Dvr cameras system: The 12 Best Home Security Cameras of 2023

Опубликовано: May 22, 2023 в 4:36 pm


Категории: Miscellaneous

Security DVR


Remote viewing from a smartphone, tablet, or PC

Security DVR, or digital video recorder, is an important component of a surveillance system. Security DVRs are the heart and brains of the system, recording digital footage to aid in criminal prosecution or resolution of disputes. DVR recorders use siamese BNC cabling that conveniently provides video and power over a siamese cable. Our NVRs have built-in Power Over Ethernet (PoE) ports that are designed for wired PoE cameras, using only one cable to connect to the camera.

With Smart Motion Detection capabilities, you can receive push alert notifications to your smartphone to keep an eye on your property. Our modern security recorders provide exceptional convenience with free remote viewing from a smartphone, PC or Mac, and support for major browsers like Chrome or Safari. With our skilled US-based customer and technical support, you can be confident that purchasing one of our recorders will meet and exceed your expectations.

Whether you’re upgrading an old DVR, replacing analog security cameras with an exciting new IP security camera system, or designing a brand new system, we have the recorder for you. We stock recorders for security camera systems of all sizes, including 4, 8, 16, and 32 for both HD Analog and PoE IP cameras, as well as 64 and 128 for IP. Are you concerned about the amount of time that footage is saved before being overwritten? We can help you determine the amount of storage needed to meet your recording time requirements by using our Security NVR and DVR Hard Drive Calculator, or learn more by contacting one of our trained sales associates.

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What is a security DVR vs.

NVR and how does it work?

There are two types of security DVRs; both are standalone video recorders that can work without an internet connection to provide reliable on-site video recording:

  • DVR (Digital Video Recorder) – for use with analog security cameras that have BNC ends and send analog video over coaxial wire such as RG59 siamese cable.
  • NVR (Network Video Recorder) – for use with IP cameras or PoE cameras that transmit digital video and power over network cabling such as CAT5e or CAT6.

A DVR recorder is commonly referred to as an Analog DVR or Coax DVR, because it allows digital recording of video from analog video sources. Our DVRs support older analog security cameras using composite video (CVBS) as well as newer high-definition digital signals such as HDCVI, HDTVI, and AHD that enable use of up to 4K security cameras over old coaxial cable.

All of the DVRs we sell are XVR recorders, which are hybrid recorders that provide functions of both an Analog DVR and NVR in one box. They allow use of both BNC cameras and IP cameras. There are BNC ports in the back for a direct connection to coax wire, and an additional PoE switch can be used to connect PoE or IP cameras.

NVR recorders can only be used with IP or PoE cameras and do not support Analog cameras. They provide the best possible integration with supported IP cameras to take advantage of AI smart security camera features such as smart motion detection and auto tracking. There are PoE NVRs for up to 16 channel security systems which have built-in PoE ports to allow for easy plug-&-play setup with compatible cameras. For larger systems, professional 4K NVRs can be scaled to support up to 128 cameras per recorder over a local computer network using PoE switches.

Regardless of which type suits you best, both our DVR and NVR offer advanced features including easy to set up remote viewing over the internet from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best security camera DVR? How do I choose?

Many factors must be considered when choosing the best security DVR for your home or business. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions when shopping for a DVR:

Are you replacing an old DVR or NVR or installing a new system?

Send us an email with the model number of your old system for our team to recommend the best replacement.

Still dealing with an old QSee DVR? Visit our How to Replace a QSEE DVR or NVR guide.

Fed up with Lorex? We show how to replace their equipment in our How to Replace Lorex Security Cameras and Systems article.

Do you want to use your existing coax cameras with new IP cameras?

Consider purchasing one of our hybrid XVR systems that can do just that.

How many channels do you need?

There are security DVRs that support up to 4, 8, 16, and 32 channels.

There are security NVRs that support up to 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 channels.

Do you intend to add more cameras in the future?

If you start with 4 cameras, consider purchasing an 8-channel recorder to allow for future expansion. Consider getting a 16-channel recorder if you start with 8 cameras, and so forth.

Are you interested in the latest and greatest 4K or 8MP cameras?

Check the specification sheet for analog DVRs to see if the model you want supports 4K 8MP, as some only support up to 2K 4MP.

All of the NVRs we sell support a minimum of 4K at 8MP. Some of our higher-end NVR models are compatible with the best video quality, 4K 12MP security cameras that we have to offer.

Do you have video storage requirements that exceed 3 or 4 weeks?

On most of our models, you can select hard disk combinations that can store up to 3 or 4 weeks of continuous footage. However, for security camera systems with more than 16 cameras or storage requirements of more than 3–4 weeks, you should consider getting one of our larger models that can accommodate 4 or more hard drives.

If you need further assistance choosing a recorder, feel free to contact us by phone or email.

How can I access a security DVR?

Remote viewing apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones/tablets are available for our DVRs. We have PC and Mac software for desktop and laptop users. For web browser access, most of our DVRs and NVRs now include HTML5 support, allowing users to view their systems using their preferred browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

Can I get notified on my iPhone or Android when there is motion?

Yes, you can receive push notifications straight to your smartphone by using our remote viewing app. There’s no need to worry about the hassle of configuring email alerts or your email provider blocking essential emails.

Can you use any DVR with security cameras?

No, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that makes security video technology work. If you try to blend manufacturers, brands, or models, you will run into compatibility concerns. This is especially true when working with NVRs and IP cameras due to the indefinite number of different IP camera protocols.

