SVAT CV301-8CH-008 8-Channel H.264 Smart DVR Complete Surveillance System (Includes 8 Indoor/Outdoor High-Resolution CCD Night-Vision Cameras)
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- Record over one month (1000 hours) of continuous video footage on the 500GB hard drive; Fast and hassle-free setup - the coaching iMenu will guide you through the entire setup process
- View video online with no service fees - view your DVR's live or recorded video footage anywhere in the world; iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphone compatible - access live footage from your smart phone
- 8 professional grade weatherproof cameras - clear and consistent picture at 420 TV lines of resolution
- View in the dark with automatic night vision - see any monitored area in total darkness
- 24/7 lifetime Live Customer Service - our experts will get you online in no time; Built-in USB port allows for multiple easy backup options
- H.264 video compression allows recording of more than a month of footage
- Advanced motion-activated recording with multiple automatic or continuous recording combinations and schedules
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Suitable for any size property, the SVAT CV301-8CH-008 is the perfect system in almost any situation. The 8 channel, 500GB hard drive DVR system comes packaged with eight indoor/outdoor hi-res night vision cameras, and all the accessories needed to start monitoring your property immediately. In addition, the interactive coaching menu guides you through the entire setup process, ensuring your DVR will be up and running in no time. Plus, industry-leading features such as smart phone access, worldwide online viewing, H.264 compression, help you maximize your system while achieving the highest level of protection.
Smart Phone Compatible
H.264 Compression Saves Disk Space
View Video Online with No Service Fees
4 Professional Grade Weather Resistant Cameras
See in the Dark with Automatic Night Vision
Expandable System up to 8 Cameras
Multiple Easy Backup Options
List of Contents: SVAT CV301-8CH-008 8 channel H.264 DVR with 500GB HDD, 8 indoor/outdoor hi-res night vision CCD cameras, IR remote control (batteries included), power adapter for DVR, 2 x four-to-one port power supply for cameras, 8 x 60ft 4 PIN DIN to RCA (male) power cables, 1 x 10ft RJ-45 ethernet cable, 10 x RCA to BNC connectors, mounting hardware, 4 x window warning stickers, quick start guide, instruction manual, software CD, 24/7 lifetime live customer support, 1 year manufacturer's direct warranty.
Top customer reviews
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The cameras are decent quality -- pretty much what you'd expect out of a standard definition analog camera. The IR illumination LEDs are sufficient for an indoor area such as a hall or doorway, but do not product enough light for outdoor scenes such as a driveway. The cameras have aluminum casings rather than plastic which was a pleasant surprise. The provided video cables are a bit thin and may incur interference. They are comprised of a bundled video lead which is terminated with BNC connectors and power leads which terminate with common coaxial DC power connectors.
The system's main software, aside from what (junk) runs on the DVR, is an ActiveX control that is compatible only with Internet Explorer. As long as your computer will support it (Windows-only), it works fairly well and allows you to view live video, playback recorded video, and configure most of the system settings though the web browser. The package also includes some apps for mobile devices. I only tried the Android app, which was a little sketchy to get running. Aside from figuring out how to install a raw .apk file onto your phone with no instructions, you have to configure several port and network settings both within the DVR and the app. These port settings do not share a common terminology between the DVR and the app, so it becomes an exercise in trial-and-error to get the app to connect. Once it does connect, live video can be viewed from an Android phone, albeit at reduced quality. There doesn't seem to be a way to playback recorded video or check motion events from the phone. Also the Android app seems to be ... stolen from some other security camera manufacturer. It contains branding and product names that seemingly have nothing to do with SVAT or this product. Regardless, it was able to connect and work.
The DVR itself seems to be a computer running some flavor of Linux with the SVAT application loaded. The system boots fairly quickly and reliably after power failure. The hardware contains 8 BNC video input connectors, two composite video outputs (one is BNC style), one VGA video output, two USB ports for mouse and external storage, and some kind of digital I/O or trigger with screw terminals.
The interface is fairly straight-forward if a little clunky. I found it much easier to just assign it an IP address and configure the rest through the web interface rather than grind through the menus and enter settings with the on-screen keyboard. The manual is terse and contains more information about configuring Internet Explorer and registering an account with DynDNS than this product (Also, DynDNS is apparently no longer free to use, as implied by the manual).
Now my gripe, and the reason for my below average review: neither the remote control nor any of the buttons on the front of the unit will work reliably if you use this product with a monitor connected to the VGA port. After numerous calls to SVAT support, I gathered that the unit expects your monitor to be connected to the composite output and the menus will only display on that output. There is a (undocumented) key combination of Function->Up Arrow->Enter that will supposedly allow the interface to work on the VGA monitor. Out of the 50 or so times I have entered this combination, it has worked only three times. When it works, the unit will beep and suddenly it becomes responsive -- until the next power cycle. 95% of the time that I have owned this product, the front buttons and remote have been completely useless and unresponsive. SVAT technical support acts as if this is by design and acceptable. I have called many times and explained that their secret key combination to enable the interface rarely works, and their only suggestion is to keep power cycling the unit and trying until it does work.
Luckily I was able to get the unit network-enabled early on, so it is mostly usable through the web interface. However I view the complete unresponsiveness of the front-panel buttons and remote as a significant defect of the product, and apparently SVAT has no remedy -- caveat emptor.
Some things to consider:
- These cameras are designed for very close range use, such as a covered porch or an entryway. We are using them to watch the property line. That means having a camera watch an outdoor line of upwards of 75 feet. These cameras weren't designed for that.
- The camera quality works great to prove nefarious activity occurred but you'll have difficulty identifying an unknown person at anything farther than 5 feet. But if you know who the perpetrator is or if they are uniquely identifiable, then you can use them for longer range purpose.
- The quality of the contrast control is pretty poor. If you have a heavily shaded/sunny mixed area with a low-mounted view, the image washes out very badly, rendering things virtually useless.
- Mounting and connecting is a breeze.
- The mounting pedestals have a slightly weak grip and could slip a little. You need to be careful to not over tighten it to compensate (in order to hold the camera steady).
- I had to send multiple cameras back twice during the 1-year warranty to have them refocused. I can't say the results have been all that great but it will have to do.
- I had to set the DVR to reboot every night in order to make sure certain camera feeds continued to record motion. Otherwise, some of them would simply stop recording on their own.
- The DVR menus are pretty easy to navigate but watching recorded video is MUCH easier from the computer desktop software provided.
- Because the DVR had to be installed in an upstairs spare bedroom far from the home internet router, I bought a wireless repeater and am able to stream the video from there to the router. That lets me watch the video on my desktop, laptop and phone. This is a HUGE peace of mind while away for extended periods (vacation, road trips, etc.).
- The night view with the IR LEDs works pretty well. When there is snow on the ground, the cameras see as far as they do in daylight. But there is inconsistent "ghosting" of the lens that I can't answer for. On some nights, the night view is good. Other nights, it's as if there is a fog in the air. Not every camera does it; and those that do it don't do it consistently.
While this is by no means an awesome system, it has performed the task needed at the minimum acceptable levels. For the price, I'm okay with that. But next time I have to purchase a home security video system, I'm willing to pay more (much more) for higher level of quality and capability. In the end, I'm glad I spent the money on this unit because it busted our neighbor and sent a clear message of protection. We're glad to have it, even with its shortcomings and quality issues.
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