Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Lorex LH018501C8F Vantage 8-Channel DVR with 8 Cameras (Black)
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VINE VOICEon June 12, 2013
Style Name: 4-Channel 4 Wired Camera DVR Kit|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
3.5 STARS

I presume that majority of users looking into a camera/DVR product are looking for a home surveillance system. A wired surveillance system, such as this Lorex, is impractical for large or multi-story homes. The 60ft cable included cables or even optional 120ft cables will not stretch/install easily around the average multi-story home. With the 60ft cables, I decided to install 2 cameras on the top level of my home to monitor the front of my home.

The setup is very simple. Each camera has a BNC male connector and a power male connector. The supplied cables have a BNC and Power cable coupled together. You connect the BNC cable to the desired port on the DVR and the other side to the camera. The power to all 4 cameras is supplied through a single power adapter that connects to a splitter. You connect the DVR to a monitor (not included) with a VGA adapter.

The power adapters for the DVR and the Camera are designed to be close to the location of the DVR.

Once the physical setup is complete, turn on the power and the split screen video comes on.

The video quality is good and bright. The colors, however, do not have the right color saturation - even after adjustment. The claimed 50ft vision range in pitch black is really about 25ft. The 480 TVL resolution cameras do not capture sufficient detail for useful surveillance past ~25ft. The range does improve in daylight (50-75ft) but the resolution is not sufficient for surveillance detail past ~50 feet. With my cameras being mounted at the top level of my home, my effective range was till about half my driveway. This is not sufficient for me! I do like the seamless transition from daylight to pitch-black - I did not have any dead/black spots in my recording. The cameras handled it well.

The menu is a little archaic, but functional. It took a few attempts, but I figured out the setup and network connections within a matter of minutes. The wi-fi connected instantly without issues (though it did pull an IP without my network password???) The mobile setup was a little more involved and I did not attempt any remote connectivity.

I will be looking into a wireless camera system like the Lorex Wireless Video Monitoring System (LW292). It provides the ability to setup cameras at your desired locations without ugly wiring running all over the place.

Would recommend for apartments or single-story homes.

PROS:
* Affordable surveillance system
* Picture quality is bright in low light or darkness
* Easy hardware setup
* Vandal resistant cameras
* Compact DVR
* Ability to output video on 3 monitors
* DVR can send notifications with optional motion sensor cameras
* Free mobile iOS, Android & Windows Mobile apps to access/control the DVR remotely
* Free mobile iOS, Android & Windows Mobile apps to get a live-view remotely
* Software supports Hard Disks upto 2TB - User upgradable
* Lots of accessories options

CONS:
* Wired camera system
* Camera range is not sufficient to identify subject past 50ft in daylight and 25ft at night
* Archaic, slightly difficult to use software
* Color reproduction not accurate
55 comments| 97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 4, 2013
This is my 2nd Lorex system, the first one just flat out died about 6 years of owning it. I figured it ran it's course and thought I'd buy another system, also by Lorex, in hopes of having extra cameras. Unfortunately, they decided to change the connectors, so I had to dump the entire old system. I let that one go, in hopes that the "new" technology would be better - I was wrong. I installed the new cameras, setup the system and found many things that would cause me to return the whole system, but it's too much of a headache to breakdown, so I'm settling...

1. Per Amazon advertising: "Connects to 3G/4G or WiFi Network"... I call B.S. on this. This was the main reason I got it because I thought the unit had capability to connect to the house WIFI, since my system is in the garage and I didn't have to route a cable to it. The truth is that it only connects via a cable and what they are referring to is that once you connect the box to the router, you can then download an app to your phone to view your monitors on 3g/4g... I would have immediately crossing this system off my list had I known that going into it. Again this is something I can get past, but it's more of a headache than anything.

