March 28, 2010
Impressive Video Monitoring System
My intended use for the eight camera system is home monitoring. The capability of watching my home from other locations is an important feature I plan to utilize. This is my first video monitored security system, so my comments will reflect only my observations of this equipment. I have three PCs in my home on a local area network connected to the Internet with a wireless router. I will be attaching the system to a 22 inch monitor.
When I plugged the DVR into the router it automatically got a network address and then I put the address in Internet Explorer and a log in screen appeared on my monitor. Passwords are disabled as a default, but I'm sure I will change that setting so it requires a password. When completely installed, the screen shows frames for each of the eight cameras.
The first camera I set up was in a pitch black room (it was evening. I wanted to test the night vision. As soon as someone approached the doorway they appeared on the monitor with the entire room illuminated on the screen. In night vision's usual black and white, at a distance of 12-14 feet, a face was clearly visible and identifiable. Frankly, I was wowed -- this was one of those "isn't technology amazing" moments. Next, after temporarily mounting all the cameras, I checked the playback (recording) feature on each camera (automatic default)to ensure that feature was working. So, far, no problems.Next I needed to get a personal web address to view the cameras remotely from the Internet. On page 44 of the instruction manual the Lorex DDNS website is noted. Once there, I was prompted for my MAC (media access control) address found by going to the "main menu," selecting "advance" and then "info."
Batteries are included with the remote control. Note: there are no buttons on the remote control that light-up so when the batteries are dead it will be a matter of trial and error to determine they need to be replaced. I found the remote had to be aimed straight at the DVR. It didn't respond well if the remote was pointed slightly above, below or to the side.
There is no way to mount the camera in a fixed position where it won't move. No matter what I tried there was always a little play. So, if installed outside, a camera will be vulnerable to a strong wind, an object being hurled at it or even a stick being poked at it, so if possible mount the cameras in a sheltered location.
There is approximately 30 inches of cable attached to the camera that is then plugged into the 60 foot cable. For exterior installations, that section of cable needs to be installed inside a wall because the connections aren't weatherproof. Some security cameras run the cable through the mounting bracket so it isn't exposed at the installation site, and thus it is protected from both the elements and an intruder who can simply cut the cable to steal or disarm the camera. That is not the case with this camera, so there is ample reason to install as much as the cable into the wall as possible, leaving little exposed at the installation site.
Ultimately I am impressed with this system. Granted, it isn't a commercial grade set-up, but for a homeowner, the price is very reasonable and the cameras have a strikingly clear picture, even in pitch black applications. The downside for me is the temperature range, which although broad, isn't quite broad enough for me to safely install the cameras outside. Exterior installation in Colorado might always be an issue considering the number of snowstorms experienced each winter. The cameras might be frequently covered in snow and not provide helpful pictures even if the temperature range permitted installation.
The cameras work beautifully, and the computer set up was smooth. I haven't attempted to contact customer support so I can't speak to their responsiveness. For me, the wiring issue was minor, but that may or may not be an issue depending upon the installation site. So, far I am very pleased with the system. The ability to check on my dogs and my house remotely, and when home, being able to see who is approaching my driveway and front door, is to me invaluable. I don't know how the system will hold up over time, but I will update the review if I run into any problems.