on March 10, 2012
You are basically paying for a decent DVR. You will have to replace the cameras if you are looking to use them in low light. They are fine if you would like to use them in an area with good lighting. I have these cameras setup outside around my house and I have replaced 4 so far (4 more to go). The IR on these cameras is not very good as it causes interference lines due to the low light, which, in turn causes the motion detecting to be constant. So, If you are trying to use the record on motion capabilities to avoid recording all the time you will still end up recording all night. Oh, and although you can access the DVR from an iphone, I have not yet been able to access the the DVR from my MAC, but it does work great on a PC.
This Zmodo Surveillance System works well for my needs and is also a great deal. We own the Zmodo Surveillance System with 8 Weatherproof IR Cameras PKD-DK0865-NHD and added our own 500 GB Hard Drive, making it identical to this package (same cameras, cables, and DVR).
To be perfectly clear, this is not a high-end system with high definition cameras, but it isn't priced like a high-end system either. This is a budget system that exceeded my expectations for what you get and how well it works. Here are my observations:
Our Use - We recently bought an old but very large building for my wife's business and needed a way to monitor the six exits and the retail shop space.
* Main Control Unit - this is a fairly small unit (smaller than most DVD players) that is has button access for most functions
* 8-Cameras - these are also fairly small, good physical quality and include mounting hardware
* USB Mouse - connects to Control Unit
* Remote Control - gives access to all menu functions (batteries included)
* Required Cables - 60' Video/Power cables
* Power Supplies - one for the Control Unit and one for the cameras (uses splitters to distribute the power between the cameras)
* Instruction Manual
* Software CD
+ Camera; IR Illumination for night vision
+ User configurable Options; Privacy Zones (blackout areas in the display), Motion Zones (areas where motion triggers an alarm)
+ Network Access; Can be viewed on local network using Internet Explorer (required allowing ActiveX and would not work with Firefox) and remotely via a DDNS service (often an extra expense for a reliable service)
+ Alarm Notification; Audible alert and E-Mail capability
+ Display Options; Includes a VGA monitor connection and BNC/video out for TV viewing
+ Remote Control; Really makes it easy to quickly access features
+ Setup; Basic configuration is surprisingly easy
+ Image Quality; Good enough for basic security needs in both bright and dark settings (but see "Cons" below)
+ Value; Lots of cameras and features at a reasonable cost
+ Options; Can be made to do everything we need it to do
- Washed Out Colors; Colors are somewhat muted, but can be individually adjusted in the controls to get the best possible picture for the lighting conditions
- Night Vision; Limited range, less than 20'
* Alarmed Events can be recorded and searched on later
* A 500GB Hard Drive can record 165 hours of video on this system
* Placing a camera too close to a window will cause the IR to reflect and blind the camera when it shifts into night vision mode
* Display can be set to show 1, 4, or 8 video feeds at a time
This system covered my needs very well and provides a lot of advanced features that were unexpected in a budget system.
on February 16, 2012
This is the second unit I bought, first one was bought for my cousin as Xmas gift.
Pros: The dvr is nice looking and the cameras are small(I prefer not to scare my guests away). Images are clear during the day. I got every thing set up in about 6 hours ( 4 hours of wiring work ). Installation is not for everyone but not hard. Spent 40 mins on the phone with their tech to setup the network viewing. I got a road runner turbo plus with 2M/s upload speed which is great for it. I was able to view them thru my ipad and android phone.
Cons: The instruction book is really hard to understand, especially the part for network setup (have to call the tech support). The actual night vision distance is about 10-15 feet.(Only B&W) Overall, decent unit for the money.
