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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2009
I replaced my 15 year old VCR based Black and White security system with the Defender SN-300 color Security system with 4 Nightvision cameras for my small retail business. In the past, it was difficult to see a small 9" quad screen in B/W. Now I have a 19" color monitor hooked to the Defender DVR and the difference is huge. I really like the ability to switch from quad view to one camera for monitoring and playback then back to quad again. The picture is not HD quality, but is VERY, VERY good and clear. The DVR in highest quality will record 7-10 days of monitoring only. I haven't tried the low quality setting, but I am sure the DVR would record much, much more with the 500GB drive in the low quality setting! The nightvision cameras are a must and light my office well for recording. That was a huge bonus. The setup is easy and the menus also are easy to use. The networking is a little more of a challenge, but am working through this for watching the store from home. All in all, you can't beat the system for the money.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2009
I purchased an all-in-one (monitor/DVR) wih four cameras. The installation was a cinch (except for the internet viewing access). About two weeks after having three of the cameras on the roof looking at three sides of the property, two of the cameras began getting condensation inside the lenses. Support told me to send them back or remove the lense covers and wipe the glass. I wiped and they worked fine for a couple of days. I'm in Florida and if high (not that bad) humidity in November is a problem-imagine what will happen in July and August when the rains start. I plan to return them and see if the new ones leak.

I am still working with Defender to see what they are willing to do. The support (telephone) department seems to be handled by one very busy, polite young lady. We'll le tyou know how it turns out. My warranty is ticking.

Good Luck with your search.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 20, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
QUICK SUMMARY: I setup this surveillance system (not really a security system) with minimal trouble. It's doing what it's supposed to do WITHOUT having to call Tech Support, without reading the owner's manual, and without scouring the Internet for solutions to problems -- I didn't encounter any serious issues, and the few minor installation bumps I encountered were easily remedied. Don't expect much from the "color" cameras - the default colors from them are abysmal (but for an inexpensive surveillance system, I'm willing to put up with lousy color). I'll wait a month before deciding whether or not recommend this system, but overall, I'm pleased with what I've seen so far.

What I LIKE:

- Well packaged and complete. It comes with a Quick Start guide and an owner's manual which is only slightly more informative. You can do the installation just from the Quick Start guide, and refer to the owner's manual only if you need to.
- It worked! It does what it says it will do -- without having to call Tech Support for assistance. Yea!!
- The color "high-res" cameras (which are NOT "high definition") are really quite small and unobstrusive.
- The cameras can be installed indoors or outdoors (but if outdoors, they must not be directly exposed to the elements, so says the owner's manual).
- Lots of configuration settings let you decide which cameras to turn on/off, how many frames-per-second they'll record (from 1 fps to 30 fps), resolution quality, when to record, and more. I haven't tried many of the features yet, like connecting to my home network, or recording only when the camera's sensor indicates something is moving within its narrow field-of-vision.
- If I really want to have this system professionally installed in my home, there's an option the manufacture provides to do just that. But I don't know what the cost of that would be.
- The "night vision" feature (for darkly lit rooms or outside at night within ~15 feet of the camera) works pretty good! I've never used "night vision" electronics before, and it's startling how clear someone's face can be seen using this feature.
- At night using available streetlight, you won't be able to read a license plate from the video that's recorded, but you will be able to see the model of a vehicle driving by.

What I Did **NOT** Like:

- The default colors from these "color" cameras are awful. The color green -- leaves on trees and the color of grass -- show up grayish-brownish-purpleish, NOT green, on both the live video feed and the corresponding recorded video. Strangely, the only time grass and leaves show up green is during a torrential downpour of rain. White and black show up well, orange shows up okay, but most other colors seem way, way off. You can improve the colors by manually adjusting the hue setting for each camera.
- Using the remote, sometimes pressing the "Menu" button (which should exit a screen and return to the main menu) instead caused the toggling of the configuration setting which was highlighted on the screen.
- The 1st camera I connected to the DVR did not work until I connected the 2nd camera, and then both cameras worked. I swapped the camera inputs on the DVR and still had an issue with one of the cameras. I suspect a suprisingly loose connection between the video cable and the DVR to be at fault. I stopped debugging the problem, though, once both cameras began working.
- There is no chart that explains what types of settings will lead to what kind of disk usage within the DVR. The retail box says it can record up to 2 years of video, but the fine print explains that is at the lowest frames-per-second (that is, 1 fps) and at the lowest video resolution possible. In other words, you're not going to get 2 years of recorded video from this unit! After a few days living with this system, I found that I could record a total of 20fps (among all 3 cameras combined, where all cameras are set to the highest quality resolution), and that uses about 7%/day of the hard disk space. So, in my installation, I'll get about two weeks' worth of recorded images before I begin overlaying the oldest images with newer images.