For example, with analog coaxial systems, there are five major signal formats available, and cameras that are directly compatible with the recorder are required for the system to function.

Resolution is also an issue for both system types. If your camera generates an image that is too big for the recorder to accept, it will not work with that recorder.

Can you use a security DVR without the Internet?

Yes, all of our analog DVRs and IP PoE NVRs work without an Internet connection. They can both accomplish actual closed-circuit television with no outside access. However, internet access is required for remote monitoring via PC software or smartphone apps.

What is a smart DVR?

Smart DVRs use cutting-edge Smart Detection technology. Basic Smart Detection technologies such as Digital Tripwire and Intrusion Detection use artificial intelligence to analyze video in real time to detect whether people, cars, or animals are crossing digital boundaries defined on the camera’s image. These technologies assist by only capturing events as they occur, reducing false alerts, making events easier to search for, and using less storage space than regular motion detection.

Some of the more advanced Smart Identification functions include abandoned and missing object detection, face detection or recognition, people counting, heat mapping, and Smart Motion Detection. Because it exclusively detects individuals and cars, Smart Motion Detection is more reliable than traditional video-based motion detection.

Most of our IP cameras and NVR systems support Smart Detection. AI capabilities are only available on a few analog DVR models.

Is there a wireless DVR?

Yes, it is possible to have a wireless NVR system. WiFi NVRs provide a wireless radio network that can be used to connect wireless IP cameras. WiFi IP cameras, however, still require electricity, and there are no DVRs or NVRs that can connect to the internet wirelessly.

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Lorex Security Camera System Cost & Pricing in 2023

  • Equipment Cost
  • Monitoring Costs
  • Better than Competitors?
  • Summary

Jump to sectionEquipment CostMonitoring CostsBetter than Competitors?Summary

Recent Update: 1 month ago

What’s the latest from Lorex? A battery-powered doorbell with industry-best 2K HD resolution. Video doorbells with more than a 1080p HD resolution are rare, and battery-powered ones are much harder to come by. The Lorex 2K Battery Video Doorbell costs $200, and it comes with top-shelf features like person detection, built-in siren, and color night vision.

Lorex made a name for itself with its incredibly tough and high-tech commercial security cameras, but it’s more than just a security camera brand for businesses. Even Lorex’s residential line is booming with lots of good options.

If you’re like most security camera shoppers, however, you might find it a little difficult to choose a Lorex security camera for your home. Lorex has tons of products with different pricing, features, and setup.

That’s where we come in. We may not be Lorex experts, but we have lots of first-hand experience buying, using, and testing security cameras from the brand, and we can help you find the right Lorex products for your budget.

Package pricing
Lorex security camera packages Price range
Analog camera systems $269. 99-$1,499.99
Digital camera systems $399.99-$8,799.99
Wi-Fi camera systems $139.99-$899.99
Wire-free camera systems $369.99-$629.99

Lorex Sticker

Equipment Options: Cost, Features & Installation

In our experience, deciding where to start is the toughest part of unweaving the Lorex web. Lorex has a wide selection of different security cameras, DVRs, NVRs and accessories.

Tip: Want to learn more about Lorex? Check out these Lorex FAQs.

We recommend starting by checking out Lorex cameras based on their categories. The most common types of Lorex cameras are analog cameras with DVRs, digital IP cameras with NVRs, Wi-Fi cameras, and wire-free cameras. You’ll also find a few that are hybrid, meaning, they fall into two or more of those categories.

Analog Digital Wi-Fi Wire-Free
Wired or wireless? Wired (coaxial cables) Wired (Ethernet cables) Wireless Wireless
Plug-in or battery? Plug-in Plug-in Plug-in Battery
DVR or NVR? DVR NVR Standalone NVR
Internet required? No* No* Yes Yes
Indoor or outdoor? Both Both Both Both
Max. resolution** 4K 4K 1080p 1080p
Night vision** Yes Yes Yes Yes
Local or cloud recording?** Local (DVR) Local (NVR) Local (microSD card) and Cloud Local (NVR)
Livestreaming** Yes Yes Yes Yes
Motion alerts** Yes Yes Yes Yes
24/7 recording** Yes (DVR) Yes (NVR) No (Motion events only) No (Motion events only)
Least Expensive Package $269.99 $399.99 $139.99 $369.99
Most Expensive Package $1,499.99 $8,799.99 $899.99 $629.99

*Some features, like remote live streaming and push notifications, require an internet connection.
**Not all models support these features. Check the specific camera models before making any purchase.

In addition to those categories, Lorex also offers security camera bundles under the Fusion collection. These bundles include a specialized NVR with channels both for digital IP cameras and Wi-Fi cameras, allowing you to combine the reliability of the former and the smarter features of the latter in your home. We’ll also discuss Lorex’s pricing on Fusion products in this review.

Analog Cameras

Analog cameras are about as old-school as Walkman and Betamax, but that doesn’t mean they’re no longer relevant. Analog cameras from Lorex record analog videos and transfer them to a recorder via coaxial cables. The recorder is a DVR, and here’s the modern twist: The DVR processes the analog videos to make them digital and readable using modern computers. If there’s footage you want to keep, you can transfer it to your computer or even upload it to your personal cloud storage.

FYI: One caveat of analog cameras is they use coaxial cables, which are thick (about ¼-inch), usually black cables. They are not as flexible as Ethernet cables. Also, aside from the coaxial cables, analog cameras typically require a power cable as well.

