Recommendation for starting a home security system

sycoprime

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Hello all

I'd like to get a home security system set up with some cameras this year. There's an ... overwhelming amount of information available.

I'm hoping to get something that'll start me with a strong NVR base that won't need replacing, and from there, the minimum care and feeding.

The kits at Costco seem like least care and feeding, but also crap feature set and will probably need replacement before long.

I can't tell if I should build a PC and install Blue Iris,
buy a Dahua NVR directly (there's sellers on Amazon, I guess?)
or just get one of the Montavue kits on sale right now.

I had thought (based on looking at camera kits on slickdeals last year) that my price range would be ~$500, but it seems the Montavue kits are about double that, and I'll probably pay that amount or more just for a plain NVR.

I would really appreciate any guidance in this.
 

aristobrat

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Montavue is the first reseller I’ve seen that uses Dahua Starlight cameras. The Starlights have been the most popular models used by forum members here since they came out at the end of 2016, ... nothing else in that price range had better low-light performance.

This summer Dahua dropped a new series of Starlight+ models that are becoming the most popular models here. They’re in the same general price range as the old Starlights but perform even better in low light. They’re also 4MP; the previous Starlights were 2MP and nothing with a higher MP count did as well in low light. So when the 4MP Starlight+ models came out with higher MP and better low-light performance, it was a big deal. I don’t know if Montavue has the Starlight+ models.

I haven’t seen a consumer brand (like what you see as Costco) that makes cameras that use the same low-light tech found in the pro brands like Dahua/Hikvision. So if low-light performance is important to you, that limits camera selection to Dahua/Hik (and brands that resell those models, like Montavue or the super popular forum vendor Andy, @EMPIRETECANDY).

Regarding NVR vs Blue Iris, if you’re going to have other folks in the house that want to check the system to see live views of recorded alerts, I think Blue Iris is easier to use.

Instead of buying a one-size fits all kit, if you’ve got a few weeks to better plan out a system that is specific to your location/needs, I think you’ll wind up with a better system in the end.

If you can post a google maps image of your house along with some thoughts about where you want cameras, you’ll prob get some targeted advice. It’s a holiday weekend for most, so may be a little slow the next few days. :)
 

eggsan

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If is under your $500 budget, is difficult to beat the $399 price, which includes 4 metal housing cameras w/mic and poe NVR + 2 years warranty
 

SouthernYankee

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:welcome:
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Cameras are surveillance not security. Home camera systems are after the fact, what happened and who did it (maybe).

For Blue Iris you do not build a PC for scratch, you buy a used corporate work station and upgrade it a little bit, add and SSD and a surveillance disk drive.
You get what you pay for, It is better to buy just 2 good cameras to start and grow the system as you learn, then to spend your money on a big system that does not work the way you need.

Read,study,plan before spending money ..... plan plan plan
-----------------------------
My standard welcome to the forum message.

Please read the IP Cam Talk Cliff Notes and other items in the IP Cam Talk Wiki. The wiki is in the blue bar at the top of the page.

Read How to Secure Your Network (Don't Get Hacked!) in the wiki also.

Quick start
1) If you do not have a wired monitored alarm system, get that first
2) Use Dahua starlight cameras or Hikvision darkfighter cameras or ICPT Night eye cameras (Store | IP Cam Talk) if you need good low light cameras.
3) use a VPN to access home network (openVPN)
4) Do not use wifi cameras.
5) Do not use cloud storage
6) Do Not use uPNP, P2P, QR, do not open ports,
7) More megapixel is not necessarily better.
8) Avoid chinese hacked cameras (most ebay, amazon, aliexpress cameras(not all, but most))
9) Do not use reolink, ring, nest cameras (they are junk), no cloud cameras
10) If possible use a turret camera , bullet collect spiders, dome collect dirt and reflect light (IR)
11) Use only solid copper, AWG 23 or 24 ethernet wire. , no CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum)
12) use a test mount to verify the camera mount location. My test rig: rev.2
13) (Looney2ns)If you want to be able to ID faces, don't mount cams higher than 8ft. You want to know who did it, not just what happened.
14) Use a router that has openVPN built in (Most ASUS, Some NetGear....)
15) camera placement use the calculator... IPVM Camera Calculator V3

Cameras to look at
IPC-HDW2231R-ZS Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231RP-ZS Starlight Camera-Varifocal
IPC-HDW2231T-ZS-S2 Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231T-ZS-S2 2mp Varifocal Starlight Camera
IPC-HDW5231R-ZE Review-Dahua Starlight IPC-HDW5231R-ZE 800 meter capable ePOE
IPC-HFW4239T-ASE IPC-HFW4239T-ASE
IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED Review IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED (Full Color, Starlight+)
IPC-T5442TM-AS Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+ - 4MP starlight+
IPCT-HDW5431RE-I Review - IP Cam Talk 4 MP IR Fixed Turret Network Camera
DS-2CD2325FWD-I
IPC-T2347G-LU Review of the Hikvision OEM model IPC-T2347G-LU 'ColorVu' IP CCTV camera. (DS-2CD2347G1-LU)
N22AL12 New Dahua N22AL12 Budget Cam w/Starlight -- low cost entry

Other dahua 4MP starlight
My preferred indoor cameras
DS-2CD2442FWD-IW
IPC-K35A
If interested in Blue Iris and other setup items see the following post

Read,study,plan before spending money ..... plan plan plan
Test do not guess

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if you are interested in Dahua cameras, a forum member sells dahua and ships world wide. You can read some of the members recommendations on his service. He also provides cameras to other forum member for evaluation and reviews.
you can email him for a quote, or purchase from his Aliexpress store or his Amazon store.

