Best security DVR and motion-activated cameras?
So, any suggestions for a more modern security system / DVR that has motion activated cameras (preferably with motion zones) and that's internet connected (preferably viewable by web browser)?
I was looking at something like Logitech's security products (www.logitech.com/en-us/video-security-systems), but I'm not sure they're quite right, especially since they seem to work independently and require internet connectivity (which means we get no coverage if there's an internet outage). Still, I'm all ears!
Another option is Ubiquiti Networks AirVision software www.ubnt.com/airvision . It is completely web based. Ubiquiti cameras aren't very expensive either. AirVision is also free but I can't find a list of supported cameras.
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But, as many have posted above, there are plenty of great options out there, many of which are far more customizable and configurable -- but they'll probably need more time spent tinkering. The Alert cams pretty much work right out of the box.
Not that it is a complete solution. You should check out 'Mobotix' range of IP camera's. They're a bit expensive but worth every penny. Even if you just get one of them and use crappy camera's for the rest. You'll rest at ease knowing you will have a clear mug shot of any dirty scum culprit.
I have had a lot of experience with 'Dallmeier' Security Systems, which run in many casino's and airport's. But their systems can be clumsy and not to mention expensive.
'NUUO' is making ground fast in the industry and that is the system I am most comfortable with at the moment. I think they even do consumer level products. Like, you can purchase a controller board and build your own DVR if you like.
IP is the way to go IMO. No matter how often people have convinced me that CCTV's resolution has improved remarkably I end up disappointed with the results, not to mention the labor involed to install.
If all you need is one camera facing at the door, them maybe Logitech has the right solution. But there are similar products, like the Dropcam which might also cater to your needs.
Dropcam is cool idea (private labeled Axis camera). But video storage in the cloud typically ends up requiring poor resolution (smaller pixel size and low bit rate encoding) to save on the amount of video that can be pushed up to a remote server--and then you will likely only look at a small portion of the video if you have a security event.
Never tried the Mobitix--heard good things, but these are pretty spendy for a basic solution.
Pros: simple, good quality cameras, all-in-one box with instructions, easy firmware setup and motion detection with zone sensor configuration, motion detection email alerts. I have the alerts emailed to a twitpic account I made just for the cameras, and have a "security" twitter account to watch the low res snapshots the DVR uploads of every leaf blowing around the parking lot. Getting the emails became overwhelming to my gmail.
Cons: Had to do a DVR firmware update out of the box, port forwarding was a bit tricky to get the correct three ports set to allow Netviewing from browser or iOS app. But I figured it out and i'M no genius.
That's my two cents. I'd suggest looking at one of their kits here: www.nightowlsp.com/Products/Complete-Kits
iCam has iOS and Android apps and no subscription fee.
Basically you run an app on your computer at your place and it will push notify you when it detects motion on one of your cameras.
you can set up a schedule so they automatically turn on and off.
you can set up dead/hot zones so your kitty doesn't trigger the motion alerts.
you can set dropbox as the storage location so even if a thief steals your computer you will still be able to post his picture on twitter (or give to the cops).
It will automatically manage the file size and delete old images when the folder passes a size you designate.
I had to read through a dozen manuals to select a camera with all the features I wanted. Of course today there are many more inexpensive models out there, but you can learn a lot about a camera by reading the manual. A crappy manual means poor attention to detail.
Also, there are iPhone (and android, I think) apps, that let you see a live view, and control and swivel the cameras in almost any direction, and so far, after a month the whole system works flawlessly. One camera is outside (under an eve) even though it's an inside camera, and in our 110 degree heat it still seems to be working. We'll see how long it lasts. But at $65, I can afford to replace one every year or two if needed compared to most other systems. If it lasts that long.
So far I'm impressed, Compared to an expensive Panasonic IP camera I tried a few years ago, these cheap cameras seem to work well, and keep a good connection, and so far are reliably uploading movement to the sensr.net site (they use FTP upload).
The color is not perfect with these cameras, but for security purpose that's not a big deal for me, and since they have very reasonable night vision with infra red lights, they work well at night too - and look a little ominous as an added benefit.
I'm probably going to by a couple more, and mount them outside to view the side gate, and catch motion, if any, that occurs around the side of my house that is not otherwise easily visible.
We were robbed a few years ago (before cameras) and I now subscribe to the theory that just seeing a camera with a blinking light, and realizing there was a possibility that their mug has been captured should be enough to deter most thieves. And those that is doesn't, well... there isn't much more that could be done at that point. But at least I should have a few good snaps with the multiple cameras around the house. All for under $200, with images uploaded offsite.
In the reviews for the loftek cameras, several people mentioned using dvr software with these cameras (something like bluefish, I think that was the name, but could be wrong). I was thinking I'd purchase such dvr software too, but if the sensr.net setup I'm using keeps working, and continues to be free, and if it continues to work well with the camera to capture fairly adequate stills when motion is sensed, I probably will foregoe the dvr software. I seem to have problem keeping computers running software 24/7 reliably when I've tried in the past. The computer sleeps, or the software locks up, or the OS locks up, etc - so having the cameras upload directly to an web site that lets me playback the captures motion seems like a better solution for me, for now.
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