Rated 4.4 out of 5Â by 5
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Kellen Comprehensive security system
This package provides a complete system for your security monitoring needs. You will need to plan ahead before you start installing but the physical installation is simple and straightforward. Four cameras each share a single power supply at the DVR (so you will need 5+ plugs at the DVR). The DVR has a great function to save video when it detects motion, or to start recording when another camera detects motion, which is fantastic for recording transitions from one camera to another.
The nightvision is exceptional, the camera itself casts a very strong infrared light (naked eye the area will appear pitch black, looking directly at the camera you can see a faint pink light, that looks dimmer than a 'record' light on a normal camera). You can use additional infrared lights if you need to illuminate an area outside the cameras range, standard 850nm-950nm LED or bulbs will work fine.
Connecting the software to your network and exposing it to the internet so you can check the video feed from anywhere is very simple and the software will walk you through the process when you install it. The DVR comes with a small mouse to use for setting it up and administering the system, so you do not need a computer (you will however need a TV or monitor, HDMI, VGA, RCA I would highly suggest a 1080p screen to take advantage of the 16 monitor feed). The administrative software when viewed from a computer unfortunately requires installing an ActiveX component installed in IE (I had difficulty using the latest version of Chrome, although it looked possible I didn't persue it), this is not a hardware issue and hopefully they release an update that uses HTML5 standards instead of custom controls. Other than this the settings are very comprehensive and allow you to tweak a lot of the DVR features.
March 1, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by ToddB Well Built with Robust Software
Installing and using this system has easily been my most enjoyable review to date. I wish I could write more about it, but my original review exceeded the maximum review length by 2/3! Boo!
As a software developer Iâm generally quite critical of poorly designed or poorly functioning applications, but Q-SEE has done a pretty good job with this, I must say. In fact, considering the sheer amount of functionality packed into the application Iâm quite surprise that itâs not quirky and buggy.
Letâs start with the cameras, which are well built and quite stylish. They have a circular array of sensors and IR lights for night vision. Theyâre not too big and can be angled any way you need to via three swiveling joints. Each camera has two leads to connect to the feed; power and video. A thin cable is run from the DVR to the camera that has corresponding connectors to hook up with the camera. While you might assume Wi-Fi would be better because you wouldn't need to run cabling, keep in mind that you need power at the camera.
Included with each four pack of cameras are two 60 foot cables and two 100 foot cables. I had to use the 100 footers for all my cameras so far, which obviously means Iâll run out of the long ones if I install many more. To me, they should have just included all 100 footers. Theyâre quite thin and you can fit a lot in a single conduit, if you run them separately because of the connectors that have to pass through. I placed my DVR in the basement because I can run cables from there in various directions under the house. Most of my runs go through a 1.5â conduit under my mudroom and into the barn cellar. From there I distribute them to cameras I've mounted on different sides of the barn, as well as inside and outside the mudroom. Have fun untangling the feeds! Also included with each four pack of cameras is a single power supply with a four-way splitter to power four remote cameras, which is quite convenient.
Mounting a camera can be done by drilling a hole through the wall and threading the leads from the camera through it or by surface mounting the feed up to the camera and having the connectors hang below it. For all my external cameras I drilled holes in my barn walls, which was quite easy. I used a Â¾â auger bit that I had on hand, but technically you donât need it to be that big. For the cameras that I mounted inside I simply surface mounted them. If I want to install any cameras on the front of the house Iâll have to figure out an approach because I donât really want to start drilling holes in the house and figure out how to fish wires through insulated walls.
My advice is to walk around and think about where you want cameras and how youâd run the lines. How many cameras do you mount? How high and at what angles? Hereâs another lesson-learned. Until you know that the angle of view is what you need (and that a single camera will suffice), I recommend that you get the camera working before you commit to the location and the angle. Run a temporary line to it. This will allow you to use a mobile application connected to the DVR to eliminate any guess work. You may find that you need multiple cameras to get the entire field of view youâre looking for if you want to monitor your yard, for instance. The height is another important factor. If you go too low someone could mess it, but if you go too high the angle could make the video less useful. Again, this is where the live evaluation during installation helps. Once you locate a mounting spot, another suggestion is to drill a small exploratory hole before going right to the big one.
