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Customer Review

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?)
This review is from: Night Owl Security STA-168 Night Owl Security 16 Channel STA DVR with 8 Night Vision Cameras 500 GB HD and Smartphone Viewing, 30-Feet (Electronics)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 27, 2013 2:45:42 PM PST
John Doe says:
The web access you speak of is probably a DNS. You use that if you don't have a static IP address through your isp. That way you can always find your network remotely when your IP address changes. There are other companies that do the same thing. I'm fairly certain it's not what you're thinking.

Posted on May 19, 2013 3:48:34 PM PDT
Sean says:
So you can not view/use/see the cameras video feed on a Linux based machine?

Posted on Jul 10, 2013 8:13:41 PM PDT
doublemeat says:
"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!"

No offense, but this is just a fear-based stance rooted in lack of understanding.

The subdomain registration is a simple DNS service to make your life easier, nothing more nothing less. It allows you to use a dynamic public IP address and still reach your DVR from the internet. You sign up for their service, then the DVR "pings home" every so often, to let their DNS provider know what your IP is. That way, you can point your web browser (from anywhere in the world), to the subdomain name you registered (for free) with them.

But if you have your own static public IP for the DVR (which you have to arrange through your internet provider and pay extra for, then you don't need their DNS service. (You could still use it though if you don't want to PAY for your own domain name though, even with a static public IP.)

You also don't have to use their dynamic DNS service. Just google "dynamic DNS provider". There are lots. Many charge for the service. Some let you use your own separately registered top-level domain name. Most optionally let you register a subdomain on their own dedicated top-level domain name. Some offer a limited free service for one IP.

There is no security issue involved. No video or data whatsoever goes through their DNS servers. All it does is reply with your IP address, to any request for your domain name. (Which is precisely what DNS does and is for and the whole world relies on.) Nothing more, nothing less.

And if their dynamic DNS service goes down (which has nothing to do with their website BTW), then big deal - you just get a new dynamic DNS service through someone else. But they might go down eventually as well. And so on. The only thing involved is setting up a new "phone home" address on your DVR (which tells whatever dynamic DNS service what your dynamic public IP address is), and use a different domain name in your browser when you want to watch videos remotely.
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