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164 Reviews
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170 of 177 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only docking a star for camera quality - easy to setup/use/monitor
I have been using this system now for over 6 months. It has never crashed, and has actually saved me in a legal matter. A major delivery company delivered 3 laptops to my home, leaving them on my porch - except they really only delivered 2! Caught on tape! BAM, no problem getting that claim paid extremely quickly.

The set up of the dvr is not entirely...
Published 21 months ago by Candace Strickler

versus
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent System for Price Minor Security Problem
I bought this system mainly because of its price and the decent reviews across the web of the company. It is not a high end system but it will do for regular home surveillance. I tested the product out of the box and everything I tested worked fine. The cameras came on and the DVR was functional. (did not test the system over the internet) The IR is not the best...
Published 23 months ago by theguardianii


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its a great security system, December 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Night Owl Security STA-84 Night Owl Security 8 Channel STA DVR with 4 Night Vision Cameras 500 GB HD and Smartphone Viewing, 30-Feet (Electronics)
It was easy to set up just connect the cable and there you go, you have a fully functional security system. You can see the images clearly and the night vision works great too. Reason why I gave it a 4 star was because to set it up on my Iphone and Pc was really confusing and i couldn't get in contact with customer service but after many try and fail i finally got it and I'm please with the results.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manage your expectations and you'll be happy., September 5, 2013
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This review is from: Night Owl Security STA-84 Night Owl Security 8 Channel STA DVR with 4 Night Vision Cameras 500 GB HD and Smartphone Viewing, 30-Feet (Electronics)
I installed my DVR, and 2 out of the 4 cameras over the Labor day weekend. The biggest pain about the install for me was crawling in my attic to run the cables - I actually had to recruit my 10 year old to crawl into some cramped places for me. I've had those two cameras running for about 4 days now, and am getting familiar with the system. I plan to mount the other two cameras this next weekend.

In a nutshell, for the price, this appears to be a pretty decent system based on my experience. I'm happy with it so far. But then, that's because I had a pretty good idea of what to expect - and what not to expect - for the money I was spending on it.

A little background - from 2002 to 2005, I worked for a company that sold professional surveillance camera systems that cost from $3k on up to tens of thousands. While I didn't work with/on the camera's directly, I got to spend quite a bit of time playing with them. So I didn't expect much from a sub $300 system, even though it's 8 years later. However, this little system easily matches and exceeds the "low end" systems my company was selling back then. So I'm getting more than I expected - which, so far, makes me happy with it.

General comments

- These cameras do suffer from the Woods Effect, in terms of color of vegetation. But that's ok with me, I'm more interested in what they see moving around, than in the color they render them in. Any system in this price range is likely going to have the same drawback. The $3k systems 8 years ago had this issue, too. Color balance indoors while I was testing was much, much better.

- I have a couple motion activated lights around my house, and I was concerned about how the lights kicking on/off would affect the transition between day/night modes on the camera. Now, my camera's aren't pointed right at the light, so I've been happy - there is a noticeable transition, but it doesn't affect what I can see. However, the light kicking on/off does trip the motion capture of the DVR on it's default of 4. I just tried lowering it to 3 to see how that affects things.

- night vision is good, quite usable out to about 15-20ft or so. They say 30', and I think technically it does extend out that far, but between where my current cameras are mounted, what I expect out of them, and their resolution, the 30' isn't something that matters to me. If you truly need good resolution of a night vision camera out to 30', look for a more expensive system/camera that will range out to 40-60'

- Camera resolution is not going to grab the license plate number off a car pulling into my driveway, but at least I can tell types of cars apart. Again, I didn't expect them to be any better than they are.

- Setting up the port forwarding was pretty simple for me. But then, I do that for industrial equipment as part of my job. Setting up port forwarding is as much art as it is science - there are simply so many manufacturers and providers of modems and routers out there that it's going to be hard for any company to give explicit 100% accurate instructions. In this case, Night Owl provides more than enough documentation that even the most novice network person should be able to contact their Cable/DSL modem provider or router manufacturer for help. Why not recommend Night Owl for help with that? Because it's not a function of their equipment, it's a function of the router or modem - which is not a part of this system.