2. Nighttime vision: This is where the cameras have gone backwards in development!!! The cameras of 6 years ago had such strong IR LEDs that they cameras literally had an ominous red glow to them at night and the nighvision was pretty good. These do NOT glow red and they barely have any capability to see at night unless there's something directly in front of the camera at 10-20 ft. I realize IR is not supposed to glow, but whatever type of LEDs they had in those old cameras, the red glow doubled as a great deterrent to anyone looking at the house at night (while they were being filmed).

3. Playback capability: This is BY FAR the worst feature of this system. The last system I had (again - by the SAME company), had a very simple timeline to highlight all the recorded events of the day. You just clicked on the event and played it. On this system, it displays some calendar on the screen and you have to make a request to for which day you want to search the DVR. Then, it breaks it down into only half hour increments saying that an event (even if it was a minute long) was recorded during that half hour. Then to watch it, you have to browse thru the whole half hour. It's horrible... I can only hope that once I have the unit hooked up to the internet, the web browsing capability is where the company spent it's resources rather than the user interface directly on the DVR itself.

Would I recommend this unit to a friend? No, I'd point them to other companies at this point.
Would I return this unit if I wouldn't have to remove all of the cameras and remove all of the cables? Absolutely.
33 comments| 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 22, 2014
I bought this system and immediately had problems with it. The cameras and dvr did not work properly. I called customer support and was told the wait time would be 15 minutes. So, I turned on the speaker on my phone and waited. The wait was 45 minutes long. The technical support person did not know much about the system. She kept referring to her computer and gave me information that was in the installation booklet. I will never buy a Lorex product again. Don't waste your money or your time with this company. The customer support is horrible. I called two times and had to wait long periods of time just to get a technician how knew nothing. If you decide to buy from Lorex, all I can say is good-luck.
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on December 15, 2013
UPDATE 20 Dec 2013. After nearly two weeks of frustration I was finally able to talk to a tech support technician. To make a long story short and to summarize, he basically agreed that the product documentation/manual information on how to set the system up for remote viewing was garbage. Turns out I had managed to forward my ports which he was able to confirm from his end so that was not the issue. Fixing my problem was actually simple. If you are sitting at your house with your WiFi up and running you first look at your DVR settings and make sure you know what IP address your DVR is using. For example say your DVR IP is set to 192.168.2.5. It is important to note that your local IP address is your private non-routable IP address you use for your home network which is not to be confused with your public IP address that is assigned by your ISP that allows you to connect to the Internet. Type your DVR's IP address into the URL window in your browser such as: [...] for example. when you click the return button you will most likely get a blank page which was what was holding me up. Then in your browser menu click on Tools and look for "Compatibility View Settings" and click on that. This will open up another small window. You should see your IP address in the small box that says "Add this website". If not type in your DVR IP address and click add. Once you do that you will be prompted to enter your login info. If you have not changed your default login settings just click the login button. If you have changed your default settings (which you should eventually after you get things up and running correctly) then enter your username and password and then login. You should be able to see your cameras.
Note: if you are trying to connect from a remote site away from your home such as from your work computer you will need to type in your public IP address -- the one your ISP has assigned you that I mentioned earlier. Keep in mind this is a dynamic address which may change. A simple quick way to find out your public IP address while you are at home is to go to Google and search for What is my IP. Click an appropriate link from the search possibilities and you'll see your public IP address (you can also use a command prompt and type ipconfig /all). You will use this address in your browser to view your cameras from your work computer at the office or whatever.

I've raised my opinion of the product to two stars but no more because regardless how good the hardware may be the product is useless if the documentation does not provide the information needed to set it up. NONE of the information the customer support technician told me and/or used to get this thing working correctly was documented in the manual.

I purchased a Lorex system directly from Lorex because the 8 channel unit with wireless cameras was not available through Amazon. Although my Lorex model is not the exact system as the one available at this Amazon location, Lorex uses the same tools to setup and configure this product as the one I have so my review from that perspective is relevant. I apologize for the length and will update if I eventually figure this thing out before I get so frustrated that I send it back. Meanwhile I wanted to warn customers of potential problems if you choose to buy this product.