What Could Be BETTER:

- The camera's field-of-vision is very narrow, and there's no adjusting that. On the camera I installed outdoors, the field-of-vision 30 feet away is about the width of my double-wide driveway plus the mailbox.
- The zinc-plated hardware (wood screws) used to install the cameras will rust quickly outside, even if they're not directly exposed to the elements.
- There is no glitz when it comes to the menu user interface. It's like something out of 1980. Just white, block text...no icons, no graphics, no media bling at all.
- The tightening screw on the installed cameras (that applies pressure to the ball-and-joint of the stand) tends to keep the cameras from moving vertically out of place, but it still seems too easy to move the camera horizontally with a very light touch. I need to investigate this some more to ensure it's not "user error" though. The cameras themselves aren't moving out of place, but with a strong wind outside, I'll bet they would.

BACKGROUND: I already have a home monitoring system -- that is a much better deterrant than a 4-camera surveillance system. If all you're relying on is this system to protect your home or business, a burglar can easily haul off the Defender's DVR unit, leaving you empty-handed and without any video proof of the crime! But a surveillance system has many other uses and benefits. It's a great compliment to the measures you're already taking to secure your property. For instance, what ARE my kids doing while I'm not at home and they're home alone?!

INSTALLATION: As I said already, it really was easy. I mistakenly assumed I could connect the DVR to my computer and use my computer to do the setups. Afterall, the DVR has an Ethernet jack and it comes with an Ethernet cable. But you can't configure this DVR using your computer -- you *must* use either a TV or a monitor with an RCA-type video input. So, I moved the DVR from my computer desk over to the home theater armoire in the family room, and quickly connected it to my Samsung LCD TV. Right now, I've connected one camera atop my armoire, and another two outside my home overlooking my driveway, street, and walkway up to our front door.

Note for Northerners: The operating range for these cameras is 14°F ~ 140°F, so if you live in a part of the country that gets very cold in the wintertime (I don't!), this may be of concern to you if you plan on installing any of these cameras outdoors.

CONFIGURATION: Simple to do. Hit "Menu" on the remote control, and walk through each menu choice to make your selections. Hit "Menu" again after you make a configuration setting change, and "Menu" once more to update the settings on the DVR.

VIDEO QUALITY: Okay, don't expect to see anything approaching HD videos here! The live video feed is probably like TV's standard definition. The cameras struggle with most colors, like green, navy or dark blue. Other colors, like honey oak on our table, look good. Indoor lighting can get screwy if you're using a combination of different lighting equipment within the same camera's field-of-vision (for instance, my kitchen with fluorescent lighting in the foreground looks okay, but the background incandescent lighting in the dining room causes the walls to look faintly purple). By default, outside colors are awful. Tree leaves and the grass outside look gray-brown-purpleish using the camera's default settings. If you change the "hue" setting for cameras placed outdoors from the factory default 64% setting down to 40-50%, tree leaves and grass obtain an acceptable green color. Most everything tends to look washed out, but the objects you'll see in this video -- people or pets, for instance -- are easily recognizable. In other words, it's "good enough" to be useful, as you won't be using these video cameras to record baby's first steps! Recording at the "Highest" resolution setting won't be quite as good as the live video streaming. Lower resolution settings just make the recorded video look that much worse. My suggestion is to take some short video samples and see which resolution you can live with. Note: There is no audio feed coming from these cameras -- you only get video.

CONCLUSION: I've only had this system for less than a week, but I like it. It can help identify the goings-on around and inside my home. I'll continue to update this review until I decide whether I'll recommend it or not.

*** APRIL 27, 2010 UPDATE

Here's how this system helped solve a mystery for me. Yesterday, I left for work in a downpour. While backing out of my driveway, I ran over our garbage can which had been emptied by the city workers just a few minutes before! Why did I run over my garbage can? Did I not look behind me, before backing up? Did the city workers place the emptied trash can directly behind my vehicle? Later in the day, I watched the video and saw that the city workers had placed the emptied can at the corner of my driveway, but yesterday's storm blew over the can and pushed it directly behind my vehicle! There was no one to blame; it was a freak incident. The video explained exactly what happened. Pretty cool!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
I recently purchased this system directly from the vendor. Overall I feel that their customer service was just awesome. They were very knowledgeable about all systems and help me find the one that fits my needs. When I did purchase this unit, I was missing a power cable and they sent me one in 36 hours. I understand these things happen but they made good on their service.