On top of that, Lorex DVRs are designed to integrate into modern home security and automation systems. You can watch live videos on your smartphone or even pair your cameras with Alexa or Google Assistant with some DVRs, allowing for hands-free control. So even though analog cameras are old-school, Lorex has kept them relevant and useful.

In total, Lorex offers over 50 analog camera systems. You read that right, 50! Their components vary, from 1080p to 4K, fixed to pan-and-tilt, and indoor to outdoor camera models. We selected the most popular systems for this chart.

Product Code Price DVR Type Cameras
MPX851DZW $799.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(2 TB)
5 Indoor/Outdoor Dome-Type 1080p Cameras 1 PTZ Indoor/Outdoor Camera
MPX1684DW $729. 99 16-Channel 4K DVR
(3 TB)
4 Dome-Type 1080p Outdoor Cameras 8 Bullet-Type 1080p Outdoor Cameras
MPX84AW $549.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB)
4 Indoor/Outdoor Vandal-Proof 1080p Audio Cameras
4KMPX44 $469.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB)
4 Outdoor Cameras with 4K Resolution and Colored Night Vision
LHV514K84 $449.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(2 TB)
4 Active Deterrence 4K Outdoor Cameras
MPX88DW $449.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(2 TB)
8 Indoor/Outdoor Dome-Type 1080p Cameras
MPX44MDW $419.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB) with Monitor
4 Indoor/Outdoor Dome-Type 1080p Cameras
4KA88 $387.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB)
4 Outdoor Cameras with Smart Detection & Smart Home Voice Control
4KMPX82 $352. 99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB)
2 Outdoor Cameras with 4K Resolution and Colored Night Vision
LX1081-44BD $269.99 8-Channel 4K DVR
(1 TB)
2 Dome-Type 1080p Outdoor Cameras 2 Bullet-Type 1080p Outdoor Cameras

Lorex Camera Lens

Digital IP Cameras

A step-up from analog cameras, digital IP cameras from Lorex are more scalable. That’s because they use either Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi instead of the coaxial cables their analog counterparts use. As a result, you can easily have up to 16 cameras in one system, whereas with analog, the limit is usually eight cameras.

On top of that, digital IP cameras tend to be easier to install, especially if they are Wi-Fi capable. You don’t need to snake wires through your ceiling to connect them to your DVR. In some cases, IP cameras use Power over Ethernet, and while this setup requires a bit of cable work, the Ethernet cable that provides connectivity also provides power to the cameras, so there’s significantly less wiring required.

That being said, because they connect to the internet, IP cameras are more prone to hacking. There are even websites that livestream IP camera footage from hacked accounts. While Lorex IP cameras come with adequate security, we should also do our part. Don’t get hacked; avoid using the worst passwords of 2023.

Another downside of IP cameras? The cost. Digital IP cameras are typically pricier than analog ones. So even though digital IP cameras support larger ecosystems, we suggest keeping the system small to save money.

Product Code Price NVR Type Cameras
4KHDIP1610 $1,549.99 16-Channel
(3 TB)
10 Bullet-Type Outdoor Cameras with 4K Resolution
4KHDIP822 $1,499.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
2 Nocturnal IP Cameras with 4K Resolution and Real-Time 30 FPS
2 Nocturnal IP Cameras with 4K Resolution and Varifocal Zoom
LN1081-168BDB $1,079. 99 16-Channel NVR
(3 TB)
4 Dome-Type Outdoor Cameras with 2K Resolution
4 Bullet-Type Outdoor Cameras with 2K Resolution
LN10802-168W $1,079.99 16-Channel
(3 TB)
8 Bullet-Type Outdoor Cameras with 2K Resolution
4KHDIP88AD $1,024.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
8 Active Deterrence 4K Outdoor Cameras
4KHDIP86 $899.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
6 Active Deterrence 4K Outdoor Cameras
4KSDAI84 $879.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
2 Active Deterrence 4K Outdoor Cameras
2 Smart Outdoor Cameras with 4K Resolution and Motorized Varifocal Lens
4KHDIP84W $799.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
6 Bullet-Type Outdoor Cameras with 4K Resolution and Smart Home Voice Control
LN10804-86W $749.99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
6 Bullet-Type Outdoor IP Cameras with 2K Resolution
NK182-45CBE-W $599. 99 8-Channel
(2 TB)
4 Bullet-Type Outdoor Cameras with 2K Resolution and Smart Home Voice Control

Hot Tip: You can mix and match wired PoE cameras and wireless cameras to reduce the need for wire management.

Wire-free Cameras

Wire-free cameras are digital IP cameras with NVRs, but as the name suggests, there are no wires involved. That means they transmit videos to the NVR wirelessly and draw power from their batteries; no outlets needed! If you’re like us who’d rather not deal with wires, Lorex’s wire-free cameras are an option.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that wire-free cameras need battery changes every so often, although some can be recharged. Either way, you’ll need to set aside time to make sure each camera has enough battery power. Usually, wire-free Lorex cameras can run for about six months on a full battery.

