Channel Vision DVR opinions?


Senior Member
I am no DVR expert, so I am looking for opinions on this unit. Are there any major features it is missing?
Channel Vision 16-Channel H.264 Network DVR (No hard drive)

1 minor shortcoming I see is no RS-232 port and no listing of what PTZ cameras are supported. So I doubt it would work with the Panasonic BC-10A I have. Oops, I guess that is a major feature I missed... no support for IP cameras. But I haven't seen a 16channel hybrid (IP and analog) DVR for close to this price.
Check out the Q-see stuff on You can get a 16 channel h.264 network DVR with 16 outdoor cams for under $1k. The cameras are analog, not IP. But that's a good price for something like that. Comes with a hard drive also. And, if it sucks, they'll take it back.

They have an 8 channel version for $499 also.
It seems to match the specs of other low end DVRs. Keep in mind that if you want to record at the highest resolution, you will only get 7.5FPS.

I am personally looking for one that can do 30fps PER channel, supports web browsers without having to rely on an activex object (so it will work with other browsers and/or HA), and would like ability to receive e-mails (with a snapshot) when motion has been detected. But none of the cheaper ones seem to offer these features.

Are you looking to integrate this with your home automation?
The Q-see at Costco looks interesting. The Q-see documentation is certainly more English than the Channel Vision manual. The bare DVR (no cameras) is only $650 at Amazon. Amazon is good at returns too and I don't have a Costco membership.

I don't think I am overly concerned with frame rate, which may be a mistake in hindsight. But I usually only record at 2 FPS now to keep the CPU load light in Active Webcam. That is good enough to give me a pretty good idea what is going on. If I switch to motion based triggering instead of 24/7 recording, then I could probably up the frame rate.

No, I don't think I will be doing much in the way of HA integration (which again may be shortsighted, but I have to start someplace) at least as far as using the images in a GUI or Touchscreen. As long as I am not planning on much HA integration, does that mean ActiveX still sucks? I don't think I mind being forced to use IE for this purpose.

I do plan to tie the DVR alarms in & outs to some Elk M1 in & outs, but I don't know the specifics yet. The Q-see has 4 alarm outputs compared to the CV single output, so that is an advantage.

It looks like I need to learn more about CIF and D1 also. It appears that CIF limits the max image size, regardless of how good my camera is.
Costco has a DVR *with* cameras for $499. It's $50 for a membership, so the total comes in less than the Amazon price and you are getting cameras also. If it sucks, you can return it at any Costco store so you don't have to deal with shipping.

If you're tying it in with the ELK, then you're doing HA integration. And ActiveX sucks because you have to use IE for the video stream. No video to your phone, no video to non-windows platforms. IE is a horrible browser anyway. If you can get a raw video stream out of the box, it opens up a world of possibilities for integrating the video with 3rd party products.

ActiveX makes my life hell. I have to use a Linux or OSX box for my job, and products that require ActiveX to work irritate me to no end since I either have to boot a VM or RDP into another box. Argh! Now I'm angry. :(
Costco has a DVR *with* cameras for $499.
But that is an 8 channel DVR bundle for $499 and I am pretty sure I will want more than 8, so I have been focusing on 16 channel units. The 8 channel Costco/Q-see DVR looks totally different than the 16 channel and has significantly different model numbers. Dunno if it has more or less features, but it looks like there is no big brother to the 8 channel model. There are 4 & 8 channel little brothers to the 16 channel model.
I think you will regret going the cheap route, but I do understand that the good ones are just too expensive. Heck, you could get 1 8 channel unit, and add another one later. This way if 1 unit fails, chance are the other one is still running, so you have some redundancy. While researching a new DVR/cameras earlier this week, I found this online store which has some good links:
we tried to integrate q-see into our mobile phone software and in the end could not and i even went through the proper channels with them. to be fair many dvr manufacturers have the same issue. they are developed for a pc/microsoft world and actually need to take a step back to open up for apps like our mobile one. in fact we only support 4 or 5 dvr manufacturers directly in our app as compared to 70+ ip camera manufacturers.

avtech is another company with some pretty cheap pricing and good bang for the buck at that level.

you may want to check out nuvico's apex lite line also. we just added support for them in our app but i don't remember offhand the pricing for the line itself. they are typically on par with mid level pricing.