Very easy system to install. No problems doing so. I am able to view my house from work and find that very comforting. So far I would reccomend this product or any other product from Defender (SVAT).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2010
I have purchased this unit directly from Defender and it arrived within a week. Installation was a breeze and it was easy to hide the wires as there is only one small wire for each camera going from the cameras connector to the connection on the DVR. I did put the cameras under the sill of my home protecting them from direct rain and snow and so far I have had no issues with them. I did have one camera mount that did not work properly when I received the system so I contacted Defenders customer support and I had a replacement mount in two days. I must say so far I am quite happy with my purchase and also with Defenders customer service.
Having been the victims of theft prior to installing this system, my wife and I feel better knowing that our home is being watched even while we are not there. This time if the theives return I will have video evidence for the police. Night vision works great, even better if you have a little extra ambiant light such as a low wattage porch light to help illuminate the area.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
UPDATE - The hard drive in the DVR died shortly after installation. After an internet search I realized that this is a very common problem. Easy to set-up and lots of nice features, but they need a more dependable hard drive.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Defender SN300 is a do-it-yourself home/office security system. It is very easy to install and really only requires a cordless drill. Overall installation can be done in 1-2 hours - in truth, it takes almost as much time learning the system and the menus as it does to do the installation.

Features -

- Nice crisp cameras
- Lots of control over frame rates, recording times, and video quality
- Ease of installation
- Very easy to cycle through the camera
- Everything you need is included - all of the cables are included!
- Defender did a great job organizing the box. Everything is positioned in a logical organized method - this may sound crazy but it does aid in the ease of installation.

Other notes-

- Not Mac compatible - so if you are going to connect the SN300 to your network you will need to borrow or use a PC
- The menu screen was a little slow - not much of a complaint
- While the SN300 is not complicated it may take a while to learn how to operate through the system.

Final Verdict- The SN300 is a excellent choice for homes and offices that need an easy to install security system. The cameras are crisp and the DVR has 2 years worth of memory so the SN300 is worthy of your consideration.

---Please Note - I received the SN300 from the manufacturer for reviewing purpose-------
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
This all-in-one video surveillance kit is decent for home security. Most other kits in this price range (as of this review date) offer higher-quality CCD cameras, smartphone support, FTP/e-mail alerts, and VGA/audio connections. I learned this the hard way after making an impulse buy. Oh well. I am happy with it so far though. I've used it for a day now continuously without any problems. The included CMOS cameras display decent-quality video but the color is very washed out - it's like black and white with a smudge of color here and there. With CCD cameras, that wouldn't be an issue. I do not recommend using the cameras outdoors - I've owned weatherproof cameras in the past, and these ones aren't, despite what the manufacturer says. The night vision is really neat and shows everything even in pitch dark. However, in night vision mode, the cameras will be very sensitive and will display small particulates like dust in the air, which can trigger motion recording. The motion recording works well, and the sensitivity seems nearly perfect. Note there is 60 fps SHARED amongst all 4 cameras. Using the max 60 fps at high quality will max out the storage quickly (in under a week). At only 4 fps per camera (16 fps total), at highest quality, the video motion is still fluid and you should be able to get about a month or more of footage (using motion detection instead of continuous recording). Using lower quality for recording is a waste of time since the resulting video will be very pixelated and blurry. The DVR unit is small and compact - very easy to conceal if necessary. It lacks a VGA display port and offers only BNC connections for input/output (with RCA plug adapters included). No audio support. The buttons on the DVR unit and on the remote are a bit flimsy but will work fine if you press them gently. I had high expectations for the USB-to-PC feature but it's not much different than the network feature; in both cases, you must run a special client software program to use the DVR remotely. Windows detects the DVR as a mass storage device, which is awesome. However, since the DVR uses an oddball storage system instead of a standard FAT or Ext2/3 file system, you can't access the video files directly. Therefore, you must use the special client program - you cannot use your own automated backup program. Backing up video content using the client software is a bit tedious since you are forced to playback the footage you want to back up, and then wait for the AVI conversion (which is DivX, by the way). The DVR runs in simplex mode, not duplex or triplex; this simply means that it can only do one thing at a time instead of offering simultaneous playback and recording. The built-in configuration setup menu is simple to follow. The networking setup is pretty straightforward. You can have an administrator and a regular user account, both with seperate passwords. You can also password-protect vital DVR functions. Hard drive prep is a breeze - the DVR unit formats it very quickly. You must format the entire drive if you want to delete any video from it, however - deletion of individual video events is not supported. What's great is that you can unplug the DVR, plug it back in later, and it resumes operation seamlessly. A power button would have been nice, though (geez!). All in all, this is good for home security use. If given another opportunity to buy something else, I would. But I'm content with settling with this product since it works very well and has good support, despite some drawbacks.