Product Code Price NVR Type Cameras
LWF2080B-66 $629. 99 6-Channel DVR
(1 TB)
6 1080p wire-free cameras
LWF2080B-64 $499.99 6-Channel DVR
(1 TB)
4 1080p wire-free cameras
LWF2080B-63 $449.99 6-Channel DVR
(1 TB)
3 1080p wire-free cameras
LWF2080B-62 $369.99 6-Channel DVR
(1 TB)
2 1080p wire-free cameras

Wi-Fi Cameras

When compared to the other camera types offered by Lorex, Wi-Fi cameras are the odd ones out. They don’t work with NVRs and DVRs; instead, they send recordings directly to the user’s smartphone via the Lorex app and store videos locally to a micro-SD card. They connect through Wi-Fi, thus they are wireless, but they still need to be plugged into a wall outlet.

This type of security camera is much more similar to the ones we see from brands like Nest Cam and Ring. You can read our Ring camera review for an overview. Wi-Fi cameras are flexible since you can manage each camera independently rather than as part of a camera system. That being said, we don’t recommend Wi-Fi cameras if you’re looking to buy a bunch. Each camera will need to connect to your Wi-Fi router, and having six or more of these Wi-Fi cameras can crowd your network and cause it to slow down.

Product Code Price Cameras
W281AA-6PK $899.99 6 Smart Outdoor Cameras with Active Deterrence (1080p)
W281AA-4PK $549.99 4 Smart Outdoor Cameras with Active Deterrence (1080p)
W261AQC-4PK $349.99 4 Pan-and-Tilt Indoor Cameras (1080p)
W281AA-2PK $304.99 2 Smart Outdoor Cameras with Active Deterrence (1080p)
W261ASC-4PK $259.99 4 Fixed Indoor Cameras (1080p)
W261AQC-2PK $175.99 2 Pan-and-Tilt Indoor Cameras (1080p)
W261-KIT $169. 99 1 Fixed Indoor Camera (1080p)
1 Pan-and-Tilt Indoor Camera (1080p)
W281AA-W $163.99 1 Smart Outdoor Camera with Active Deterrence (1080p)
W261ASC-2PK $134.99 2 Fixed Indoor Cameras (1080p)
LNWDB1 $129.99 1 1080p HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
W261AQC-E $93.99 1 Pan-and-Tilt Indoor Camera (1080p)
W261ASC-E $69.99 1 Fixed Indoor Camera (1080p)

Money Saving Tip: Lorex offers Open Box deals, which are products returned to them after minimal or no use. These Open Box deals are cheaper compared to regular packages. Also check out Lorex’s Deals of the Day, which change daily and offer enormous discounts.

Fusion Collection

As briefly mentioned earlier, Fusion bundles support both wired digital IP cameras and Wi-Fi cameras in one security camera system. As the Wi-Fi cameras offer the most advanced features, they take Lorex’s IP camera systems to the next level when used with Fusion bundles. Here are a few examples to choose from.

Product code NVR channels IP cameras Wi-Fi cameras Price
N845-4L 8 wired, 8 Wi-Fi n/a 4 Spotlight Indoor/Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 cameras $899.99
FN4K2SL-84WB-JP 8 wired, 8 Wi-Fi 4 Smart Security Lighting Bullet Cameras 1 Wi-Fi Indoor Cam and 1 2K Pan-and-Tilt $682.49
FN4K2SL-84WB-DS 8 wired, 8 Wi-Fi 4 Smart Security Lighting Bullet Cameras 1 2K Wired Doorbell and 1 set Sensor Kit $772.49
FN4K2-84WB-DS 8 wired, 8 Wi-Fi 4 IP Bullet Cameras 1 2K Wired Doorbell and 1 set Sensor Kit $618.74
FN4K2-84WB-JP 8 wired, 8 Wi-Fi 4 IP Bullet Cameras 1 2K Pan-and-Tilt and 1 Wi-Fi Indoor Cam $532. 49

Fusion bundles are the most flexible, and since they use both digital IP cameras and Wi-Fi cameras, you can easily build a system to cover your entire property. For instance, you might find it easier to install Wi-Fi cameras outdoors and wired IP cameras indoors. With Fusion bundles, you can do just that.

Installation Cost

Most security camera brands these days don’t require professional installation, and the same is true with Lorex. Lorex will ship your new cameras to you, and then you’ll install them yourself.

Of course, there’s the question of whether you can install the system yourself or not. Even we experienced hiccups while installing Lorex, and we have decades of experience with security cameras.

If you’re more comfortable having trained technicians do the job, Lorex partnered with InstallerNet, a third-party home installation service. InstallerNet has a nationwide network of technicians qualified and trained to install Lorex systems. And while Lorex doesn’t provide pricing, we find that the average installation service costs about $100.

Monthly Fees and Monitoring Costs

Mounted Lorex Camera

One of the great things about Lorex is that there are no mandatory monthly fees. Since most of Lorex’s cameras record to a DVR or NVR locally, you don’t need a cloud subscription, which is what most camera brands charge for monthly.
That said, some cameras, especially Wi-Fi cameras, have the option to backup footage in the cloud for a fee. The fee depends on the exact camera model, but it’s usually less than $10 per month for 30 days of cloud storage for several cameras. It’s not as inexpensive as Ring’s $10 per month 60-day storage for unlimited cameras, but it’s also not bad.

Tip From Our Experts: Because Lorex doesn’t have monthly subscriptions, it complements professionally monitored security systems well. We recommend using Lorex in conjunction with a security system with sensors and professional monitoring.

