DVR Security System Review

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DVR Security System

Swann SW244-8CP DVR8-Net-8000 Security Recorder With Cameras

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The Swann SW244-8CP is a digital security recorder that comes complete with surveillance cameras, eight surveillance cameras are included and these are attached to the system through its 8 BNC connectors. The cameras included with the system are known as ‘Bulldog cameras’ and each has a ¼ inch color CCD image sensor. The cameras use wither a PAL or NTSC video signal depending on whether the DVR is obtained from the US, Europe or Australia, the cameras are capable of capturing images in low level lighting and have a resolution of 420 TV lines.

Each camera has an internal synchronisation system and in dark conditions they are able to pick up images at a distance of up to 33 feet, this is the US model so the cameras electronic shutter speed ranges between 1/50th and 1/100,000th of a second. The Swann DVR has an internal hard drive for storing surveillance camera footage, the hard drive included with the system has a 250 gigabyte capacity.

You can monitor cameras attached to the DVR by connecting it to a monitor or a television, there are two BNC video outputs built into the system and it also has an S-Video output.At maximum the DVR can record video at a speed of 240 frames per second when you are using an NTSC signal, in PAL mode the maximum recording speed is slightly lower at 100 frames per second.

The image quality of recorded camera footage is reasonably high, in NTSC mode it can record video at resolutions up to 720*240, PAL video can be recorded at a slightly higher resolution, that being 720*288. The system has triplex functionality so you can playback video footage without having to stop the DVR from recording, there is also an RS485 interface that can be used for security cameras that have pan, tilt and zoom functions.

You can use the DVR to record surveillance camera footage throughout the day or you can set the system to record only at specific times. The Swann DVR also supports alarm sensor devices and it will begin recording when an alarm is activated, there is also a built in motion detection feature that you can also use to determine when the system starts and stops recording camera footage. The Swann system uses M-JPEG compression and it can be used to set up a two way communication system with the use of its audio input and audio output sockets. The CD re-writer built in to the system should prove useful if you want to use CD’s as an additional means to record surveillance camera footage.

There are four RCA audio inputs built in to the DVR so you can set up at least 4 cameras to record sound as well as images, there are also two RCA audio outputs. The DVR has a USB port that can be used for connecting the system directly to a PC, there is also an RJ45 Ethernet port built in so you can connect the DVR directly to a computer network or to the Internet.

Networking the DVR gives you more alternatives when it comes to the locations available to you for monitoring surveillance cameras. Remote viewing software is included with the package and you also get a 512 megabyte USB stick that can be used for transferring video footage on the fly. The Swann DVR also comes with an instruction manual and DVD to help you get the system up and running ready to monitor your premises.

Check the latest price on the Swann SW244-8CP DVR8-Net-8000 Security Recorder With Cameras

Swann SW243 DVR9-Net-4000 9 Channel Surveillance System Review

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Here is the Swann SW243 DVR9 and in terms of capability the system is worth taking a look at, the DVR accommodates up to 9 surveillance cameras.  The DVR is suitable for both home and business owners looking for a means of setting up a surveillance system.  Security camera footage is stored on the recorders internal SATA hard drive, the hard drive included has a 250 gigabyte capacity.

A USB port is built in to the Swann system and it can be used to connect external hard drives to the system, you can also use this to transfer video footage to a memory stick.  There are 9 BNC ports that are used for connecting surveillance cameras to the DVR, the system also has an RS-485 port for attaching surveillance cameras with pan tilt and zoom functions.

The DVR uses MPEG4 video compression and is compatible with both PAL and NTSC video signals.  In NTSC mode the DVR is capable of recording video at a maximum resolution of 720*240, in PAL mode its maximum recording resolution is 720*576.  When it comes to recording speed the system can record video at frame rates up to 60 frames per second, the functions of the DVR are controlled through its embedded Linux operating system.

There should be no problem recording high quality video and images with the DVR, the drawback here is that all cameras attached to the device will not be able to record audio as the system has one audio input and one audio output.  You can view the output of cameras attached to the DVR with either a television or standard PC monitor as the system is fitted with both BNC and VGA video outputs.