UPDATE (3 months later):
Experiencing some major glitches with the DVR unit. The case gets very warm and I suspect overheating. I also had the dreaded hard drive glitch where the unit would not detect the drive. After it cooled off for awhile, it began to work normally. Also, at times the motion detection will simply revert to continuously recording from a single camera, usually when I need it the most. A lot of footage was not recorded because of this. Another issue is the unit simply malfunctions at times, showing incorrect dates like "14/16/2133" and locking up. My overall experience has changed and I'm not very happy with this surveillance package anymore. It sickens me to realize that I've spent close to $500 for something that is of mediocre quality. The unit is still under warranty but based on other reviews I've read from people experiencing the same issues, it doesn't seem worth bothering with it. I removed the case from the unit to try to prevent any further overheating and time will only tell...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2010
At first this product started out working very well. I took the time to install the cameras in locations that would protect them in the weather. For example, cameras were installed under the overhangs of my house and under my elevated deck.

I had my first camera fail just under a month of installing this unit. It is understandable that users may get defective parts so I did not have a problem with that. The customer service was great and exchanged out the camera for a new one.

Shortly after, the DVR unit would randomly show a black screen with dates like "19/12/2199" and a time of all "99999" I performed a hard software reset hoping it would correct the issue but it did not. I contacted Defender again and they exchanged the DVR unit for what looks to be a new one. Sounds great but it took over a month for them to "test" it and confirm it was bad before returning it to me.

Now I have the same problem again with a new unit expecting I will be with out this expensive product again for at least another month.

Overall the customer service seems ok but the product is lacking. I have had this just over six months and it has only worked for three.

I understand that there are defects expected, this defect rate is to much for me. I have jumped through their warranty and will NOT RECCOMMEND this.

My credit card company will assist me in recovering my full purchase of this as I return it.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR MONEY.......
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I hate rating something low like this but sadly this Defender product earned this rating. I too ran into hard drive problems. I too had 2 cameras die due to them being used outside. I too struggled with trying to set up the remote networking part of the unit. Past that the software interface is ugly and awkward to use at best and the CMOS cameras (instead of more common CCD cameras) produced just decent quality video with off color (as others have reported).

What others haven't reported as much is how much the product lacks compared to the other popular brands of cam/dvr combos. I have used 4 brands now with this being the worst package and with the most failures of any of them. (It is also the newest!)

One thing to point out, is when shopping for these systems look at two very useful features. What is the quality of the cameras (including if the "outdoor" cameras really stand up to outdoor conditions) and how many feet the night vision works on as not all are equal. The second feature to make sure you look for is H.264 compression. This allows for maximum storage and less loss of quality which means you can record longer and the result will save better but you still need quality cameras. (The other two major points is overall failures and software/interface.)

I hope this information helps you with your purchases and I look forward to trying out an updated Defender product should they release a better quality package.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2012
I own a Defender SN300-4CH security system...for about a year and half but only used for the past six months. Camera problems have been a week after I installed cameras the one outside by my sun room went out after a thunder storm...Blown by one little storm...WOW!!! Second today 7/4/2012 my hard drive gave me a error reading No Hard Disk...well rebooted system and noticed on screen displayed NO HDD...So I did the next step which was to contact technical support via live chat...waste of time people really...anyways I decided to open up the box to get to the hard drive...disconnected the cables and replaced then powered up and it corrected the error...maybe by this it reset the hard drive not sure but it worked and took a total time of about 5 minutes...I am writing this in the case someone might be encountering this error and are being told to buy new unit...please be advise if your one year warranty is up you have nothing to loose...I was told to upgrade but being a stubborn Engineer I refused and corrected the problem myself...hope this helps some of you...God Bless

Troy...
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