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Other Integrations

Whenever we review a security system, we always stack its value not only based on its built-in features but also based on how well it works with the smart home products in our lives. Although the specific system we ordered didn’t have any smart home integrations, we’ve found that some newer DVR/NVR and camera models work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple TVs, and Google Chromecasts.1

The Alexa and Google Assistant integrations make it possible to control Lorex using your voice. You could ask Alexa or Google Assistant to show you live feed from cameras on a smart speaker with a screen, like the Amazon Echo Show for Alexa or Google Nest Hub for Google Assistant. On the other hand, the Apple TV and Chromecast integrations provide a way to check real-time feeds on a bigger screen. If you own any of these smart home products, aim for Lorex systems that advertise smart home voice control and smart TV integrations.

Amazon Alexa Google Assistant
Analog Systems -D841 Series DVRs
-D441 Series DVRs
-D241 Series DVRs
-D841 Series DVRs
-D441 Series DVRs
-D241 Series DVRs
Digital Systems -N841 Series NVRs
-N881 Series NVRs
-N841 Series NVRs
-N881 Series NVRs
Wire-Free Systems -LHB927 Series NVRs
-LHWF1007 Series NVRs
-LHB927 Series NVRs
-LHWF1008 Series NVRs
-LHWF1007 Series NVRs
Wi-Fi Cameras -W281AA
-W261AS Series
-W281AQ Series
-W261AS Series
-W281AQ Series

Is Lorex Better Than Its Competitors?

Lorex Camera on Box

We also want to show how Lorex compares to other brands and to industry standards. By doing so, we aim to help you see its real value to your home security.

What stood out the most for us about Lorex was the number of options it offered. Some security camera companies like Canary and Ring only offer a handful of equipment selections, but Lorex provided us multitudes of choices. We admit that choosing was intimidating at first, but once we figured out what we wanted and needed, we were able to narrow down our options.

When it came to features, it was clear that Lorex isn’t your run-of-the-mill security camera brand. It offered features we don’t commonly see such as 4K video quality, smart motion detection a.k.a. person detection, and continuous recording. Most brands that offer such features (Arlo, for example) charge a monthly fee.

Of course, we also experienced setbacks like with wire management and limited app features. Those weren’t deal-breakers for us, but we thought you should know before spending hundreds of dollars on a security camera system.

Summary: What We Liked Most About Lorex

To sum things up, we think it’s only right to tell you what we felt were Lorex’s strongest points. If these are what you’re looking for in a security camera system, then Lorex might be the right one for you.

Professional-grade equipment

In our hands, Lorex cameras didn’t feel cheap. The cameras were made of metal instead of cheap plastic that we commonly see in security cameras today. Most of the outdoor models were also rated at least IP66 (safe from dust and water jets) and IK10 (vandal-proof).

No monthly fees

No matter how many Lorex cameras we used, we weren’t asked to pay a monthly fee. This is especially beneficial if you have a large property as other camera brands charge a higher monthly fee as you expand your system.

24/7 continuous recording

Except when we told it to stop, Lorex recorded 24/7. It captured every moment, so we rested easy knowing that we’ll have hard evidence in case of a break-in. We know that recordings are crucial in helping law enforcement solve crimes!

Lorex Video Quality

Crisp and clear videos

The video quality is always important to us, so we were glad to see Lorex deliver high-quality images all the time. Our system consisted of 1080p cameras or higher that captured and streamed crisp and clear videos with infrared and color night vision.

Advanced, High-Tech Features

Although Lorex still sells analog security cameras, which are quite outdated now, it manages to keep its cameras relevant by adding modern, high-tech features that rival that of newer brands. Our Lorex system offered smart detection and remote app viewing, while more advanced models even have voice assistant and smart TV integrations.

Our Final Thoughts

When we reviewed Lorex, it showed us how professional-grade, high-end surveillance systems fit in a residential setting. We felt protected and secured, and not only because we had eyes watching our home 24/7, but because Lorex is a trustworthy brand.

That said, Lorex isn’t for everybody. Since the brand is camera-centric, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a whole-home security system with sensors and automation features. With Lorex, you’ll have to self-monitor as well.

If you’re after a more traditional home security approach with professional monitoring, check out our list of the best home security systems. However, if you’re looking for a security camera — or rather, a camera system — to supplement your existing home security, Lorex is definitely worth considering.

App Motion Clips

What to choose: a hardware DVR or a computer-based DVR?

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What to choose: a hardware DVR or a computer-based DVR?

There is a perception among video surveillance installers that computer-based digital video surveillance systems are not reliable enough compared to hardware-based DVR solutions. Let’s consider this problem and try to compare both classes of devices, as well as highlight the factors that affect their reliability.

To analyze the problem, let’s highlight the main factors affecting the reliability of the DVR, both based on a computer and fully hardware.

First of all, it is necessary to examine in detail the internal structure of both devices.

Components of two types of DVRs

The hardware DVR consists of a processor serving video capture chips, video output chips and a hard drive interface. Naturally, the processor has RAM and flash memory.

Flash memory is used to store the Linux system and the software of the DVR itself. Schematically, the DVR is implemented on a single board, so it has a fairly low cost.

Computer-based video recorder consists of a motherboard, processor, video card, RAM, hard drive and video capture cards. These devices are interconnected and function as a single complex.

Obviously, both devices have a similar structure and are built on the same type of element base. The only difference is that a hardware DVR is a single board computer, while a computer based DVR is a computer that consists of multiple boards.

Element base of used computers

Usually both devices use the same video capture and video output chips. This is due to the fact that a fairly small range of chips and, accordingly, boards are being developed for video capture, and almost any modern chip can be used for video output, since a video surveillance system is not so demanding on the performance of a video output board, unlike, for example, modern games.