- I ran into two issues while setting up the mobile applications on my phone and tablet, one minor, one very frustrating but ultimately simple to solve. For android phones/tablets at least, Night Owl provides two different apps - Lite and Pro. Each app is aimed at a different series of their DVRs. Make sure you're using the one for your DVR. Second issue is after you get the mobile setup done in the DVR, it appears you must reboot it before they'll actually take effect. I spent a good hour trying all sorts of various things when finally my common troubleshooting sense kicked in and I thought "Before I contact their service, I haven't rebooted it, I wonder if that will do it?". Lo and behold, it did.

- a couple of days after I had it running on my laptop and my phone/tablet, I went to install the Netviewer program on the CD ROM on my desktop in my home office. Unfortunately, the CD-ROM drive on my desktop decided to take a crap on me, and I couldn't load it from the CD-ROM. "No worries," I thought, "I'll just go grab the program from their website." That proved to be a mistake - one, I couldn't download just the one program I wanted, I had to download an entire zip file of stuff. Two, it wasn't exactly clear that zip file actually had the program I wanted in it. And finally, three, it turns out that the version of Netviewer on their website was not the same as the one on the CD-ROM, which took me a couple of hours to sort out. I was finally able to install it by transferring the install program from another laptop I installed it on to a USB drive, and installed it on my desktop from there.

- I made sure to install the DVR in a place where it shouldn't over heat and will get some decent airflow. From my years of experience as a technician, and specifically from my years working for the company who sold camera systems, DVRs are prone to heat related failures. The less expensive a system is, the less it will have in terms of cooling. Make sure you factor that into your installation.

- I made sure to measure out where my cameras were going to go, and ordered a 75' and a 100' cable extra. Turns out I probably could have done without the 100 - your situation will vary - but if you think you may need them, I highly recommend picking the cables up and having them on hand before you start your install - especially if you have to crawl through a hot, dark attic full of insulation like I did.

- I was hoping to be able to handle all of the settings of the DVR from the Netviewer interface, because my monitor is my TV, and it sits a good 20' and two rooms away from where the DVR is located. That's not the case - some settings require the mouse driven menu on the DVR itself. I've ordered a 32' Active USB cable to see if I can use the mouse that way. If not, I'll have to drag up one of my PC monitors from the basement to plug in to the DVR temporarily.
UPDATE: the 32' active USB extension cable works just fine. However, it turns out that there is very little in the direct interface that can't be done with the netviewer program.

- someone else mentioned, and I'll second it - try and mount the cameras out of reach if you can. The video/power cables are exposed, which leaves them vulnerable to someone with a pair of wire snips. I have a one story ranch, so I have several cameras where this is going to be an issue. However, by the time I'm done getting these four cameras up, and the next four cameras after that, I should have mine covered in such a way that at least one camera will catch something if someone tries to start snipping things.

- I have not set up the email feature, and I probably won't. I know from past experience that the lower end systems tend to flood your inbox with useless emails because they're too sensitive, or not send any at all because they're not sensitive enough. I _might_ set it up should I go on vacation and turn it off when I get back.

- at this point, I haven't had to contact Night Owl for any help, so I can't comment on their service. I did email them to tell them about my issue with the website and the Netviewer program. I haven't heard back from them on that, but then my email was worded in such a way that it was obvious I was contacting them for their benefit, not mine, and as such, didn't really expect a reply.

Obviously, I can't report on it's long term durability right now, as I've only had it in for four days, but at this point, I'm happy, and I foresee no major issues.

