June 28, 2011
So far, a good system limited only by the cameras' field of view
6/28/2011 initial impression: I've only done basic setup and configuration so far, more information will follow as I put this through its paces.
First, the manual has no index. I've failed to find several things in the table of contents, so a page-by-page search of the 122 page fine print manual has been necessary. This won't matter once the system is up and running, but an index would be very helpful during configuration.
Pulling it out of the box and connecting it was simple and intuitive. The most frustrating part was attaching the monitor to the base. (The arrow is on the back of the base.) Wires are obvious and ports are clearly labeled. I had the system fully assembled for testing in about 20 minutes.
The four cameras connect through the extension cables to one power supply. I like this because only one outlet is needed near the DVR, but it does mean that all cameras will be out of service if the power supply fails.
I find the image quality to be impressive. So far I've tested the cameras to 30 feet in a very dim room (though I haven't tested them in total darkness yet,) and the sharpness and level of detail was quite acceptable.
Configuration is relatively easy, using both the mouse and the remote. Some things (like text and number entry) are more easily done with the mouse, but the remote is handy for menu navigation. Use both if you have the option.
The screen can be configured to display four channels or nine channels. For four camera systems like this one, it still defaults to the nine camera view with five blank views. Double-click the channel of your choice for full screen.
The system has audio capability, but the cameras do not. If you decide later that you require audio recording you can keep the system and upgrade the cameras.
Video files are stored in a proprietary format. If you'll need to share them or view them on your computer, you'll need a converter. One is included on the disc that comes with this system.
You can record continuously, or only during scheduled times. You can also set each camera to record only if motion is detected, and you can specify motion detection over the whole field (the default) or only in specific areas. (This might be useful if you have a device that moves in the field of view--a fan, for example.)
That's as far as I've gotten so far. I'll update as the installation process continues. I've still got to connect it to the network, set up remote connectivity and the Android app, and (here's the big part of the process) permanently install the cameras and run the wires through the walls. Placement of the cameras will be important, since they are not wide angle cameras and have a limited (50 degrees) field of view.