The small, stylish DVR is actually a computer. It comes with a mouse, but thereâs no keyboard. The mouse is used with a virtual popup keyboard to enter data at the DVR. The DVR needs an internet connection if you want to use remote monitoring, either from a mobile device or from your work computer. It needs to be in a central location where all the feed lines converge. Finally, you will need a monitor attached to it. This was something I couldn't determine up front, wondering if I could do everything through my network. You cannot. You can do much through the network, but you do need an attached monitor. Also, the video quality on the attached monitor is HD, but any remote viewing is of lessor quality. I bought an inexpensive, used 1280 h LCD. You can point your web browser to the DVR's IP and perform much of the setup and tinkering from the comfort of your keyboard. While Iâd rather be able to see the HD video in my home office, I didn't want to run the feeds from the basement to the main living floor. Thereâs probably something I could do to make this work, but for now Iâm fine with going down to the cellar once in a while when the network streaming quality is insufficient. It takes a bit of time to figure out where to find things, but after a while it makes sense. Also, the software on the machine is significantly more robust than the remote software or the browser application.
As you start adding cameras, youâll quickly realize how important it is to be able name each camera. Unfortunately, not all screens use the channel names, so youâre either left guessing or youâll need a printed list.
Thereâs plenty of functionality regarding motion detection, email notices (with image snapshots!), schedules to record on for each channel, the quality of each, etc. One of the coolest features that really blew me away is a screen that shows, for a given camera, the view it sees (real-time) divided into a grid. You can mask out areas that you donât want to record in the view and even cooler â¦ turn blocks on/off anywhere in the grid that you want ignored for motion detection. For instance, in my back yard is a large spruce with a branch thatâs constantly swaying. I can de-select the 7-8 blocks where the branch is located so it doesnât trip the motion detection! Another good example is a road. If you have a road at the end of your driveway, or along your perimeter, you can mask that out so cars donât trip it. Finally, and by far the coolest (ok, Iâm a bit geeky) while youâre in that view, any blocks where the DVR thinks it sees motion (again, real-time here) will turn red as they trip. So, combined with a sensitivity setting that you control and the ability to turn blocks on/off you can fine tune the motion detection to your needs! Now for the crummy part. While this works perfectly in the test view, meaning I have no false positives while monitoring it, during actual use they still trip. I mean to contact the company to ask for support with this. Hopefully I've just missed something simple or they can get a fix out for it because itâs a really important feature to have working.
One feature that I thought would be really useful, but has turned out not to be is the motion-based snapshot and email notification. I do believe they could fix this with a simple software update, but I wonât hold my breath. I've found that itâs simply too âimmediateâ to be of use. For instance, I installed a camera inside my mudroom and enabled email notifications. Boy was I disappointed to receive emailed snapshots of the door opened ever so slightly inwards, showing that someone was about to enter the mudroom! If I could program a 5 or 10 second delay for the snapshot it would actually catch the person. Granted, Iâll still have the video of the person, but the snapshot is useless. This also happened in my barn. I walked through the barn to test this feature. The snapshot didn't even catch me!
Video Quality. At the DVR itâs quite fine, but streaming to mobile devices uses a much less useful quality. For instance, while watching me pull into the driveway on the phone or iPad thereâs no chance of reading the plate. Likewise, people aren't really recognizable via the streaming. Youâd have to go to the DVR to see detail like that. Iâm not knowledgeable about video formats and compression so I canât really speak to the specs. If you are, the information is readily available. Night vision is decent. I've seen rabbits and deer in the yard. The brightness is quite reasonable and itâs pretty cool to be able to see in pitch blackness. At night you can see the cameraâs IR sensors lightly glowing.
Accessing video through mobile devices is really cool. You will most likely have to work through the details of opening up a couple of ports through your router in order to reach the DVR externally. I actually had to call for support and they were able to get me up and running. There are a number of apps out there that frankly, I donât understand the reason for each version and the relationship to the actual product of each. For instance, I got a silly, non-sense message when trying to access my DVR via my SG4 and supportâs answer was to install another app that doesn't appear to be theirs. Iâm guessing that the system uses a standard that the other app uses. I ended up paying a few bucks for the upgraded version of that app. Q-SEEâs iPad app seems to work decently, but not without some quirks. I really donât like the time range selection, which is cumbersome. Also, I've had it crash quite a few times.