on August 15, 2012
I bought this as a cheap system to monitor my house while away at work and out of town. I set up 7 of the 8 camera, all of which seem fairly durable and are easy to mount. The mounting screws that come with the package are fairly short, so I went through a local hardware store and bought some longer ones. The metal mounting bases are sturdy for being a cheaper grade of aluminum, so you can damage them if you're not careful. I don't really like the plastic knob on the arm for the adjustment but none of them have failed or stripped out or broken yet. I have 5 of my 8 cameras set up outside my house, and through 3 rains I haven't had any issues with the signals or the images, even with some of the wiring being exposed to the elements. I will say that the night function on the cameras is not that good so if you're trying to catch people doing things in the night time, make sure there is ample lighting for the camera to see. The motion recording is very easy to set up, letting you mask areas of view from being motion detected and only recording when motion is detected. The DVR is simple, compact and easy to set up, the only real issue, like most people that I had was getting it hooked to my network. If you have an IPhone, there is a FREE program called. ZViewer, it lets you view up to 4 cameras at a time, regretfully not all 8 like some of them, it does have a PTZ(pan tilt zoom) control feature and even lets you save snapshots from each camera to your camera roll. It does lack the ability to control the DVR remotely, but it funtions well and switched well between the camera channels. Overall for the price I would say this is a great buy for someone looking to keep an eye on their house/yard/vehicles, and it fairly easy to set up. I do like the fact the camera cables were all 60 feet in length, which let me set up views around my entire house without having to buy any extra cables. It would be nice if they included 2 20foot cables, 4 60 foot cables and 2 100+ foot cables, but that's where they're gonnna get their extra money. I did speak with the ZMODO customer service trying to get my network access up and when I did get connected the 2 times, both people were friendly and helpful, and got me going in a jiffy. The DVR is also smart enough to let you name each camera channel, I named them for locations they are pointing at for ease of use and memory for me and my wife. I have had it up for about 2 weeks and no camera has come undone, flickered(even after putting a staple partially through one cable), lost signal, or even moved.
All in all, I would recommend this product. One last thing, the kit does come with a mini mouse for use with the system, but no keyboard, so you have to use the mouse to type each password, setting or re-naming takes a little while, I don't know if a USB keyboard will work being hooked to the DVR but the mouse works fine.
on December 28, 2011
Recently installed this in our home. Everything works as described and gives us peace of mind. One camera we hooked up did not work. After contacting a representative of the company this problem was very quickly resolved. We had a new camera in just a couple of days. We have had a good bit of bad weather and these cameras have held up very well. There are several setting that would be suitable for almost anyone.
on October 13, 2012
I bought this for a friend who lives off the grid. She lives miles from anyone and was without any security other than her dogs. A couple of observations:
1. The one thing you may not think about until it is too late, is the aesthetics of the system. This is true with any wired system. You have eight cameras with eight wires that have to make their way to the DVR. While you could run the wires wild and get the same effect, I wanted to make this system look good. In my case, I have always done my own electrical, so I ran all the wires behind walls, through the studs and into new junction boxes. After a day and a half, all you see are the cameras, all the wiring is behind the walls. I can not imagine the system with all the wires exposed...something to think about vs. the new wireless systems they have now.
2. When it came to hooking the system up-that part was easy. It was not without its issues, but you just have to read the directions. When I bought the system, on the Amazon sale site, it says you get 8 60' camera cords. In my case, it came with 4 100 footers, 2 60" and 2 50" cords. I wish I knew that in advance because I ordered some extra 100' cords, not realizing they were already included. Also, there was not connection to a monitor, so I had to by my own VGA cable ($15). The mouse that comes in the box is so cheap that I needed to replace it- I guess it worked ok but good grief!
3. Overall, I am satisfied. You do get what you pay for- the cameras work good, night vision was good and with some ambient light, like a 25 watt bulb in the area, even better. I am amazed that for less than $300 you can get eight cameras and a continuous loop DVR with a removable disk. Costs me half of that to fill by gas tank up- so pretty good value.
You can pay more, I was going to get the Lorex, but without seeing the more expensive system side by side, I guess I have nothing to compare it with. The Lorex would have cost me twice as much and this system seems to be a good value; worked well right out of the box.
on August 4, 2015
I bought this in 2012 and I would have originally given it decent marks. In the past three years I've had to replace the internal hard drive due to failure, replace several of the included cables for the same, and I've spent countless hours trying to convince the web interface to work for me when I needed it.
Here are some key facts to base your decision on:
* The hardware is supposedly pretty good. I don't have any part numbers in front of me at the moment but consensus on forums is that the chipset at this thing's core is solid and capable. Hard drives fail, that's just a fact of life.
* Support is going to be pretty non-existent.
* The hardware is basically identical to a number of other units from different manufacturers, including effectively the same firmware. Z-modo has no firmware update available on their site, so I'm stuck with the 2011 version that shipped on mine.
* More on the firmware: the version that shipped on mine is vulnerable to a remote root exploit. Attacker can use your DVR appliance to gain access to your network if you let it map itself through your firewall. Again, no help from Z-modo. Search for "zmodo dvr08b remote exploit" for more information. Console Cowboys is the primary source.
* The web client is about the primary means of access and it requires an older version of Internet Explorer running on Windows. It is implemented as an ActiveX control embedded on the page. Hideousness aside, even in the best of situations it still only works right about half the time. If you're a Linux user -- as I am -- good luck. The only working solution I've found is a VirtualBox VM with Windows installed.
