How to record security video in a remote location from DVR?


New Member
I moved into a new house in October and it is wired with an indoor/outdoor CCTV system but no DVR or connectivity.  Just getting around to purchasing a DVR system with remote viewing but before I do, I have several questions.  Before I get to those, I'll explain the house layout.  The house is a split-level ranch with the master bedroom, office, living room, kitchen, dining room on the first floor.  The lower basement level has a family room, and three bedrooms.  The electrical breakers are in a small unfinished room behind one of the lower bedrooms.  The camera cables are routed into the closet in the main level office, which is directly above the electrical breaker room below.  My FIOS modem is out in the living room on the same floor.  I intended to purchase a security DVR to put in the office closet and then have someone run an ethernet line out to the FIOS modem so that I can remote view from any computer/smartphone/etc..  Then it hit me that if someone breaks in, he can simply steal the DVR along with other things and then I have no record of him.  I'm not sure you can even record the video feed on your smartphone if you were watching and plus, if you are away, you don't always have your phone on you or might be sleeping or have no service.  
My idea around the problem was to purchase a large gun safe (which I intended to buy anyway for my firearms) and get one from Cannon which has an ethernet and USB pass through along with electrical power.  I have the safe and it is moved into the basement electrical storage room in a cubby in the back section.  It is over 700 lbs and it's never coming out of the house or up the hill from the basement unless an army moves it.  I intend to finish the room and hide the safe behind a secret door so that it isn't visible.  I thought I could hook an external USB hard drive to the security DVR through the USB port - run a USB cable directly to the room below with the safe and keep the USB drive inside the safe to record the video (power and USB passthrough inside the safe).  However, upon reading the literature online, the USB external drive connection is not for a dedicated drive - only a USB backup.  You have to go online and copy the file you want to the drive - post facto.  That kind of defeats the purpose.  If they steal the DVR then I won't be able to back up the file later and I don't care about backing up days of useless video with no incident.
I'm looking for suggestions or options now on a way forward.  Some thoughts:
1)  I could build a lock box for the DVR in the closet or put up a fake wall and hide it behind that on the side of the closet.
2)  I could buy an old security DVR (non-working) from eBay and install it out in the family room under the TV and route some dummy BNC cables out of it and into the wall behind the DVR where the satellite dish cables come into the space.  Then put a small label on the front saying "security camera DVR" and maybe they will steal that one instead and never look for the real one.
3)  I could put a small computer in the safe (mini-tower) and connect is using the ethernet passthrough.  Then I could view the security feed on that PC just like any remote PC or smartphone.  I would just need some sort of video-capture software to record it to the PC hard drive.  Not sure the best way or program to do this.  
4)  some security DVRs have an HDMI output.  Is it possible to run the HDMI cable down to another DVR and use that as the input for the second DVR and record that to video?  (I could probably drill out a second hole for a HDMI passthrough in back of the safe)
5) remote video hosting on a cloud server?  That would be the optimal solution but I can't really find a company that does that.  I'd really prefer to record 7 day clips off-site and then just record over them in a loop.
Any thoughts or suggestions???
Its probably a bad idea to put any continuously running equipment in a small enclosed space, like a safe, unless you have adequate ventilation for heat dissapation. 
Even if you do get a great picture of the robber, its very unlikely the cops will care.    Property crimes rate low on their "to do" list.
How about Speco's covert DVR's? I've installed a few and a non-descript metal enclosure installed somewhere and wall mounted is a pretty nice start.
If you're worried about redundancy, then you should be looking at a multiplexer and then splitting the video, and from that point you could ship video to the cloud via a service (TBD) and record locally. Personally, I wouldn't count highly on a strictly cloud based model as of's a shift in the market that I think isn't quite right for many and has inherent risks.
As far as the safe, based on personal experience and thefts, it'll deter the casual criminal, however if someone wants it, 700# isn't difficult to move and I've seen it more times than people would think.
I assume you are going to bolt the safe down?  Should be fairly easy to do and makes it a bit more difficult to move.
On the recorder you could look at zoneminder.  It's a free Linux program that does motion detection and recording to a hard drive.  It could be set up to send video to a remote site.  But if you are doing that better make sure they can't just cut your internet cable.  Maybe arrange a wireless link to a neighbor and have a backup there.  You could hide a disk or two in other locations.  Putting a disk in the safe might create a heat problem as was mentioned - definitely an issue if you put the whole PC there.  Probably better to just hide a redundant unit in some out of the way place that is likely to be overlooked.
There are probably commercial programs that do similar things.
The safe is very large and spacious and will definitely be bolted down.  Plus there is only about an inch on either side and it's back up against a wall in a little alcove so no room to pry it from the side or push it forward.  It will be hidden behind a secret door and the room is a perfect square with the alcove blocked off so it wouldn't look suspicious.  I suppose that I could just keep a mini-tower + monitor up on top of the safe in that hidden location and do a video capture from the internet feed. At least that gives me a secondary recording, even if it isn't locked up, it is still hidden.