If you're thinking about a camera system, this one seems pretty good - but make sure it matches your expectations. If you need or want true color outdoor, high resolution, high security, extended night vision range, etc, be prepared to spend a lot more than this. If you're just looking for something to deter the neighborhood kids from cutting through your yard, and monitoring the UPS/FedEx drivers dropping off your packages, it will work just fine for you.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great little system, December 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Night Owl Security STA-84 Night Owl Security 8 Channel STA DVR with 4 Night Vision Cameras 500 GB HD and Smartphone Viewing, 30-Feet (Electronics)
This system does just as advertised! After reading some of the mixed reviews I was hesitant to buy it, but did. Initial setup was a breeze. Plug things in, turn things on, everything works. DVR setup was equally simple. I had to call tech support when I couldn't get my Verizon wireless gateway to accept the port forwarding. I waited about 10 minutes on hold, was 3rd in line. The lady tech had my modem tweaked in no time and went on to set up the remote features. I fought with IE for a while, then just installed Night Owl's software. I was instantly controlling and seeing everything from a remote location using my laptop. On a whim I got the Nite Owl Lite app for iPod touch and within a couple of minutes I could see and control the cams from my pod. Pic quality in daylight is great, total darkness shows up bright. Five stars for this one and their tech support.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for., June 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Hook up is really simple, just plug and play, The picture quality is not what I expected, color is terrible, but you can still make out the image, night vision is really not working for me. I guess it will have to do for now. Spend the extra money and get a quality unit. This is an average unit at best. Hope this helps.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Web interface requires active x controls and incorrect sales infomation, December 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted a new DVR because my old one required old versions of Internet Explorer and a active X plugin. I was curious about this model since it claims to support IE and Safari. No mention of Firefox or Chrome? I called their sales and was assured it would run in any browser including Chrome with no plugins needed. I should have second guessed ANY browser. By any browser they mean any Internet Explorer browser and Safari if you download a OSX dmg file. Chrome on Linux prompts to download said dmg file. I called their tech support just to be sure, they claimed Internet Explorer was required to do anything.

Also they have a service where to set up web access you must registrar some sub domain on their website. Why is this needed? What if they shutdown? I don't want any of my private security footage in any way connected to their website!
* Update, please note it IS possible to use the desktop application to view on LAN. After reviewing other products I can see the reason for this site. It's to make it easier to set up if you don't know how to get a public IP address. Obviously this is a consumer focused product. Still it seems reasonable they could just allow you go to a LAN website and have it just work without hassle.

The hardware seems fine, but I'm returning it due to the poor software it comes with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job!, March 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Easy to install and does a great job for basic home security. Good value, good quality. The 60 ft. camera feeds were ample, however, I needed one longer feed (100 ft) which I purchased on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, so far.., November 10, 2013
By 
Theresa Perez (WINTERS, CA, US) - See all my reviews
We purchased this late October 2013 and installed the camera system/DVR right away. This part was easy and straight forward. We had to purchase a KVM switch to switch from the computer to monitor on the desk top, but this is due to having an older monitor. The hard part was getting to view the camera on the iPad and iPhone. After numerous tries on our own, we just called tech support and it was done in 5-10 minutes. The quality of camera viewing is fine for what this purchase is/price is. It is the lowest grade of camera, but it serves the purpose well in day and night. I mean, we all know grass is green, not purple right? What matters is the view of vehicles and people are clear. We have only had this for 1/2 month, so I will update if necessary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Night Owl Security, November 5, 2013
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horrible cameras but dvr is ok. bought this for customer and he had better cameras before i had to take these down and buy others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unstable unit faulty cable and camera, October 15, 2013
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I knew for the money this had to come with issues. During installation found that 1 camera and 1 cable doesn't work. The dvd unit it's self will lose video if desk it is on is slightly bumped you then have to work with the cable to the monitor to restore the video the same goes for the camera connections. I have emailed support asking about replacing camera and cable with no response thus no support.
You get what you pay for but this is worthless.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the money!, January 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very easy setup. Couldn't really get any easier really. I ordered this for an older family member that just wants something around the house. When I compared prices of various systems, it appeared that getting 8 camera/8 channel gave the best bang for the buck compared to 4 cam/4channel. Everything was packaged nicely and easy to distinguish. We had plenty of wire for each camera so they could be mounted where needed.

I'd recommend this!
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