There are four preset image quality settings and you can set the DVR to record continuously if required.  Alternatively you can use its motion detection functions or connect external alarms to the system to control recording.  There are 8 alarm inputs built in to the DVR, its single alarm output can be used to raise an alarm if the system detects a camera outage.  An Ethernet port is built in to the system so you can monitor surveillance camera footage remotely by connecting it to a LAN or your broadband router.

Check the latest price on the Swann SW243 DVR9-Net-4000 9 Channel Surveillance System

Swann Guardian Angel SW-G-WMK25 Monitoring System Review

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Essentially the Guardian Angel has been designed so that you can keep an eye on a baby, the device can be used to monitor a baby whether he or she is at play or sleeping in their cot. The Swann SW-G-WMK25 baby monitor allows you to have peace of mind, you will be able to keep an eye on a baby without having to disturb them by opening up their bedroom door to take a peek. The monitoring portion of the device has a 2.5 inch color LCD screen, this is far from large but is sufficient enough to allow you to monitor a baby or anything else you wish to watch over, alternatively you can hook the device up to external monitoring devices such as a TV.

The monitoring system works wirelessly and operates on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth range, it is best used outside of the proximity of other wireless devices such as wireless telephones, microwave signals can also interfere with its operation. Both PAL and NTSC video signals are supported by the camera included and it also supports audio so you can hear any activities in the immediate vicinity of the camera. The camera has night vision capabilities and contains 11 LED’s to enhance images in low level lighting conditions.

The camera has a 1/3 inch color CMOS image sensor and it has a maximum pixel range of 510*492 in NTSC mode, the maximum pixel resolution in PAL mode is slightly better this being 628*562. There is a mains power pack included with the monitoring system so you can plug it into a wall when using it at home or alternatively you can power the device by inserting batteries. When it comes to positioning the camera you can place it on a table top or alternatively mount the device to a wall as a permanent fixture.

Operating the device is fairly straightforward, the camera has an LED indicator to notify you about its remaining battery power, the front of the monitor has a built in speaker. There are also switches on the monitor and the camera that allow you to select a number of different frequencies to ensure its operation does not interfere with any other wireless equipment in the same area. Once the baby monitor is set up it takes a lot of stress out of the job of keeping an eye on babies or small children.

Check the latest price on the Swann Guardian Angel SW-G-WMK25 Monitoring System

Swann DVR SW245-SMD 4 Channel Security System With Cameras

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Here we have another DVR manufactured by Swann called the SW245-SMD, it is also referred to as the DVR4-Pro-Net and is essentially a 4-channel security recorder. You can set up the cameras included with the DVR either indoors or outdoors, their outer casing is composed of an aluminium alloy. Inside each camera is a ¼ inch SuperHAD CCD image sensor and they have the capability to capture images in low level lighting.

The cameras automatically activate their built in LED’s to enhance images when lighting conditions fall below a certain level. The cameras use both NTSC and PAL video signals and they have a horizontal resolution of 420 TV lines. In NTSC mode they can capture images at a pixel resolution of 510*492, in PAL mode the maximum pixel resolution is 500*582. The cameras use a BNC video output and they are known as Maxi Day Night cameras, Swann ship these with a number of their DVR’s (such as the one in the previous review), their specific model reference being SW-C-MDNC.

Moving on to the DVR the SW245-SMD uses CIF, MPEG-4 and JPEG compression and it has four BNC inputs for camera attachment. The DVR can record video using either a PAL or NTSC signal and has a variable recording speed, it can record video at speeds of anywhere between 3 and 120 frames per second. High frame rates equal smooth video and typically when you set a security DVR to record video using its high quality image settings the frame rate dives, in this respect the SW245-SMD is no different to the majority of DVR’s.

Even so the system has all of the functions you would expect to find in today’s security recorders, it can start and stop recording by means of motion detection and/or alarm activation. You can set the DVR to start and stop recording by programming in a schedule and it has an 8 megabyte pre alarm recording function. The DVR also supports Pelco-D pan tilt and zoom dome cameras and you can connect the DVR to the Internet or to other types of computer network so you can control its functions remotely.

