One thing that's always had an interest with me was finding out what it'd take to set up my own home surveillance system? I don't live in a terrible area, but crime isn't unheard of either. A security system can be confusing and not easily understood. Some may be intimidated by its price tag, but there are some companies like LaView™ that offers inexpensive DIY kits. When it's all said and done, there isn't much more evidence beyond the fact that getting someone caught on camera is priceless, as opposed to just sounding an alarm for a home intruder. A home surveillance system has the ability to document and prove someone was there, which could potentially lead to an arrest. This is why today we're going to take a closer look at the LaView™ CUBE series 8 Channel Complete Security System, LV-KD5184C-G5.
Out of the box
The name of this unit, CUBE is probably because of its shape and size. Unlike most standard DVR that are a rectangular shape and twice its size, this one is a square and the shape of a cube. None the less, it's surprisingly straight forward. This is a DVR, which at its core, functions a lot like any other DVR, the difference you find with this DVR is the focus on security instead of television. This set comes with four cameras and has the capacity for up to eight cameras. The four included cameras are equipped with metal casings and sun guards, these are indoor/outdoor cameras, and they're armed for day and night vision, with a range of up to 50 feet in the dark. The DVR unit itself comes pre-installed with a 500 GB hard drive and has a lot of extended features for monitoring your feed.
The first-hand experience
I did a first test of the unit just sitting next to my desk. Depending on how or where you'll be installing this, you'll be running some wires, so it's good to know you have it all working and understood before you're crawling around your attic running the wires in-case you find you need to troubleshoot this unit. Everything powered up and worked perfectly as expected. It would be a great asset if the LaView™ DVR came with Wi-Fi Built-In (no one out there has a built-in function yet), but it was good to get in and play around with it a little bit. If you can connect it to the internet and really go over the configuration with a monitor attached to it right there, then I'd recommend it, since odds are, this will be the most comfortable setup you'll be able to run on this unit.
I'll give the warning now, setting this up is pretty simple, the actual work comes from placing the cameras somewhere useful. I made the decision that this was going to be a little hidden away. If a worst case scenario ever arose, I have enough computer gear in my basement that I could tell someone "that's where the feed from the cameras go" and I don't think it'd be questioned. I mounted the base unit in an attic. It has easy access for me to run lines for the cameras and a network line to attach to my home network. Each camera comes with 60 feet of cable, so getting them where I wanted them wasn't going to be any kind of problem. Even though it's an easy setup, you'll get a bit of a workout running the lines in a clean way through attics or crawl spaces.
Everything mounts pretty easily. Each camera has mounting screws and a paper template for the holes in-case you need to predrill or use some drywall spacers for inside use. You can easily rotate the cameras, and adjust the angle. Even the sun guard has some room to adjust.
Now for the software side
These cameras come with a lot of options for monitoring. Just using the unit itself, you can set it to record and overwrite the older recordings. You can record by Schedule, Continuous and Motion Detection. You can also set up external storage for Backing up video footage and alarm can be send to it. Being able to setup Dropbox Account allows you to send a video backup to the Dropbox folder to share the link with ease to authorities and anyone you wish to send the video, as well as it can save snapshots of whatever the camera is looking at in case of a motion triggered alarm. This system comes with software to remotely do a great deal of work, but if you really want to get down into the settings, you'll want to plug in a HD TV or Monitor, (you'll want the increased resolution to read the menu's) to really go through all of the settings with a fine toothed comb.
Aside from software on my computer, LaView™ allows remote monitoring. There are a few options for this, but the one that I really loved was that you can remotely tap into your system with their app (LaView Live) to view live feeds of the cameras. Their app is available for Android and iPhones, and if you're savvy enough to know how to use a QR code (if you're reading this article, I can assume you are), then the setup of this system provides you with a QR code to download your app and the login credentials to get it all setup.
This unit also allows something called a P2P viewing. Peer to peer viewing allows you to use a web browser, log into www.laviewcloud.com, and with just your DVR Device ID and Password, you can tap in and view any of your cameras – without port forwarding. This great feature helps out a lot to anyone that are not tech savvy or don’t know how to get around their own router. P2P is like magic, Connect the cat5 cable to the dvr and your set to see it anywhere.
With a running timestamp on the camera feeds, you know that the feed is active, and you can feel pretty good knowing that nothing is going on at home even when you aren't at home.
Coming in at under $200 for the complete kit, the LV-KD5184C-G5 CUBE Series Compact 8 Channel DVR system from LaView™ is a lot to say, but a really great deal. Running the lines can be complicated if you want it to, but wired systems are still more stable and reliable than wireless. A couple hours over one day is all the work that you'll need to put into this. Configuring it, though you can spend an incredible amount of time really going over every single aspect if you want, is pretty easy to get off the ground and running, giving you time to come back when you have the free time. The ability to remotely monitor everything as well is a HUGE plus, after all, we're getting a system like this because we want the added sense of security, so being able to plug into it remotely gives you exactly what you're looking for. For the price, ease of configuration, and the ability to expand this unit to eight cameras, I think it'd be hard to find a better solution for simple home security! Make sure you check out LaView on Facebook and Twitter to connect with them directly.