The main reason I wanted a camera surveillance system was the capability to log in from a remote location such as while I'm on vacation to ensure everything is ok back at home. On paper, the system seems really great. However, the reality of getting it to work can be somewhat challenging which may be an understatement.

The hardware, including cameras, seem to be of good quality and work great. But, in order to view your cameras via a remote pc or mobile device you have to first configure port forwarding using the provided configuration tool. If you are lucky it may work great and you are on your way. If not so lucky you may be faced with an ordeal similar to mine as follows: (keep in mind I'm giving you more details than perhaps necessary just to show you a true picture of the frustrations you may be faced with.)

I unpacked everything and noted that it comes with all cables you will need to connect everything. Initial setting up of the cameras and DVR is easy. Screw the base to the camera, attach the antenna, and plug it in to an 110v outlet (the wireless camera still needs power to work. The wireless part means you don't need to run cables from the DVR to the camera.) Next, connect the DVR to the router your Internet Service Provider gave you via the provided Cat 5 Ethernet cable. After that attach the antenna to the receiver (each camera needs a receiver to pick up the wireless signal from the camera), plug in the ac adapter to a 110v power source, and plug in the RCA jack to the channel of your choice on the DVR. The cameras and receivers come pre-paired with each other from the factory which is a nice touch. No need to do any pairing unless for some reason they lose the pairing. There are instructions in the troubleshooting guide on how to fix that by re-pairing the camera/receiver if needed. Lastly, connect the DVR to a monitor or TV of your choice via the supplied HDMI cable, DVI, or RCA jacks. Once the cameras and receivers are all plugged in and connected to the DVR which is connected to your TV/monitor you can power the DVR and you should see the view from your cameras nicely displayed on your monitor.

Next, you wade through the 138 page manual you got from the Lorex DVD that came with your system to configure all the recommended settings such as the time, etc. Again, this is fairly straightforward. Now comes the hard part --setting up the DVR for remote connectivity.

First, the manual said to make sure I can view the DVR via the LAN or client software for the pc which is on the enclosed DVD. I followed the instructions closely to make sure I was doing everything right. After ensuring my DVR was connected via the Ethernet cable to my router, they said to browse through the DVR settings (remember, this thing is already up and running for viewing on my TV) and note the DVR IP address and http port. Next open a browser - make sure you use the 32 bit version of IE because it doesn't support the 64bit version - and enter the ip address and port like this: [...] for example. You're supposed to then get a prompt to install ActiveX plug-in which did not happen. I try going to that socket (an IP address plus a port is a socket) anyway for grins and got nothing. Blank page. Maybe that's a good thing since Active X is dangerous security-wise. So, no luck with this part. Next, I tried the other method of installing the Lorex Client 11. That did work and I can see my DVR and camera views on my PC. Hurray!

I'm encouraged so now I go on to the next phase of setting this thing up so I can see it over the Internet. The instructions say in bold print, "To set up remote connectivity with your DVR, you must: 1) Port forward the HTTP, Client, and Mobile ports (default 80, 9000, and 1025) on your router to your DVR's IP address. 2) Create a DDNS account. 3) Enable DDNS on the DVR. 4) Test the remote connection by entering your DDNS address in a web browser. " Phew!

It doesn't tell you at this point but you have to set up DDNS first which is fairly easy. Had no problems with that. Basically they want you to register for your warranty and they provide a link to set up DDNS when you do that.

Now for the show stopper - port forwarding which if you can't get it to work, you're hosed.

You install and run the "Lorex Easy Connect Auto Port Forwarding Wizard" which is very ironic in that it would actually be easy if it actually worked. In a nutshell It's supposed to run a diagnostic to find your routers; you select the correct version from a dropdown box if it's not already there; input your DVR IP and ports you want to forward; click the button to update the router; and finally click another button to test it. Good luck getting that far without errors. Note: the product seems to favor Linksys routers in that it may recognize and configure that brand automatically without issue. (I'm supposed to trash my Belkin and buy a Linksys?)