The DVR has one audio input and one audio output so you can set up a two way audio system but it only records audio in mono. There are four alarm inputs, one alarm output and the DVR can detect camera outages, the back of the device is fitted with a BNC video output and it has a fast hard drive cleaning facility.

Other Swann DVR4 Pro Net Reviews

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Check the latest price on the Swann DVR SW245-SMD 4 Channel Security System With Cameras

Swann SW244-8MP DVR8-8500AI Security System Review

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Here is another security system solution from Swann, the DVR8-8500AI includes eight security cameras and video footage is stored digitally on its internal hard drive.  The internal hard drive for the DVR is manufactured by Seagate and it has a 250 gigabyte capacity, you can change this out if you wish, the system can accommodate up to 3 500 gigabyte hard drives.

The cameras included with the DVR are reasonably compact, they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and can record video in both light and dark conditions.  Within each security camera is a ¼ inch color CCD sensor and they have a resolution of 420 TV lines, the cameras use both PAL and NTSC video signals.  The cameras have a pixel range of 500*582 in PAL mode, in NTSC mode the pixel range is 510*492.  You can record video at night with the cameras and each has 24 LED’s and have an effective range of 20 metres (or 66 feet) when used in the dark.

In light conditions the cameras have an effective range of 100 metres, their outer casing is durable and composed of aluminium.  It would have been great if wireless capabilities were built in to the cameras but even though they are wired they carry out their job effectively.  Moving back to the DVR8-8500AI the system uses H.264 video compression (what Swann refer to as professional MPEG-4 DMX-V3) and it has a moderately high recording speed, the DVR can record video at a rate of 120 frames per second in NTSC mode and 100 frames per second in PAL mode.

The DVR is capable of CIF recording and can display video footage at a maximum resolution of 1024*768, the DVR can also record audio and it uses G.726 (ADPCM) audio compression.  The DVR has an in house operating system that is quite unique as it has a three dimensional graphical interface used to access the functions of the system.  Through the operating system you can schedule recording, adjust the DVR’s motion sensor feature and search for recorded surveillance camera footage.

That pretty much covers the functions of the Swann DVR8-8500AI, its not a bad system but it would have been nice to see more audio inputs on the DVR, there are two audio inputs and 1 audio output.  The DVR also supports external USB storage devices that you can use to back up surveillance camera footage, it also supports USB mice but these are not included with the DVR.

Check the latest price on the Swann SW244-8MP DVR8-8500 Security System

Swann Alert DVR SW242-ALC 4 Channel Surveillance System Review

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The Swann Alert SW242-ALC is certainly compact and low priced in comparison to other surveillance systems but what does the hardware have to offer?  Firstly lets take a look at the surveillance cameras included with the system, all of the cameras are identical and are suitable for outdoor use.  The security cameras are equipped with a 1/3 inch 8.5mm CMOS image sensor and are able to transmit images using either a PAL or NTSC video signal.  The cameras are fitted with a sun shield, this is not very large but with the correct positioning they can be used to prevent sun glare from having too much of an impact on your recordings.

In PAL mode they are capable of capturing images at a pixel resolution of 628*582, in NTSC mode image quality is slight lower, this being 510*492.  Low level light conditions are handled well by the cameras, when in color mode they can capture images in light levels as low as 3 lux.  The cameras can also be used in black and white mode and this helps with capturing images at even lower levels of illumination, in black and white mode the cameras can capture images at 0 lux.  The cameras also have a CDS light sensor and their outer casing is composed of aluminium.

The Alert DVR as mentioned is very compact so it may prove useful if you have limited space for setting up the hardware.  The front panel has a handful of buttons that allow you to playback, rewind or fast forward recorded surveillance camera footage.  The DVR is four channel so you can attach a maximum of four security cameras to the device, these are connected to the system through its four BNC ports.

