DVR4-4400 4 Channel 720p Digital Video Recorder allowing you to capture High Definition video in real-time. Comes with a pre-installed 500GB HDD and includes 4 x 720p Cameras. High Def HDMI & VGA output and Smartphone viewing. Be protected & see every detail in 720p Full HD
• A state of the art & expandable surveillance system with video technology equivalent to 720p HD resolution
• Set & forget by recording continuously from 4 channels for 30 days+ onto a 500GB hard drive, even longer with motion detection
• Seeing is believing with 4 x 720p HD Cameras (1 Megapixel) perfect for front & back door areas & more
• Save time & have peace of mind by easily locating incident video, then transfer to external storage via USB or network
• View live or playback video in high definition on your HDTV, LCD screen or monitor via HDMI connection or VGA port
• Connect in minutes using SwannLink 'Peer-to-Peer' easy network connection software
• Surveillance in the palm of your hand with live viewing on 3G/4G-enabled Smartphone & tablets including, iPhone, iPad, Android devices and more* using the free SwannView Link app
• BNC Cable Connection
• 4 Channels View & Record
• Includes 4 Cameras
• Pre-installed 500GB Hard Drive
• 720p High Definition Camera
• 100ft / 30m Night Vision
• 62deg Viewing Angle
^720P recording only possible with PRO-AXXX cameras
+ 30 days recording achieved using lower settings, default settings give 4 days recording
* Monitor, tablet and mobile phones not included. Not all handsets supported
Many years ago, I had a hardwired security camera system in a shop I managed. It was beautiful - simple and intuitive to use, fully featured software package, 16 cameras in-store plus literally hundreds more in other stores in the chain that I could tap into to provide an extra pair of eyes in case there was no-one on hand for brief periods... but of course it cost millions to create and hundreds of thousands more to maintain... so when I recently discovered I was about have to pack up the office and move to a new building and this kit was available to review, I simply had to jump at the chance. It seemed like a wonderful convergence of circumstances.
Upon arriving at the new premises with this box in hand - about 20cm x 30cm x 40cm and weighing in at a little over 5kg - I was very pleased to discover I had permission to drill cable holes so I could wire this rig into the new building. The only problem was that the building was an odd shape and with only four cameras I was going to have to get very creative about placement in order to reduce the size and number of blind spots. Thankfully, with a good wide field of vision, moving a couple of the cameras to mount on underhanging surfaces enabled me to cover all the main access ways to the building as well as many of the high-risk outdoor gathering areas that contained potential forced-access points.
After determining the best mounting areas, and confirming suitable solid mounting points, installation of the cameras would be as simple as driving in the three screws supplied. However, I personally loathe flat-head and phillips head screws, instead preferring to use posidrive speed-thread screws when mounting to a solid wooden substructure, so that may be something to consider. Adjusting the angles of the cameras was made extremely simple by the inclusion of an Allen key in the kit, and by adjusting a combination of 5 Allen screws on each camera chassis you can aim them pretty much anywhere you need and still have a level image. This was very pleasing, as the number of cheaper cameras I have come across that give you just two axis of adjustment frustrate me.
Wiring them in is as simple as plugging the cameras' power and image cables into the supplied extension leads, running those to wherever you have decided to mount your DVR box, and plugging the power wires into the wall adaptor, and the image cables directly into the ports on the back of the box. Once you have the box plugged into power, router (a small Cat-5 cable is supplied), monitor (both VGA and HDMI are supported and an HDMI cable is supplied) and the supplied USB mouse is attached, you're ready to run.
Setup will prove to be your longest task really, as there is some configuration to be done and while it's not difficult it is always one of the steps I find most tedious. However, once done it is a set-and-forget thing and the rest, as they say, is a breeze. I won't go into the minutae of usage - it's all covered very well in a number of other places - but I will say I found it quite simple, not at all frustrating, and many of the basic features performed smoothly. Getting the right balance of settings to make the motion-detection system effective - with the maximum sensitivity with minimum of false-triggers - can be a tad frustrating, but that is the nature of the beast. You either resign yourself to a lowered level of security or a higher level of alerts as a stray cat decides the roof of your van is the perfect place to sleep but keeps getting scared off when the security lights fire off, only to return when they time out. Rinse and repeat.
With a pre-installed 500gb hard drive, you'll get a few days of stored footage from four cameras, a week of footage with two cameras, or nearly a fortnight on a single camera, however the eSATA port on the back of the DVR box means you can attach a juicy big multi-terabyte hard drive for extended storage. This can make all the difference if you decide to take off on holiday for a week and want full coverage of the property.
There is also a second USB 2.0 port on the back allowing you to attach a pendrive for saving clips to without needing to power up a PC and log into the box over the LAN. Such a great idea as it means the system can operate on an isolated network if need be, free from any potential unwanted access from local machines. With the ability to view live footage or replay archived footage via mobile app, this is perfect for the security-conscious small-business owner who may feel the need to take a peek while away from the store to make sure everyone is fully on task or if the alarm is triggered during off-hours.
While the system claims to be up-scalable, I didn't see any ports on the DVR that would allow you to connect extra cameras or create a bridge across multiple DVRs to allow them to operate as a single hive. The closest I could see was a neat little port that allowed you to add an RS-485 PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) camera to your system. This is a great option to consider as it gives you a perfect tool to cover an area that would otherwise fall off the map and become a blind spot. Not having such a camera on hand at the time of writing this, I can't comment on how it would integrate into the software, but I imagine it would be no harder to include than a fixed camera.
Overall, after 2 weeks of trialling the system and actually catching a couple of idiots attempting to use one corner of the property as a dumping ground for a rusty old lawnmower as some rotting timber, I have to say that I think this is a great kit. Priced for what you get - these cameras are sturdy, powerful and while not up to maximum resolutions by today's standards, they still give a good, crisp image - it's possibly a little too high for any but the most dedicated homeowner and far more suited for small businesses with showyards or warehouse storage bays. The cameras are quite happy outdoors, but you'll have less issues with grubby lenses if you give them a modicum of shelter by mounting them under the eaves.
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