The processor is the heart of any video surveillance system. Naturally, the performance of the entire system almost completely depends on the performance of the processor. A measure of processor performance is clock speed and architecture.

The clock frequency of the processor used in a hardware DVR (and in general in specialized single board computers) usually fluctuates between 500 and 1000 MHz due to the complexity of heat dissipation and the use of chip technology (at least three to four years old). Developing a board using the technologies of the current year costs a lot of money, the manufacturer first needs to recoup the previous development by selling already released boards. Manufacturers of computer motherboards and processors can afford this due to very high sales volumes. Sales volumes of DVR boards are thousands of times lower than sales volumes of motherboards for computers.

The clock speed of a modern computer is 3.2 GHz, which is 7 times the clock speed of a hardware DVR. It would be appropriate to note that the architecture of a modern processor with modern RAM brings an even more than twofold increase in performance. Thus, the performance of the computer is more than 14 times higher than the performance of the DVR.

Based on the above, it can be argued that the elemental composition of both devices is similar, so they have the same reliability. Moreover, a computer-based solution is much more productive.

In fairness it should be noted that the only factor that indirectly affects reliability is the use of several components (motherboard, video card, processor) instead of one (single board computer). But this factor can be neglected due to the fact that modern computer components have locks and latches that allow you to firmly fix the parts together and exclude poor-quality contact.

So where is the difference in reliability? We did not find it in the composition of the equipment. Maybe it is in the software installed on this equipment?

Software for two types of systems

First, consider the operating systems used. Hardware DVRs usually use various distributions of the Linux system, often compiled specifically for this device. Computer-based DVRs usually use the Windows system – as the most common at the moment.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (the latest version of Windows) according to experts, is comparable in its stability to the Linux system, but continues to concede to Linux in terms of protection from external influences due to a fundamentally different kernel architecture. At the same time, Windows XP has a much larger set of features, and it has become much more widespread. It is the prevalence factor that is decisive in assessing the reliability of both systems.

A large set of functionalities (not only related to surveillance) provoke users of video surveillance systems to use them, and general computer literacy in using Windows has created an army of pseudo-professionals who can install a computer game, but are not aware of the possible consequences of this action for a modern security system.

Modern games replace some system files, making it difficult or impossible for the video surveillance system to work. Taking all the resources of the processor, they do not allow the system that is initially quite demanding on them to function normally. And even if users do not play on the computer, they are able to completely disrupt the system with a few unskilled actions (delete a file, change boot options, etc.). Even if the video surveillance system replaces Windows Explorer and loads before the shell, the guards know perfectly well how to switch between tasks and load another program.

Linux does not have such a wide range of software tools and so many users familiar with it. In addition, in hardware DVRs, access to the system is usually limited. The user can only perform predefined actions.

Therefore, Linux-based systems are much more reliable than Windows-based systems due to the large number of users who can influence the work of the latter, and also due to the impossibility of completely restricting access to Windows service functions.

System resistance to external threats

Consider the reliability of systems protection from external influences (virus attacks and targeted actions from an external network, such as the Internet). The Linux system is certainly much more protected than Windows, although at this point in time there have already been viruses that can disable this system as well.

The main vulnerability of both systems are open ports through which data is transmitted. But if the video surveillance software transmits data through several predefined ports, then using a software firewall that provides a security barrier between the computer and the Internet, the possibility of virus infection is almost eliminated.

Thus, with proper software writing and the use of a firewall, both systems are equally reliable in terms of protection from external influences.

Video Surveillance Software

Typically, a computer-based digital video surveillance system has more flexibility than a pure hardware solution. This is due to the fact that, using the common platform of the Windows operating system, it is much easier to create a wide range of subsystems with different functionality, as well as to integrate the developments of other manufacturers, both software and hardware. A computer video surveillance system can be integrated with a cash desk in a retail store, work in conjunction with an access control system, recognize license plates and people’s faces, integrate IP video cameras and IP video servers, work in conjunction with fire and security alarm systems. The average DVR does not have any of the above features.

Even when considering only video-related system functionality, hardware DVRs are inferior to computer-based solutions, having a smaller set of functionality and, accordingly, less flexibility in adapting to customer requirements. It should also be noted that the DVR has a hard-coded functionality, and if you need to expand it, you will have to change the DVR, while with a computer-based solution, it is usually enough to add or update the software.

An important factor is that a purely hardware solution has a significantly lower performance – as a result of lower processor performance, therefore, other things being equal, the system cannot perform more than a certain minimum of actions. As a result, hardware solutions often cannot simultaneously display real video and a video archive, while continuing to record the image to the hard drive, because they simply do not have enough resources. There is nothing to say about video transmission over the network. If it is, then with a significant decrease in quality and FPS.

The reliability of video surveillance system software is determined primarily by the professionalism of the developer company. Approaches to creating software are the same when using any operating system. Quality control services operate on a similar principle. Often, the same programming languages ​​are used, and it is not uncommon for a system, being written for one operating system, to be ported (that is, simply transferred) to another.

In this regard, the software of video surveillance systems cannot be a factor that gives an advantage to one of them.

Thus, we see that the software of digital video surveillance systems based on a computer is much more functional than hardware video recorders. At the same time, the reliability of the software is the same and depends on the professionalism of the developer company.