Backtracking a bit for more details of my ordeal. You install the wizard from the DVD. Ensure you have the most current version and update if needed. Clicking the Start button sends you on your way. It first does a diagnostic to find your router or routers if you have more than one -- or it thinks you do. Therein lies the first problem. If it thinks you have more than one router you have to fix that problem if you can actually figure out how. I have my ISP provided ARRIS brand router and I also have a Belkin router I use for my WiFi. The port forwarding wizard noted I had two routers and said I had to configure one of them in a DMZ before I could continue. Keep in mind that as detailed as this is I'm actually skipping a lot of stuff. I danced around that issue all day Saturday trying this and that to get it to work without success.

Adding insult to injury. The configuration wizard is actually an application from a 3rd party called pcwintech.com which has a hot link on the wizard tool that invited me to go to the pcwintech website for more information. I did, was really tired by then, and while browsing the forums there managed to fast click on a link that immediately downloaded and installed a tool bar I did not want and hijacked my browser to a search engine I did not want either. Now I had to spend time uninstalling that and run scans to see what malware may have come with it because I assumed I most likely managed to pick up a Trojan. Great. Fortunately, I was able to uninstall the toolbar and my anti-virus tools did not pick up anything else. Nevertheless, what a great way to anger and frustrate someone trying to find help using a provided link embedded in the product.

Next morning on Sunday I called my ISP tech support to see why I was getting an invalid IP address error when I tried putting my number 2 router in the DMZ. I mean we're talking about a standard private class C 192.168.x.x IP address. After remoting into it he discovered there were some errors in the default configuration from the factory that should have been changed before it was issued to me. He fixed that and the next time I ran the port forwarding wizard I was optimistic things would finally work. Not so. The wizard now found only one router which is my Belkin but low and behold my specific Belkin model is not listed in the available choices from the drop down list. I tried selecting one just one version number off from mine but it would not configure with the wizard. Guess it's got to be the exact one because the router update would not complete without errors. Or, I've overlooked or misconfigured something else.

So now I'm at a stalemate. I very cautiously go back to Pcwintech.com out of pure desperation and the webmaster invites me to send screenshots of every single page of my router configuration via a very complicated method for him to add my router to a future updated list but do you think I'm going to trust this guy with screenshots of my network configuration via an insecure link (http vs https) especially after a link on his website installed that toolbar and hijacked my browser? No. I think not. Even if I did, I wonder how long before the configuration tool would be updated so I could find my router in the list? Days? Weeks? Months?

Last resort is to call Lorex tech support which is the first thing I would have done if they were open on Sat or Sun. (Plus I'm 5 time zones away from them.) I will try and hopefully perhaps a technician there can get me through this. Otherwise everything goes back into the box and back to them for a refund. I'm tired of messing with something that should be fairly simple to configure with adequate instructions. I mean, c'mon I was able to configure my Cisco Pix 515 firewall after a few minutes reading a book I have on Cisco firewalls from Cisco Press. How hard can it be to set up a surveillance system? Apparently very.

In summary, it may be a great product for anyone able to get it to work. However, the documentation regarding the most crucial part of the setup required for viewing the product over the Internet just plain stinks as a few other's have also said.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2014
I bought this system 3 years ago. My philosophy was always "rather have one and not need one, than need one and not have one." 3 years sailed by, no issues or injuries, no possible lawsuits.... until a few weeks ago. Sometimes a lawsuit can live or die by what is shown on security footage, and when I needed it most, the files were corrupted and lost! The customer support had me on the phone for over 2.5 hours trying EVERY troubleshooting technique under the sun, with no results. Said they would kick it up to their next level of tech support and get back to me. A few days later I got an email saying that my "ticket" was going to close and the issue had been resolved. NOPE! I called again, very upset but still more than willing to be civil and figure out the answer to this problem. They told me to take it to a third party data recovery company (not a specific one, just in general) and that is all they could do. They told me that my data was likely gone and that they were very sorry... fantastic.

