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best value NVR? home surveillance

kfinch
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I keep seeing Reolink setups for black friday deals but dont know much about them or if other setups would be a better value, i have a baby due newyears and want to get some sort of camera setup with motion alerts if nothing else for when the wife is home alone.  

 

I guess PoE camera sytems seem to be the best bet as running wiring is difficult enough for one cable and true wireless dont have 24/7 capabilites. 

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2 hours ago, kfinch said:

want to get some sort of camera setup with motion alerts if nothing else for when the wife is home alone.

Will the cameras be inside or outside?
Motion detection on most budget cameras (and NVRs) is just difference checking in a series of images, no AI or any kind of "smart" filtering... so while you can define a grid in which motion should be detected and set the sensitivity (how much difference is tolerable) it will take a lot of fine tuning to filter out false alarms but keep what is important, and IMHO you will never get it just right... especially if you are recording something outside your house. Car headlights, cats & dogs, wind moving branches & leaves, insects landing the lens, heck even just transitions from day to night (when IR is toggled on/off) will most probably trigger it... and that is a problem, the more false alerts you receive the more you will get accustomed to ignoring them. 

Spoiler

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Don't take my word for it, read other reviews heh:

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On the topic of false alerts, there are some steps you can take to improve them during nighttime. Don't use integrated IR lights, as those will draw some insects to it, instead check if there is an option to turn it off on the camera and then install a separate IR floodlight that turns on during the night, mount it at least a meter or two away from the camera(s). Spiders might also be a problem (depending on the climate you are in), lubricating the outer housing with something bugs won't eat (like Teflon spray or vaseline) can help.
 

Crude motion detection even with false alerts isn't totally useless. If something does happen (like property damage or theft) it makes it far easier to find out when it happened, especially if you have been away for days/weeks (you don't have to scrub through hours of recordings). Also, it can help you save on cloud storage and internet consumption on metered connections, I've set up my system to record 24/7 on a local hard drive, but events triggered by motion detection are uploaded to the cloud immediately, so even if someone breaks in and finds the HDD I still have the most important data in the cloud.
 

All that being said, "dumb" motion detection can be useful, just don't set your expectations too high, and honestly, I wouldn't trust it for the use-case you have in mind (making sure your wife is safe while you are away, relying on notifications generated by "dumb" motion detection).
 

As for AI-powered solutions, I don't know which systems are good and I don't like recommending stuff that I don't have personal experience with. You can check out one of the recent LTT videos where Linus and Luke automate AC in Linus's new house based not only presence of a person in a room, but also on who is in the room, might be worth checking out for you, if you are willing to spend a lot more (money and time heh).

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I use a $10 rpi zero w running motioneye with an old 720p webcam to monitor our front porch. It works well enough to catch and record any motion but yes, insects, lights and light transitions do sometimes trigger it to record. Currently it uploads the pictures and video to google drive, as well as saves them to a pen drive. The frame rate isn't great but could be improved if you were to use a pi 3,4 or lower the resolution.

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