User Interface

This is the third factor that affects system reliability. A hardware DVR usually has a control panel placed on the front surface of the device. A computer system typically uses a keyboard and mouse.

Of course, it is equally easy for a person who has read the instructions to understand both the buttons on the front panel of the video recorder and to study the software interface of a computer video surveillance system. At the same time, it should be noted that the computer system interface should not be similar to the DVR front panel interface, but should use standard Windows system solutions that are intuitively understandable to any novice user.

An important factor in ensuring reliability is access to the settings of the video surveillance system. In hardware solutions, settings are usually not easily accessible, while in computer-based solutions, the user usually has easy access to settings and can easily disrupt the system.

The factor influencing the efficiency of work with the video surveillance system is the use of the computer keyboard. When working, far from the entire keyboard is used (usually only the keys for entering numbers are involved), but psychologically, the inclusion of the user in the work is nevertheless complicated (imagine a DVR with 104 buttons on the front panel!). This applies even to those users who consider themselves able to work on a computer. A computer mouse is usually not perceived as a complex device due to the simplicity and speed of learning to work with it.

A detailed analysis of both types of DVRs allows us to draw the following conclusions.

  • Hardware DVR and computer based DVR are identical at the device level and therefore equally reliable. At the same time, a computer-based system is much more functional and productive.
  • The Windows operating system is less reliable than Linux due to the user’s ability to influence its operation.
  • The software of operating systems is equally reliable in terms of protection against influences from external networks.
  • The advantage of a hardware DVR over a computer-based DVR is influenced by the human factor – easy access to system settings and the presence of a keyboard are important.

Director General of the company “Steelsoft”
Yu.P. Stoyanov


Stoyanov Yu.


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Types and technical parameters of video recorders

DVRs are used in video surveillance systems to receive, process, record and store video images from surveillance cameras, broadcast video on monitor screens, transmit over a local or global network and archive video images.

Proper selection of a video recorder will ensure not only the safety and quality of video images, but also the effectiveness of the video surveillance system as a whole, since its main task is to record unauthorized actions.

DVR types:


Digital video recorders DVR – digital video recorder – are used to digitize, record, store and broadcast video from analog cameras. The devices are quite easy to connect and operate. A coaxial cable is used to connect to CCTV cameras.

DVRs are actively used in security systems, as they are characterized by low cost, good quality and rich functionality, as well as the ability to integrate and consolidate with additional security systems, such as: video intercoms, fire alarms, actuators, access control systems.

Recently, analog video surveillance and video coding systems have achieved significant breakthroughs, which has made it possible to create new types of analog-to-digital video surveillance, and, accordingly, new types of digital video recorders:

  • HD-SDI video recorders are designed to digitize and record video images from HD-SDI standard camcorders, which are equipped with megapixel lenses and matrices and are capable of broadcasting high-quality FullHD video.
  • 960H standard DVRs record from analog video cameras that work on the basis of progressive Sony Effio DSP video signal processors, which allows shooting at a resolution of 700TVL


Network video recorders NVR – network video recorder – store the video stream broadcast from network IP surveillance cameras. A network video recorder is a typical video server with video surveillance software installed, because unlike a digital video recorder, a network video recorder does not digitize or process the video stream, since IP cameras broadcast the video image already in a digitized and compressed format.

Distinctive features of network IP video recorders is the support of a large number of network protocols, which allows for multi-channel broadcasting of video images, access to archives and video system settings via a local network or the Internet. Also, the NVR DVR provides the flexibility to expand and upgrade the system, since to connect an IP camera to the system, it is enough to connect it to an existing network via a local cable or Wi-Fi connection with a router.

Hybrid DVRs

Hybrid HVR video recorders are a symbiosis of digital and network video devices, since they can record video from both analog and network cameras at the same time. Thus, combined video recorders are an excellent option for objects with an existing analog-digital video system, which will expand and upgrade it with the installation of additional network cameras.

Hybrid video recorders combine all the advantages of both types of video systems, however, as a rule, they have limited resources, since a sufficiently large system computing power is required to work with network and analog video cameras at the same time. Therefore, when choosing a hybrid hdvr video recorder, pay detailed attention to all the characteristics and consider the possibility of expanding the video system.

Key Features of DVRs

All video recorders, regardless of their type, budget segment or equipment, have basic technical characteristics that determine their compliance and compatibility with other components of the video system, as well as their capabilities in terms of quality, expansion, additional functions, etc.

Number of video channels (connected video cameras)

DVR channels are called inputs for connecting CCTV cameras, so this parameter is fundamental when choosing a DVR. Thus, when choosing a registrar by channels, you only need to decide on the number of cameras that will be used as part of your video surveillance system.

Among the DVRs, the most common are 4-camera DVR, 8-camera DVR and 16-camera DVR. There are also DVRs with 32 and 64 channels, and network video devices support the expansion of the number of video channels.

Hybrid DVRs usually do not have many video inputs, and in most cases support an equal number of channels for individual camera types, for example, 8 analog and 8 network cameras.

Video quality

The quality of video recording that can be obtained using a DVR primarily depends on the cameras used and their technical characteristics. Also, the quality of video recordings is affected by the following characteristics of DVRs:

  • Compression algorithm (compression method, compression codec).
  • Frame rate (video recording speed).
  • Video resolution.