The DVR can be set to record continuously or you can set a schedule that determines when the device starts and stops recording.  The Alert DVR is compatible with both PAL and NTSC video signals and it has a custom operating system built in.  The operating system does not have as many features as other security recorders that have RTOS or Linux based operating systems.  You will see the minimalist features available in the operating system as either a hindrance or a bonus depending on how important it is to you to configure the specific functions of the DVR.

One thing that can be said about the built in operating system is that it is straightforward to operate, the motion detection menu allows you to configure motion detection features, selecting the recording schedule menu takes you straight there so you can begin enter the recording schedule you want the device to follow.  The Alert DVR uses MJPEG compression, is capable of recording video at a maximum speed of 30 frames per second and contains an interchangeable 160 gigabyte hard drive for storing security camera footage.

Check the latest price on the Swann Alert DVR SW242-ALC Surveillance System

Swann DVR SW243-XG6 16 Channel Security System Review

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This is the Swann DVR16-8500AI and it is a 16 channel security DVR and surveillance cameras are attached to it through its BNC sockets. As standard the security recorder is packaged with 4 BNC to RCA adapters in case you have cameras with differing connectors. The DVR is compatible with both PAL and NTSC video signals, when recording in NTSC it can record at 120 frames per second, PAL offers a slightly lower frame rate that being 100 FPS.

The system uses H.264 video compression and for storing video it has a 250 GB internal Seagate hard drive. Three internal hard drive bays give you a few options when it comes to expanding on its video storage capacity, if needed you can install up to three 500 GB hard drives. The system uses an in house graphical user interface as opposed to a Linux or RTOS operating system but its functions are adequate. You can record video footage 24 hours a day if need be or you can devise a schedule that determines when the DVR will start and stop recording.

Using the motion sensor capabilities of the DVR is a good method of ensuring the video footage you record contains activity. You can set different levels of motion sensitivity and program the system to ignore specific activities. If you were looking to connect the DVR to an external alarm system your out of luck as the system does not have alarm inputs.

You can use the DVR to set up two way audio with your surveillance cameras, the system has two audio inputs and one audio output. The DVR also compresses audio to keep hard drive space usage to a minimum, the system uses G.726 audio compression. For monitoring the cameras attached to the DVR it can be connected to a TV or monitor, you can actually connect the DVR to both a TV and Monitor and view the output simultaneously. For connecting the DVR to a TV it has two BNC outputs and 1 VGA output for connecting it to a monitor.

Images from the DVR can be displayed at a maximum resolution of 1024*768 you can select specific events to view specific footage quickly. The DVR does not include a remote control but you can attach an external mouse to it via its USB port. The DVR can also be connected to the Internet or a LAN for the purpose of monitoring and controlling it remotely.

Check the latest price on the Swann DVR SW243-XG6 16 Channel Security System

Swann DVR Pro 4000 4 Channel Security System Review

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The Swann DVR Pro 4000 is designed to accommodate up to four security cameras, for storing video this particular model has an 80 GB hard disk. By configuring the settings of the DVR 80 gigabytes should be enough to store video footage however you are not limited to the hard disk that is included with the DVR. If you wish to upgrade the hard drive the DVR can accommodate IDE UDMA 66 hard disks up to 250 gigabytes in size.

Wavelet video compression has been incorporated into the security system, when monitoring cameras you can view their output on one display individually or you can select quad mode for viewing the output of four cameras at once. Both NTSC and PAL video formats are supported by the DVR, you also have the option of giving each camera attached to the system a specific title. The DVR has two video outputs so you can connect it to a number of monitoring devices. You can also connect the DVR to an external alarm system and it will begin recording when the attached alarm is activated.

At the rear of the security DVR are four BNC sockets for your surveillance cameras, the system also has four RCA inputs for audio and 2 RCA outputs also for audio. Camera outages are detected by the system and it will sound an alarm if it detects a problem with an attached surveillance camera. The DVR also has motion detection capabilities and you can set it to record only at times when motion is detected. Recording can also be scheduled or you can set the DVR to record constantly but this causes the system to overwrite old camera footage at an earlier stage.