I am unable to access video from my work. I assume theyâre blocking a needed port. I can connect to the box, but any attempt at playing recorded or live video fails.
Summary: There are fancier systems from Q-SEE, but they cost more. When considering this system, try to think through your needs. For instance, this system is not true HD and the cameras donât support panning and zooming. I do think itâs a great product that works well. The software is quite robust and mature. The equipment is well built and stylish. I definitely recommend Q-SEE, and if this system meets your needs (out of their product line) I believe youâll be happy!
March 5, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by gheadsr Wow! See it tp believe the quality
This 16 camera unit will cover in vivid detail the surroundings it monitors. If I were to buy another unit I would invest in the non-wired model (I think). The setup is very simple once you know where you want the security cameras placed. 16 cameras covers a vast area, so most homeowners would probably want a 4 or 8 camera model; however, you can connect as many as you want to the 16 unit model. My home is a very large Victorian with as much space to cover a a commercial warehouse. The manufacturer includes enough wiring (4 sixty foot wires and 4 100 foot wires for the 4 cameras in each box). For each of the 4 cameras you will need an electrical outlet.
I want to cover the wiring so am purchasing from Home Depot the wire covering such as you would use in your home to cover unsightly cables, etc. The cameras supplied are indoor/outdoor so there is no worry about their placement in inclement weather. The one TB DVR supplied that hooks directly to your internet connection will hold lots and lots of the live feed. Monitoring can be done from a computer or TV and you can wirelessly connect to your OS or Android phone or tablet while you are absent from the premises at work or wherever you may be. In the long run you will save so much money buying this unit rather than have some commercial outfit do your safety monitoring. By the way, these cameras have a rather good night vision too. A friend of mine uses one of the to monitor his fast food stores. He never has to worry about his employees not doing their jobs.
There is some work in the installing that needs to be thought out before you begin the job; however the company claims they will give you a card for an installer in your area, but none was furnished with mine. The installation site says it will run from $100-200 per camera; if yoiu have any ability and the time the installation in not difficult. They do have LIFETIME technical support you can use even while installing if you run into a problem.
January 27, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5Â by Greg Not great for home use
First of all, let me state that this is a very capable video surveillance system. The feature set is quite nice and the quality of the cameras and controller is top notch. I especially liked the feature that allows you to remotely view the camera via your mobile device. Now, let me explain why I wonât be using this system in my home.
The system is really quite noisy. The main unit has an integrated fan that runs constantly. This is not a system that you turn off and on, it is a system that is constantly running all the time, so this fan is ALWAYS on and it really is much louder than you might think.
The system is also very power hungry. I added up all of the input power requirements from the mass assortment of power adapters that you need to plug into the wall (5 in total to run all 16 cameras), and the total power draw was astounding! I calculated that even if I could get my power at $.11 per KwH, running this system would cost me about $1 per day in electricity usage.
The cables provided are just too short. 60ft is not nearly long enough on a camera by camera basis. You can eliminate 15ft of that just to run up the wall and for a bit of slack, so effectively 45ft is what you have to work with. My home is much longer than 45ft in any one direction, and that is assuming I wanted to centrally place the controller. The cable length should be double at least. I know that you can buy 1000ft spools of cable, but you still have to terminate that yourself and the connectors arenât included. Each cable requires 2 BNC ends and 2 power connectors.
Add together the cable costs, the power usage, the noise factor, the fact that Iâd have to run 16 BNC cables down my wall and build a custom wall plate for that and I just decided that this unit didnât make much sense for normal home use. Where I DO see this as an excellent application is in a business environment, or for use in a church or maybe by a property management company. I'm still giving this product my recommendation, but under the stipulation that I'm recommending it for commercial use only.
March 11, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5Â by RednexToyz Easy to set up & use
Easy to set up and use. Good picture quality. Ideal for small/medium size business use.
September 4, 2014