We have had the opportunity over the years to have a good amount of IP cameras in the lab for review. From the indoor baby cameras to high-end dome and Netgear Arlo that sits in its own niche.
TRENDnet has created a sizable portfolio over the years with outdoor, PoE and Cloud camera solutions and in today's article we have one of their newest solutions, the TV-DVR104K.
The DVR104K is a four channel HD CCTV surveillance kit. It comes complete with a compact 1TB DVR solution that features HDMI and VGA outputs while cameras connect via four BNC connectors. You can access the DVR and its four live streams via ethernet and two USB ports allow you to setup a keyboard and mouse.
The cameras feature a ½.7" CMOs sensor with an 82-degree viewing angle. They are capable of 1080p at 12FPS along with 720p and 960 x 576 at 22fps. The cameras are IP66 rated for dust and water intrusion along with having night vision capabilities at 20 meters.
Putting the two together, there are a few options for viewing and setting up your kit. First, we have the direct method over a TV or monitor via the HDMI port. This setup method requires the use of a mouse and keyboard connected directly to the DVR, a mouse is included with the kit.
The second method is over ethernet and the WebGUI, this requires a browser either IE9 or Safari 4.0 or higher but I have confirmed it working with the latest version of Chrome as well.
MSRP of the TRENDnet TV-DVR104K comes in at $199.99 with a two-year warranty.
Starting things off we have features of this DVR listed along the bottom. Above, an image of the DVR and Cameras.
On the backside, we have more features listed in several languages while above a diagram of the outputs and usability.
Included in the kit, we have the DVR, mouse and power adapter. On the camera side you will receive four of the units seen above along with four sets of wiring all of which plug into the one power adapter seen below.
The DVR is quite simple in design, a square box with TRENDnet branding and activity LEDs at the top left. Internally the enclosure is steel while the outside is kept durable with plastic.
On the backside, we have the four BNC connections for the cameras. This is followed by the HDMI and VGA ports for connecting your TV or monitor. We then have audio in and outputs and finishing up ethernet and two USB 2.0 ports.
The cameras are your typical bullet style with TRENDnet branding, each has a serious set of night vision LEDs on the front with the lens centered.
Connectivity is completed with female BNC and power connections.
DVR Setup and Software
I decided to go the route of using the browser to setup the DVR, this gives a menu similar to a home router. To start the landing menu is device settings, here you can change the DVR name on the network if you so choose.
Next up, the ability to create user accounts is available, within the add function to the right we see the popup menu that allows you to select the level of functionality while the bottom lets you select their permissions.
Live view is our next menu, this lets you configure how the four cameras are viewed along with setting recording settings and locations.
The maintenance menu is a shortcut to rebooting or restoring settings to the DVR. It also aide firmware upgrades.
The networking menu lets you configure the wired port as you see fit, default is DHCP.
Video formats lets you configure both stream 1 and 2 for each camera. The mainstream peaks at H.264 1080p 12fps while the sub-stream can do anything from 720p down to 352 x 288 at 22fps.
The events category offers motion detection setup along with tamper protection. You can also setup your email to be alerted if any of these occurs.
The DVR comes with 1TB of storage installed. This is replaceable by removing the top cover and swapping drives, you then find this menu and format your drive.
A secondary option is to setup a NAS to connect to the DVR, this is the menu to get that done.
Last, we have the view from our camera on a sunny day
Starting with the DVR itself, TRENDnet has put together a good entry-level platform for a small home or office. The DVR platform is quite durable due to its construction of a steel frame and plastics covering, that design too makes it easily upgradable with the removal of a few screws.
This platform is limited to four cameras with BNC connections so upgradability does take a hit their if you were to move to a larger location needing more cameras. On this same front I do find the 1TB HDD a bit paltry even for an entry-level platform, especially if it is setup for 24/7 recording.
The four included cameras do have some solid features like 1080p capability, IP66 certification and 20-meter night vision but corners were cut here as well. For instance, the entire camera enclosure and base is plastic and the frame rate of the cameras is limited to 12fps at 1080p. This doesn't make for a terrible experience when viewing direct but it is noticeably choppy when you have movement such as a car or pedestrian moving through the frame.
Setup of this solution is quite simple either with the WebGUI as I did it in the article or using the direct to TV method. I think for most you will spend more time running the wiring and setting up the cameras than doing any of the work with software or the app on iOS or Android.
Pricing is a huge plus for the DVR104K as MSRP is saying $199.99, this makes the TRENDnet kit a very attractive solution for a home or business as it is all inclusive and doesn't require a subscription for cloud access like some.
Adding to this, this platform offers meaningful features like motion detection, night vision and always on recording along with tamper protection and the ability to keep your data local or on a NAS.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: The DVR104K is a great solution for consumers wanting an all inclusive solution with a solid feature set at a low price point.
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