A zoom function is built in to the security DVR enabling you to pick out specific details from recorded scenes. Swann have managed to get the DVR Pro on the market at an exceptionally low price, that may be due to the fact that the system cannot be connected to a network straight out of the box. A video web server can be connected to the DVR that allows you to control the system remotely but this accessory is sold separately.

Check the latest price on the Swann DVR Pro 4000 4 Channel Security System

Swann DVR4-1000 Security System With 4 Surveillance Cameras

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Swann have created numerous digital video recorders designed for people who wish to set up a surveillance system themselves. The Swann DVR4-1000 is a 4 channel security DVR that accommodates up to four surveillance cameras. Both PAL and NTSC recording is possible with the DVR and its maximum recording resolution is 640*224 in NTSC and 640*272 in PAL. MJPEG video compression has been incorporated into the DVR and you can select one of three preset video compression settings.

At most the DVR records video at 30 FPS but you can get past this issue by setting your cameras to record at set periods. For storing video the DVR4-1000 has a 160GB hard disk, this should be enough but you have the option to change this if needed. At maximum the Swann DVR can accommodate hard drives with a capacity of up to 400GB. A USB port has been fitted to the system, the port has been added to enable you to connect the DVR to a PC rather than an external storage device.

Swann include software for the DVR so you can connect it to your PC through USB but this is as far as you can go with networking the DVR as it does not have an Ethernet port. Connecting the DVR to a PC gives you more storage and video sharing options, you can upload video to your PC and then use email to distribute video if required.

The DVR has the RTOS (real time operating system) embedded and this is used for overall control of the system. Video footage can be searched for by time, date or you can select from a list of specific events recorded by the system. The DVR has motion detection capabilities and has the ability to detect camera outages. An alarm is also incorporated into the DVR that can be triggered through a variety of methods. Video recording by the DVR is activated when the system detects motion or you can set a recording schedule.

Four cameras are included with the DVR4-1000 and these are suitable for recording video footage at both day and night. The cameras are dubbed ‘MaxBrite’ due to their night vision capabilities, the outer casing of the camera is made of a non corrosive material. Inside the cameras is a 1/3” SSC image sensor and they have a horizontal definition of 380 TV lines.

Check the latest price on the Swann DVR4-1000 Security System

Swann 16 Channel DVR SW-R-DVR16 Review

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The Swann SW-R-DVR16 known as the ‘Digital Guardian’ and is a digital security recorder that can handle the input from 16 surveillance cameras. Although the DVR does not have an Ethernet port for connecting it to a network it has a number of clever features. An alarm is fitted to the DVR and it will sound if it detects a problem with cameras attached to it. The DVR is equipped with four audio inputs so you can hear as well as see the output recorded by the system for select cameras.

Two way audio is also possible so you can speak to people who are in the direct vicinity of your surveillance cameras. The drawback with this is that the DVR only has two RCA audio outputs so you can’t set up two way audio for 16 cameras. It would have been nice if two way audio was available for every camera attached to the DVR but it’s good to see that the feature is present.

Recording is activated when motion is detected by the DVR or you can set a schedule that will determine when the system will start and stop recording. You also have the option of setting the DVR to record continuously but this may consume a lot of storage space. The system has four levels of audio you can select so you can strike a balance between sound quality and hard drive space usage.

The DVR uses Wavelet video compression and this helps reduce pixelization when you zoom in on recorded scenes. When recording video in NTSC the DVR can record at a maximum of 25 fps. In PAL the DVR can record video at 18 FPS, video recorded by the DVR is stored on hard disk and you have to purchase one of these separately.

You can attach two up to two UDMA 66 IDE hard drives to the DVR and the system comes with a remote control. You can view the cameras attached to the security DVR on a monitor full screen or picture in picture. Events recorded by the system can be searched for by the date or time of the event or by the time the systems alarm was activated. The Swann DVR also has a password protection system and a picture zoom feature.

Check the latest price on the Swann 16 Channel DVR SW-R-DVR16

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