Andy
@EMPIRETECANDY
kingsecurity2014@163.com
Andy's ipcamtalk vendor forum: Andy's AliExpress store: Andy's Amazon store:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

wtimothyholman

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One thing to add to the post by @SouthernYankee: a lot of choices for your surveillance system will depend on your knowledge about computers. If you are comfortable with computer systems, and understand the basics of networking (e.g., port forwarding through your home router), then a Windows system running Blue Iris, or a Mac running SecuritySpy, is the way to go. Nothing beats a fully customized system with the option of individually configuring every camera, and the ability to mix different styles of cameras with specific functions (e.g. LPR) as needed.

The problem with most NVRs is that the user interface is generally not very intuitive. Most people with NVRs are barely capable of operating them beyond the most basic functions. On the other hand, Blue Iris and SecuritySpy have much cleaner user interfaces with better documentation, and are regularly updated by their authors.

So my advice is to begin with a good PC or Mac as the foundation for your system if you feel comfortable going that route. Buy one or two good cameras for a start, to get the feel of what the system is capable of, then add more cameras as needed. You'll have a much better idea of where you want to place additional cameras once you have some experience with your initial setup.

One other bit of advice: a $19 Wyze cam is a great little tool for temporarily setting up outside doors and windows to get an idea of the area of coverage for a more permanent Dahua Starlight camera.
 

sycoprime

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Y'all really like Blue Iris, huh? And it only works on Windows / Mac? No support for Linux? (I don't even see mention of mac).
So that $30 / year keeps it up to the latest version?
I don't see any mention on the site for things like motion detection, or other features many of the NVRs boast. Then again, that site ... looks like it could use some help.
Is there a better feature list for BI somewhere?

I can put the PC together, I was just hoping the NVR would give me a solid starting ground, without having to finnick to get everything working. And save me specing out each PoE+ switches, raid controllers, etc.
Even just looking at the switch suggestions here is ... a lot.

@wtimothyholman are the Wyze cams not part of the "chinese hacked cameras" warned about in #8?
 

wtimothyholman

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Y'all really like Blue Iris, huh? And it only works on Windows / Mac? No support for Linux? (I don't even see mention of mac).
So that $30 / year keeps it up to the latest version?
I don't see any mention on the site for things like motion detection, or other features many of the NVRs boast. Then again, that site ... looks like it could use some help.
Is there a better feature list for BI somewhere?

I can put the PC together, I was just hoping the NVR would give me a solid starting ground, without having to finnick to get everything working. And save me specing out each PoE+ switches, raid controllers, etc.
Even just looking at the switch suggestions here is ... a lot.

@wtimothyholman are the Wyze cams not part of the "chinese hacked cameras" warned about in #8?
Blue Iris runs on Windows, and SecuritySpy on MacOS. If you want a Linux option, look at Blue Cherry (plus others such as Zoneminder). Blue Iris supports every feature that a standard NVR can provide, and more. The $29.95 / year ensures that the software will be upgraded and maintained, which is a bargain in the grand scheme of things. If that bothers you, Blue Cherry on Linux is open source. However, Blue Iris and SecuritySpy have been around for many years and should continue to be supported in the long run.

As for Wyze, the company is based in the U.S. The hardware is manufactured in China, but the firmware / software is domestic. For other cameras, buy a Dahua from @EMPIRETECANDY, and you'll won't get a cheap hacked camera.

If you're worried about Chinese hacking, then buying a cheap NVR should concern you as much as buying a cheap camera. If you are truly concerned about network security, forget the NVR, run a surveillance software package on your own computer, and use a managed network switch to put your cameras behind a VLAN (virtual LAN).
 
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fenderman

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Y'all really like Blue Iris, huh? And it only works on Windows / Mac? No support for Linux? (I don't even see mention of mac).
So that $30 / year keeps it up to the latest version?
I don't see any mention on the site for things like motion detection, or other features many of the NVRs boast. Then again, that site ... looks like it could use some help.
Is there a better feature list for BI somewhere?

I can put the PC together, I was just hoping the NVR would give me a solid starting ground, without having to finnick to get everything working. And save me specing out each PoE+ switches, raid controllers, etc.
Even just looking at the switch suggestions here is ... a lot.

@wtimothyholman are the Wyze cams not part of the "chinese hacked cameras" warned about in #8?
You dont need a feature list. You can download the demo that includes a pdf manual. You dont need a raid controller. I suggest you start with an NVR. This will allow you to truly appreciate blue iris when you want to throw the nvr against the wall.
 

sycoprime

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If you're worried about Chinese hacking, then buying a cheap NVR should concern you as much as buying a cheap camera. If you are truly concerned about network security, forget the NVR, run a surveillance software package on your own computer, and use a managed network switch to put your cameras behind a VLAN (virtual LAN).
You are absolutely right. Thank you all very much for your help. I'll start with some basics and build up.
 

AP514

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Great info here guys. I have been Lurking here for a few months and I am also looking at starting small and building up..Just so much info.....
 
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