 2018, there was a lot of talk about making Ring compatible with Apple Homekit. You could then set up your Apple TV as a Home Hub and the problem would be solved. However, until recently it appeared that this was little more than an empty promise from Ring. Now though it seems that some progress has been made. According to a review published on safehome.org, “Ring has recently allowed for integration with Apple Homekit” which will allow the user to link their Apple Homekit to Ring’s Video Doorbell Pro and the Spotlight Cam. This appears to be a controversial point though. Some people are saying that they’ve experienced faults with this setup such as delayed notifications, and it might not be worth it to take this route.
There is another alternative solution to the Ring app compatibility issue. According to the Apple App Store, the Virtual Keypad app is compatible with Apple TV (“Requires iOS 10.3 and watchOS 2.2 or later”) and apparently this Virtual Keypad app is also compatible with the Ring Doorbell. Since I don’t own an Apple TV and there is little information online about this workaround, I can’t testify to the reliability of this method, but since the Virtual Keypad app is supposedly compatible with both Apple TV and the Ring Doorbell, in theory you should be able to access your Ring devices through your Apple TV without the use of the Ring app.
How do I stop my Ring Doorbell from being hacked?
Ring devices haven’t actually been hacked (yet) but there was recently a major lapse in security. A data leak left a number of users’ information available to potential hackers. This so called “security vulnerability” meant attackers had access to Wi-Fi passwords, enabling them to get into a user’s system. If you’ve been following Ring news, you probably would’ve come across the incident a few months ago where an attacker gained access to a Tennessee family’s system and used it to talk to a young girl in her room, saying, “I’m your best friend, I’m Santa Claus”. Again, this wasn’t actually a successful hack of Ring’s systems.
There have been other similar cases reported around the same time with users saying that a stranger has spoken to them through their Ring home security system. According to representatives at Ring, there was “no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.”
So what are the steps you should be taking to prevent this from happening to you? Firstly you should be sure to come up with a strong, unique password for your Ring account and your Wi-Fi network. It would be wise to use an original password rather than reusing a password that you’re familiar with which you’ve likely used on other accounts. If your password has been compromised once (for example your Facebook or Instagram password), attackers can try that password or slight variations of that password on other accounts.
A vulnerable Facebook account might not be the most worrisome thing in the world, but if your banking account, PayPal, or your work account are compromised, it could mean a lot of trouble for you and possibly your business as well. You’ll also want to enable two-factor authentication. This will send a once-off code directly to your phone when you try to log in. Also make sure that you only share your account details with close friends or family that you know you can trust.
What are the main features of the Ring app?
The Ring Doorbell is meant to deliver live alerts to your mobile device through your Wi-Fi network. When someone arrives at your door and hits the button on the Ring Doorbell just like any regular doorbell, you’ll be notified on your tablet, smartphone, or whichever device you’ve set up to manage your Ring devices. There are other Ring products as well in addition to the video doorbell, such as the Spotlight Cam and numerous alarm variations.
Through the Ring Doorbell, you’ll have access to two-way audio communication when someone’s at your door, and with the Ring Video Doorbell you’ll be able to see who’s visiting you in real-time. With the motion detector, you can set up your device to record as soon as it picks up any activity in your chosen zone, such as your front yard. You’ll be able to manage and customize your motion zones through your device. You can choose which zones to activate or deactivate as well as how sensitive you’d like the zones to be.
You also have the option of setting up friends or family members as “Shared Users” which will allow them to get alerts from your Ring device, respond to live events, and see videos that have been recorded. All you need to do is add your trusted user’s email to your account and after they’ve used the link in their email to create their own account, they should be able to access your Ring device.
What types of notifications will the Ring app send me?
There are essentially two kinds of alerts, motion alerts and Ring alerts. When your Ring device picks up movement or when someone is at your door, you’ll get either a Ring notification (to let you know someone is at the door) or a motion notification (to let you know the motion sensor has detected some activity). The alert will show up on your mobile device which you can use to see who is paying you a visit, or to talk to your visitor even when you’re away from home.
As we move forward into a constantly evolving tech-dependent future, concepts such as remote video doorbells will become a standard for the majority of homes around the world. While some people embrace the idea of a more connected digital world and are happy to have their smart TV, smartwatch, smartphone, and a variety of smart home devices, others feel that privacy is fast becoming a thing of the past. Simplicity may be old-fashioned, but at least it’s more difficult to be hacked. There are both pros and cons to bringing more cameras into your home, but ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide where they draw the line.