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Customer Review

379 of 402 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absurdly overpriced "license" to RESTORE access to immature beta software, September 13, 2011
This review is from: Synology IP Camera License Pack for 1 (CLP1) (Electronics)
Synology manufactures some of the best network-attached storage (NAS) devices around, and has spent considerable resources making the user interface for their devices convenient, intuitive and powerful. Among the software features bundled with their NAS operating system is a "Surveillance Station" software package, which can, when used with one or more IP cameras, turn the Diskstation into an internet-enabled video security system.

While the ad copy for the Diskstations may discuss the maximum number of cameras each of the different models can accommodate, it may not make clear that, out-of-the-box, each Diskstation has a "license" to use only one camera. You simply can not connect more than one camera to the software without buying a "license" code for each additional camera. Why Synology would choose to intentionally cripple one of their software titles, and charge such an exorbitant ransom to enable it, escapes me.

For example, I have a DS1511+, currently Synology's flagship 5-bay SOHO NAS. According to Synology's specifications, this device is capable of supporting up to 20 (!) IP cameras. (The word "support" here is used generously, as very few cameras are fully "supported" -- with many you won't be able to record audio, or stream a live view to anything other than Internet Explorer with ActiveX plugins). As with every Diskstation, the DS1511+ only includes a "license" for 1 camera. To fully enable the 20 'supported' cameras, one would have to purchase 19 of the CLP1 license packs. Do the math (Amazon doesn't like people mentioning prices in their reviews), and you will discover:


According to the Synology moderators who locked (!) a discussion thread on this topic in their support forums:

"The ability to use 1 IP camera per DiskStation out of the box is for evaluation purposes and is not provided as a license key."

Therefore, the Surveillance Station software that they advertise so proudly in the ad copy for each of their NAS devices is properly understood as an EVALUATION TRIAL COPY.

This came as a surprise to early adopters of Synology products, who previously enjoyed a copy of Surveillance Station that was unburdened by additional camera licensing requirements. Much to their surprise, a firmware update pushed out by Synology disabled the functionality of their software, and rendered their previous purchases of additional cameras wasted. Imagine how you would feel if you updated your Windows operating system, only to be told that now you owed Microsoft an additional $50 printer "license" for a device that previously functioned, and was now disabled.

Will Synology push out additional firmware updates in the future that disable additional components of their operating system? Will they begin charging a per-hard-drive "license" fee for their multi-bay units?

If history is any indication, they might.

Plan your purchases accordingly.
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Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 4, 2011 6:44:45 PM PDT
B. N. Bass says:
Thanks for the heads up. They've lost my business.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 5:45:20 AM PDT
Bob D says:
I agree with your assessment here and was surprised at the additional cost. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on one's perspective, the admit-tingly little time I have used the "evaluation" license, the product does work well and when I look at other options for the $$, despite the deception, it does appear to be a good value.

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 5:12:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2012 5:28:12 PM PDT
Michael says:
I agree with you.
I bought the DS211j to use as a backup drive for all my home computers AND replace the unstable Windows XP PC with the hideous D-LINK software that records the 9 installed cameras.
Yes, very stable, well thought OS, and lightening fast file transfer performance. My PC's 1GB LAN usage jumps up to 52% while transferring files to/from Diskstation. That's 520Mbps!!
All very nice, EXCEPT:
First, none of the cameras I had were supported. I then decided to buy 2 different branded IP cameras to try the DS211j out, only to find out I couldn't add a second camera. There is an out of the box 1 camera limit for all DSM OS products, and nowhere is this limit mentioned. NOWHERE. If you want to add more cameras you need to BUY A LICENSE.
Make no mistake, Synology is INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING customers. In fact, searching synology's web site I couldn't even find where to buy the licenses. I had to google it to get to the site. And the price is EXHORBITANT!
Fifty bucks/camera. FIFTY! Add 4 cameras and you end up paying more for the LICENSES than for the actual HARDWARE!!

Posted on Sep 18, 2012 1:30:18 PM PDT
Sad that the "trial" does not equate to a licence... buying this does not give you an additional licence, it gives you a first one!

That little part I did not know. Thanks.

Also sad that they retroactively crippled people's software and invalidated licences with updates... that IS scaly.

Otherwise a good product.

As for $$ value, hoes does the 4-licence packs compare?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2012 5:23:48 PM PDT
Michael says:
Good look FINDING the 4 camera license pack. Synology has a "where to buy" page and I've been trying on many online sites listed there, but no one seems to be selling it.
Remember: the license is PHISICAL, (not a code sent by mail) and therefore has to be PHISICALLY sent, which is an addittional problem for those of us not living in the US (and the 3 "local" resellers were no help at all).
I'm quickly running out of patience, which is why I'm looking into Zoneminder.

Posted on Sep 23, 2012 9:35:25 AM PDT
skipfactor says:
Thanks for saying everything I would have said & then some. I picked up one of these elsewhere on a "shell shocker" special. I perused the specs to grab it before it stocked-out. No way I would have bought it had I known I was investing in a product from a company that willfully and intentionally hides the actual price tag in a sneaky scheme that must have been hatched by what amounted to a crooked team in a closed-door, no record, brainstorming session. Did they not get the memo this is an appliance that will mostly be used in the home and one rarely spotted in a business office? The category is "Home Security" fellas.

It really is a wonderful little product. It's too bad it was condemned in the boardroom by raw greed & dirty tricks. If you don't care about using it for cam surveillance, I'd normally recommend it @ <$200. But who's to say they won't backwards-cripple whatever primary task you've chosen for it? There's apparently an ethics issue at the root of this company in that it's been years and hundreds of complaints like this one since they pushed out an executive's idea of paying for his new mansion in Aspen, and they haven't budged an inch. Gouging of the customer and the associated, non-compromising & omnipotent attitude they present is responsible for the birth of piracy. Vote with your wallet. Don't let this be a price the market can bear else it trickles down elsewhere.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 8:02:15 AM PST
William Duc says:
Yes, I purchased it for the same reason. And love the way they made the UI so easy. It just works. But I had the same confused look on my face when I purchased 4 'expensive' cameras and could only hook up one.

There is a lot of time invested in learning how a software works. I agree they should clearly state only 1 camera is supported by default. I can almost guarantee that this unadvertised charge has hurt them more than helped n the long run. I get the forehead crinkles every time I think of DiskStation now instead of the 'It is great little system' optimistic attitude I used to tell everyone about.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2012 1:52:12 PM PST
Rob says:
Are you sure this isn't a standard license? Everything I see in DSM 4.1 points to it being an 'included' license (maybe they backed off the trial thing a little).

From their Help documentation: "One camera license is provided and installed by default for you to use Surveillance Station. It is not possible to delete the default license."

Can someone clarify if I'll have to buy *2* new licenses to add on a second camera? I'm thinking I only need to buy 1, since the default one is already included.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 8:40:35 AM PST
Bob D says:
I bought one license and use 2 cameras.

Posted on Jan 13, 2013 1:25:55 PM PST
DeP says:
If you purchase this and install it in a Diskstation you will have the ability to use two cameras, not one as the reviewer states. If you buy a 4-pack you can use a total of 5 cameras.

If you really need 20 cameras (as discussed by the reviewer) you would purchase a volume license package not 20 single copies.
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