Tesla adds in-car Dashcam and Sentry Mode viewer for easier video playback access

(Photo: Austin Sellers via Youtube)

Some members of Tesla’s Early Access program have reportedly received a new feature that will likely be released soon by the electric carmaker: the highly-requested Sentry Mode and Dashcam Viewer.

According to Tesla owner Eshak Mir, Tesla included the Dashcam Viewer in a recent software update for members of the EAP. The new feature allows drivers to view Sentry and Dashcam clips from a USB drive within a “Launch Viewer” while the vehicle is parked. Additionally, owners will be able to delete unusable clips from the USB drive, an option that could prove necessary if the storage device is low on space.

Tesla released the new update on April 3, and the new “Dashcam Viewer” feature is one of the most anticipated by the community. Sentry Mode and Dashcam both assist drivers in proving someone’s fault in an accident, recording instances of vandalism, or even unusual occurrences on roadways.

Following are the release notes for Tesla’s upcoming Dashcam Viewer feature. 

Dashcam Viewer

Watch saved Dashcam clips or Sentry Mode events from the touchscreen with the Dashcam Viewer. To launch, tap the Dashcam icon in the status bar and select “Launch Viewer” while the car is in PARK. If the car is in DRIVE, you will continue to save a clip by tapping the icon.

To view saved clips and events stored on your USB drive, tap the Menu icon in the upper left corner of the viewer. Each video is organized by location, date and thumbnail for easy access. For additional filtering options, tap the “Dashcam” or “Sentry” tabs.

Select a clip or event to play the corresponding video. To select video from a particular camera, tap the associated thumbnail marked Front, Rear, Left or Right. Play, pause, or scroll by using the video controls at the bottom of the player. To delete a video, tap the trash icon in the bottom right corner of the video player.

Inasmuch as TeslaCam and Sentry Mode were already very useful, drivers were not able to view these clips within the vehicle. This was despite Tesla equipping large and high-quality screens in its vehicles, which are already good enough for pleasant video or movie viewing experiences through apps like Tesla Theater.

In mid-March 2020, the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley Twitter page requested Elon Musk’s assistance with adding an in-car Sentry Mode or Dashcam review feature. This request was all but confirmed, as Musk stated he would discuss the addition of the feature with his team.

In the past, owners used many different options to view Sentry and Dashcam clips. Typically, drivers would take the USB drive or internal hard drive that they used to store clips and plug it into a computer to view the videos their vehicle had captured. There were third party storage devices that utilized USB-to-Apple Lightning adapters so that clips could be watched directly on an iPhone as well. Specially designed aftermarket accessories also existed for non-iPhone users.

The rollout of the new Sentry and Dashcam viewer alleviates the need to either wait until a driver is near a computer or use third-party devices to access videos that could otherwise reveal important information. While accidents on the road are not expected, the case of proving liability in these unfortunate cases is crucial to a driver’s financial situation, among others.

Tesla adds in-car Dashcam and Sentry Mode viewer for easier video playback access
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