The Amcrest 960H Video Security System Four 800+TVL is one of the many DVR/camera systems that are trying to vie for your attention. There are some good things but there are some bad things too, but all are marketed as the ultimate in video detection.
On the buyer’s end, there are so many of these out there that it’s getting harder for most people to make a buying choice. It good to note also that the Amcrest is a wired system, so if you have anathema towards wires around the house then you have to look for other wired review gadgets on this site.
- 800 TVL (see below what it means)
- Mobile connectivity
- 500GB hard drive
- Relatively easy set-up
- Night vision
- 65-foot visual range
- Great motion detection
- Fixed cameras — a little movement would have been great
With the fact that Amcrest is a cabled system, the set-up time is going to be longer than with Wi-Fi. There’s some work to be done like running the cables up walls and down the backs of chairs so nobody sees them. So the set-up is expected to go for about an hour or two.
Most people should be able to follow the manual and get it done by themselves, without calling some electrician in who will make you work overtime next week to pay him off. After you got the cameras set up, you go to the DVR and it will do the rest for you.
The Amcrest 960H includes a 500GB hard drive, which is a bit surprising because some systems in this price range don’t feature a hard drive at all, and others don’t have one this big.
The benefits are debatable. It depends on the user. On the one hand you could keep six full days’ worth of footage on the hard drive and it’ll go on there automatically without you having to do anything. Looking at it another way they could have lowered the price by $50 with the money they saved by not including the Hard Drive. You’d still be able to save recorded videos to your computer through the VGA connection, and to your phone or tablet via the mobile network.
But without the hard drive, you’d have to go online and click record yourself. You’d also have to choose which hours in the day you want recorded, so having a hard drive significantly takes away all the stress. You can then use your mobile devices for viewing and monitoring purposes.
The mobile functions are pretty easy. Whenever you’re away from home, you’re always wondering and worrying about what happens in your house, so you want to ave a quick peek at it.
So you take your phone, go online to your network, and look on any of the four channels you want. Each of the cameras has its own channel. Now with the hard drive you know it’s all being recorded, so you’re just monitoring. You can take photos of live events from your phone and get readings from the motion detector too.
You’re basically beaming up into your DVR and controlling the system almost as if you where at home. The mobile function gives you that extra peace of mind.
What is TVL and how good is Amcrest’s 800 TVL?
If you believe Amcrest, their 800 TVL you get here is the best thing since the wheel was invented. Never believe manufacturers.
“TVL” stands for “Television Lines” and it’s an alternative rating system to HD. Amcrest’s 800 TVL is around about 720p HD. So if you think in terms of HD you got 720p.
It’s not exactly the incredible detail and futuristic beautiful images Amcrest have described on their website, but 720p is still a great picture for the price. If you watched TV at 720p you’d be thinking you had a clear viewing experience. And clarity is what you get here. I noticed no distortions in the pictures and the footage was never jumpy so whether you record or view live, you’ll be able to see it perfectly. It’s not 1080p but you’re also not paying 400 bucks for this product either.
Amcrest’s four cameras are all fixed so you won’t be able to move them around but they do have some good specs. As per usual with fixed cameras they have the wide angle lens. It doesn’t fully make up for the lack of movement or flexibility but unless you live in a huge house you’ll still get full coverage.
You can see out to 65 feet away night or day which is not as much as the 100 feet you get on some models in this price range. So if you have wide tracts of land, maybe one of those longer range camera systems would be better for you.
But, I think most people don’t have much more than an acre or two and in those cases 65 feet should be fine. The night vision is pretty good too. It doesn’t have infrared and that’s probably how they still had enough money left to throw in the hard drive.
One of the best things about the system is the motion detection. You can change the motion detection in whatever calibration you want.
If you don’t want false alarms, just lower the sensitivity. However low you go it’ll always detect human movement and occurrences like breaking glass or forced doors. You can set a perimeter and turn off and on any zone you like. This is useful for when you’re out in the back garden doing work. Just turn off the zone you’re in. You can also command the system to do certain things in event of an alarm trigger. Things like send you an email, activate the buzzer or start recording. Very advanced motion detection for the money.
If you want a flexible camera, then the Amcrest UltraHD will not be for you. If you are okay with a fixed camera though, you do get the wide angle lens so there is full coverage across four cameras and with the hard drive everything is recorded.
The mobile connectivity gives you an additional peace of mind while you’re away from home and you’ll be able to go online anytime and record, view, monitor and take pics of what is happening at home, in real time. The picture is good, but not as good as Amcrest proclaimed it to be. While it’s the highest TVL rating you can get, it’s still only 720p. Still though, the pictures are clear so consumers should never had a problem with the quality of images. The motion detection really is next level futuristic stuff — zonal control, calibration controls — and it’s very responsive.