* There is a package for Mac users but I have no way of evaluating it. If you visit the web interface in Chrome, it thinks you're using a Mac and tries to get you to install it.
* The Android app, if you can get it to work, seems to work alright but doesn't allow playback of recorded footage or configuration of the unit.
* The various versions of Z-modo desktop applications that you think might work with this don't. Some will work partially. Good luck figuring that out.
* Despite being apparently pretty popular as a low-end security DVR, I'm unable to locate any kind of alternative, third-party firmware for it.
Others will point out that the video quality isn't great, which is to be expected from a low-end analog camera system like this. I can't count that against it. But the fact that the unit has consistently failed to deliver video footage of theft and vandalism for one reason or another is just plain unacceptable.
I've spent the last 6 hours trying to recover video that it recorded last night of somebody burgling the contents of my vehicle. Seeking, high-speed playback, and downloading the footage for viewing through better software have all proven to be flaky at best, so now I'm watching the entire night's footage in real time, hoping that one of the frequent, irregular, short gaps in the recording don't happen to overlap with the event in question.
At least the replacement cost of the stolen items is less than I spent on this kit.
on May 4, 2012
Very pleased so far. Have smart phone and internet access to system 24-7. Quality is great for amount of money spent. Can always upgrade to better cameras, and wires but very pleased. Imagine you at work, receive a text saying an alarm is triggered, view someone breaking into your house, and being able to notify the cops with a description...Its B.A.
PROS: Inexpensive, picture quality is good. Everything you need is in the box, ready to go. Has been operating for a month now, and still working :)
Cons: Wires fragile, instructions not written by an English teacher, but will get you thru.
on December 5, 2015
I've had this for some time now and will just bullet point all the issues:
* Poor quality on the cameras. Unfortunately this is typical of all of the low end CCTV style cameras.
* Half of the ports have quit working
* The web browser interface only works with IE and ActiveX with very insecure settings. In addition, to playback or download any video IE has to be run as an administrator.
* The DVR local interface is very painful when trying to review a specific timeframe
On the good side, IPCamViewer app works well with the system and it's easy to take a peek at the cameras and at least see what's going on.
If there was only a thick client that would do the playback and download I could rate this a little higher. So far this has done little more than deter a couple of thieves who saw the cameras mounted. The resulting video was useless in identifying the thief even though they walked within 10 feet of the camera.
I'm slowly switching over to IP cameras which give superior video quality but yeah, they're expensive.
on October 31, 2013
Ive dabbled with home security cameras in the past ... logitech wilife, etc.... but this is a really nice system. I got eight cameras and the pre-installed 500gb drive. First the cameras: they are well made, small but durable, each box has the mount and the screws to install them. They have an adjustable shield for weather and sun. There is a BNC video connection and a power connection on each camera. The pictures are pretty clear, but not HD by any means. They are not wide angle so if you have a large area to cover, you need to place the camera far away from the subject. If you want to place the camera inside the building and pointed through glass, be prepared to forego the night vision as the camera emits a beam that reflects in the glass making it unusable. You just have to install the camera outside. Second the cables: one per camera ... they are long enough for the average installation (I think 100') .... I went ahead and bought four 150' cables which turned out to be really nice for long runs. Get the BNC couplers. The cables are good quality, connections are well made. Third, the control box: about the size of a medium pizza box, again, well made. There are as many cables connecting to it as you have cameras. Plus the cameras require power, so in my case I have eight video and eight power and the main power and the Cat5 from this box to the router and a USB cable for the mouse ... in other words, be prepared for a lot of cabling. Place your box near your router with at least 3 AC connections for power transformers. Fourth, the software: the unit is relatively easy to set up if you have average computer skills. You have to tell your router to "open some ports", understand basic IP addressing etc. The user guide is pretty poor (sucks) ... its full of acronyms but the Zmodo website has additional information. I loaded the iPhone app and it works pretty well as long as you configure the device properly. Finally, technical support: I couldn't figure out how to configure the PC desktop program and called technical support. I followed the directions on the website and established a remote session for their tech to have access to my PC. Even though it took 42 minutes to get through (7PM Wednesday night) the tech I got was very sharp. SHE got on my PC and went to work cleaning up all the stuff I didn't do. (Wish I could remember her name to give her credit here ...) ...but the point is the tech I talked to was very good. So here I am two days later and Ive gone from thinking about sending it back to now thinking the system is pretty cool. There are a couple of issues Im still working on ... pan, tilt, zoom ... and audio ... but all in all Id recommend the system to the AMAZON community with a 4 out of 5 stars ...