My advice? Spend the extra money on something that WILL WORK, because you might have to risk your entire business on it.
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on August 1, 2013
This has to be one of the worst products I have ever purchased. The hardware works very well but the software to run the cameras and the DVR is complete crap. The application for remote viewing on the mobile device would stop working every other hour. You would have to keep logging back in and inputting the configurations. That is when the app is working. NOW for the web access using the installed application which is provided in the package. The first few days it worked fine. After I had called the customer service 6 times to configure as the instructions were not clear. NOW, the application would not let log back in. No idea what is wrong and neither does the customer care. What a complete piece of crap. DO NOT BUY.
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on June 24, 2013
Style Name: 4-Channel 4 Wired Camera DVR Kit|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My husband and I have been considering a security system for some time and when offered the Lorex Vantage 4-Channel DVR with 4 Cameras, I was very excited.

I left the installation up to my husband. He's a perfectionist with a engineer's mind so he read the instruction manual thoroughly, twice - making sure he understood the precise steps he was to follow. And, yet, still he became frustrated. To put it in his words, "A chimpanzee could have written clearer instructions!" But, in the end, he figured it out and the system was installed about about five hours (give or take).

So next in line was actually using the system. Beginning with daylight hours, the picture was extremely clear and crisp - very high quality. But as dusk turned to dark, the quality of the picture became less quality; not horrible but definitely not as clear as that with sun aiding it. Let me put it this way: daytime pic, you could identify the someone or "something" you're view; nighttime, you'd just know "it" was there.

As to viewing via smartphone... just fine. Picture quality as I described above but app works beautifully with the system.

Lorex is a good system for the price paid but don't expect to get the same quality as you do from higher priced systems. It's still more than good enough to make a person feel secure in knowing what is going on "out there" especially in comparison to having nothing at all.
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on August 16, 2013
Have had this installed for about 3 weeks now. Had to call technical support to get set up. Once you go through the 1/2 hour of pushing buttons on the phone and getting ahold of someone, they are knowledgeable and helpful. The camera quality is just ok, and installing is as you would expect...wire and hook up. My ability to see the cameras on my smartphone stopped, and after 4 attempts to call someone to get it fixed..I was cut off. It takes a VERY long time to get ahold of someone for tech support. SO..if you like me and would need help configuring it...beware...not very happy with their customer support. Good luck
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on August 1, 2013
Value? Outstanding. The functionality of what you get for the (sale) price is outstanding. Four wired cameras 60+ feet in length, tons of settings including alarm with definable frame setting (e.g. just highlighting the door in the picture and not the entire view of a single camera) that trips when movement is detected and takes a still photograph that can be emailed anywhere, the ability to access on your local network via computer or phone or remotely via DDNS, high quality images as far as color and contrast that see better in the dark in color (until very dark then switches to black and white) than the human eye, everything you need in the box safely shipped.

BUT . . . there goes four days of my life I'll never get back. The incredibly difficult networking setup (not the camera installs but the networking settings) make it accessible when THE SCRIPT THAT CAME WITH THE SOFTWARE DIDN'T WORK AS DESCRIBED/PROGRAMMED brought me enormous frustration. Add to that the fact that all the cords are double-wrapped in plastic so they are easy to cut by accident even when being careful and that the box (most likely done by marketing) shows an incorrect camera orientation so after they were all installed I had to reorient every one of them 180 degrees.

So, 5 star value and functionality with 2 star networking problems (even though the instructions were fairly good the software was not) brought this down a notch to 4 stars.
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on February 20, 2014
It was a good thing we checked the system before installation. One camera is not working, found out that the video cable is shorted internally. Just so happen that I only need 10 feet on one of them, so we decided to cut and by chance found the short near the molded Y junction. Cut/resoldered/insulated/shielded and tested - ok this time. Took 6 hours to install the camera and hide the cable. After that, takes only 2 minutes to install the smart phone apps. Instruction sheet is well designed. Even a novice can follow the procedure. Picture quality not bad for the price of this model. Of course a more expensive camera is also available. For a novice or just starting a business - This is a great investment.
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