Compression algorithm or compression method is a software package according to the method by which the video signal is digitized and compressed. At the moment, the following algorithms are the most common:

  • MJPEG is the oldest video encoding format, uses frame-by-frame compression typology, which is characterized by a large volume of output video recordings, so videos in this format take up more space on the hard disk. In addition, the video quality in this format is worse than other encoding methods. In IP video surveillance systems, this format is used as a secondary format for broadcasting video to monitors.
  • MPEG4 is one of the most advanced and widely used video formats. An algorithm of this type consists in fixing not individual frames, but only those changes that have appeared in comparison with the previous frame, which allows to significantly reduce the size of output video recordings, approximately ten times, in comparison with MJPEG.
  • H.264 is the latest MPEG-4-based advanced coding format that is currently the most widely used. Significant differences compared to the previous encoding method are improved color rendering and video clarity, as well as better compression – video recordings take up almost half as much free hard disk space as MPEG-4.

Frame rate or FPS recording rate is a characteristic that determines the number of frames captured by the recorder in one second. The optimal speed for good perception, realism and informativeness is FPS 25 frames per second.

It is far from always worth it to “chase” high speed, since for some cases a speed of 15 fps or less will be enough. Recording at real-time speed is needed to fix high-speed objects, therefore, for home security or parking monitoring, you can choose a device with a lower recording speed for each channel, which will significantly affect its price.

Also, don’t confuse write speed with display speed. The second parameter characterizes the frame rate displayed on monitor screens.

Video resolution is the horizontal and vertical frame size in pixels in which video recordings are saved. The video recording resolution directly determines the quality of the video, because the higher the resolution, the better the picture is detailed, which means that you can see all the details more clearly.

The resolution of analog cameras does not exceed the PAL standard, that is, 720 by 576 pixels, so for DVRs, this is also the maximum resolution, which is called full frame or D1. There are also resolution options CIF 352*288, 2CIF or 2HD1 – 704*288 pixels. DVRs of the 960H standard provide recording from modern progressive analog cameras 700 TVL, so video recording also corresponds to the format – 960H – 960 * 576 pixels.

When using high-performance HD-SDI cameras and recorders of a similar standard, you can compress and save video images in resolutions up to 1920 by 1080 pixels – FullHD. Network video recorders and the “network part” of hybrid recorders do not digitize and compress video, but receive a video stream in a ready-made format, so the recording quality directly depends on the network video surveillance cameras used.

Additional tips on basic parameters

IP cameras and NVR NVRs have pre-installed software for working with video streams, so some devices in this segment may not correspond to each other. For selection, you must either choose models of both types of devices from the same manufacturer or purchase devices that are compatible with ONVIF or PSIA standards.

When specifying the quality of DVRs, keep in mind that some manufacturers often use some kind of marketing ploy, indicating the overall speed of the system or the highest resolution relative to one channel. If you specify the recording speed for the entire system, for example 60 fps, then you need to divide it by the number of channels, for example 4 channels, which will correspond to 15 fps per channel.

If the specifications indicate the maximum resolution, then it is possible that it corresponds to recording at the lowest speed, so this parameter should be clarified. Most DVRs have the ability to configure each channel, which allows you to set individual parameters for speed, resolution and compression method for each camera. It is also possible that the maximum resolution only matches when using some channels, and when all available channels are active, the resolution will be reduced.

Video archives

To record archives in video recorders, HDD hard drives are used, which are installed inside the case. When choosing a DVR, pay attention to the number and size of supported hard drives. Most modern devices have the ability to connect up to two HDDs no more than 3 TB each.

Also, DVRs can be equipped and support additional sources for saving archives, for example, with an eSata interface, you can connect RAID arrays or JBOD storage, and additional USB ports allow you to connect external hard drives or USB flash memory to create backups.

DVRs that support network protocols (including digital DVRs) can save video recordings to remote FTP servers or NAS network disk storages.

To determine the optimal amount of hard drive that will be enough to record video for the required period of time, you can use the formula:

S = N*F*V*T*0.0824 , where:

  • S – amount of disk space (GB)
  • N – the number of channels on which the recording is carried out
  • F – frame size (kB) (depends on the compression format, see the specifications of the video recorder)
  • V – recording speed per channel (fps)
  • T – time during which it is necessary to record (number of days)

You can also use an indicative table of output sizes, for example, according to the H. 264 format.

Recorder operating modes

Depending on the modes supported by the registrar, you can significantly increase the efficiency of the video surveillance system and reduce the size of archives, since video images will not be saved in a constant mode, but only according to the criteria set by the mode. The following video recording modes are available:

  • Permanent record.
  • Scheduled.
  • By motion sensor.
  • By triggering security external sensors.


IP NVRs are usually equipped with a set of networking capabilities, so those options that relate to digital devices can also be fully equipped with NVR devices. Among the networking options may be the following options:

  1. Connecting a 3G modem to establish a connection via the Internet.
  2. WEB interface provides access to the main functions of the device through remote computers.
  3. Support connection via mobile phones, smart phones and tablets.
  4. The DDNS client allows you to set up external access without acquiring a static IP address.
  5. Support for cloud services makes it possible to establish a connection without configuring network settings and send video recordings to the cloud storage for backup.
  6. Sending notifications and photos to e-mail when a digital motion sensor or external security sensors are triggered.


Additional features of DVRs can significantly increase the efficiency of the system and improve the operation process, however, they are not key and their absence has little effect on the operation of the system, in contrast to the cost.

  • Availability of audio channels – you can record sound from microphones on cameras or separate ones, synchronously with the video stream.


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