Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB really everything viewstars37Rating: 3.7 Reviewed by Paul

 

The Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB is a security surveillance system that comes with 8 cameras and 500GB hard drive to give full coverage of your home or business and up to 16 days recording capacity. It also includes all the cables to install the cameras and DVR in your premises. One of its main attractions is that you get all this for a low affordable price.

 

               buy5._V192207739_                   The system does not include a monitor or cables to attach the monitor to the DVR to enable viewing of the video  so these do need to be bought or supplied separately. The system will work with most TVs and PC monitors and the cables can be bought for about $5. In addition if you want to view over the internet you will need to supply an Ethernet cable to plug into the router.

 

This system is designed for checking and keeping an eye   on  specific areas rather than wide open spaces and works at night as well as during the day. With this DVR kit you can see who is at front door or other entrances or exits, keep a check on your home when you are away from anywhere in the world. You can also see what is going when you have service people in your business or home .

Installation

To install the system in your home or business is relatively straightforward. You need to run the 60 ft cables from the DVR to where you want to mount your cameras. If you want to have a tidy installation it requires running the cables through your walls. You can extend the coverage by purchasing longer coaxial or dual purpose – video and power cables if the 60 ft cables included don’t reach.

You need to set the cameras up to view the area you want using the plastic adjusters and then screw in place. Be careful not break off the plastic heads of the adjusters or you will need to use pliers to tighten them. The metal casing of the camera is thin aluminum so you need to be careful not to damage them when installing however most people have no issues with this. The screws are short so you may want to replace with longer ones to be safe but I have not read of anyone having problems with the ones supplied.

The set up to view locally is easy to do and takes less than hour once cameras have been installed and plugged in. But, to view your cameras live or recording you need to supply a monitor (TV or PC) and a VGA cable as these are not included with the system.
Setting system up locally is where the easy bit finishes for most people. If you only want a system you can use locally you won’t have many issues with set up, it is when you want to view remotely that the issues start for many customers. This can be a difficult process if you are not used to setting up computer networks.

The instruction manual is not much help as it is badly organized and not written for those with limited experience. The company’s website has some useful information but it can take some time to find and navigate around. Sometimes the best answer is to use Google to search for the information on their site. The other good source of information is YouTube videos especially for setting up the remote access.

To set the system up for remote viewing over the internet or mobile devices you first need to set it up as part of your local network by plugging it into your router using an Ethernet cable that you need to source separately. You first need to set the system on your local network before you can set up to view remotely. To do this you need a windows computer and Internet Explorer. Additional information required is the IP address of your DVR which you find out once you have plugged it into the router. There are instructions on the Zmodo website in the knowledgebase on how to do this.

The next step is to forward the DVR ports and again this is explained on the website. If you do not have a Static IP from your internet service provider you need to request from your service provider or setup DDNS – see here for explanation http://kb.zmodo.com/index.php?action=artikel&cat=1&id=57&artlang=en I am not going into all the detail here this is just to let you know what is involved to set up system for remote viewing. It can be done but requires patience and determination to get it done if you are not familiar with this type of thing.

Fortunately, once that step has been completed the downloading and set up of the Zviewer App for iOS, Android and PC is straightforward and easy to set up for viewing remotely. For other smartphones there are other Apps you can download – see remote monitoring below.

Contract

There is no contract required to be signed to use the system or for remote viewing over the internet or smartphone or other mobile device.

Support

They have a mixed rating for customer support from customer reviews. At times the company can be difficult to contact on the phone and aren’t good at responding to emails. It can take numerous attempts to get through to them.  However, once you get hold of them most people find them helpful and able to work through any issues.

My experience is that they haven’t responded to my email questions and after waiting for 20 minutes on their live chat a couple of times I’ve been asked to email my questions which I did but haven’t received a response. I have not tried to contact them by phone

Their support hours are Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm CST so there is some scope to contact them outside of your working hours if you are setting up at home.

If you buy direct from their site they a 7 day money back period but you do get 30 day return period if you buy through Amazon. They also offer a restricted manufacturer’s warranty of 1 year.

Cameras

image qualityThe cameras can be mounted inside or outside and are rated as weatherproof, so should stand up to most weather conditions except extreme ones but are best mounted out of direct rain etc under cover of some sort. They work within the temperature range between 14 degrees Fahrenheit and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bullet cameras are 480 TVL horizontal with ¼” CMOS sensor and 6 mm lens. The angle of view is 54 degrees meaning you can see across 51ft at 50 ft away from camera. The angle of view is quite narrow so the cameras do need to be adjusted to the area you want to record and view carefully.

It is important to be aware that although the DVR gives you the ability to control cameras to pan/tilt and zoom the cameras included in this package give a fixed view only – they don’t have the functionality to pan, tilt or zoom. The product description does seem to imply that you can do this.

The quality of the images during the day and at night is okay and they are good for the price. For most purposes it will be acceptable but don’t expect to be able to see a crystal clear video. It works best up to 10 to 15 feet away and is best for enclosed areas but can be used for more open areas. During the day the video is in color although it can at times look faded or off color and at night it is black and white. The quality of picture when further away is acceptable but don’t expect to be able to see details like number plates.(The product description says 30 ft but that is not borne out by customer experience). If the quality at night is not sufficient you can purchase IR illuminators to help in getting a better image and see further.

The cameras do not come with the ability to record audio but the DVR does – if you want this functionality microphones and audio leads need to purchased and added separately.

The Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB gives you a good choice of options to record and monitor your house or premises. The options can be scheduled to happen at certain times during the day and week other than manual.

Manual – you can choose to do this it any time and it will override whatever mode you may have scheduled

Scheduled – you can set days or by the hour for the video to be recorded continuously, or motion detected or alarm sensor triggered

Motion – the DVR detects the motion and will record

Alarm – the system can be attached to alarm sensors to start recording when they are triggered. This can help in recording as someone comes through the door or window.  However this system does not offer this option.

Motion and Alarm – Although this is shown in the user’s guide this is not available. It gives you the option that when either a sensor is triggered or motion is detected the system will record for the time set.

Video Storage

Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB boxThe 500GB drive included in the DVR can record up to 16 days of video. Once it is full it starts to record over the oldest files. It is possible to backup the videos on to USB flash drives or USB DVD or CD-R.

With many of these type of systems it can be difficult to find the file you are looking for particularly when you have a lot of files. This system does help in making this easier by allowing you to jump to files to the date where motion has been recorded without going through all the files to get to them. It also allows you to fast forward, rewind and view frame by frame to allow you to skip over the video you don’t want to watch or conversely you can study at length where you see something suspicious or interesting.

The video is stored at CIF resolution which is the lowest acceptable resolution for CCTV so you are not going to get the highest quality images – they are going to be fuzzy especially when there is movement but you will be able to see what is going on. You’ll be able to see if someone is interfering with your cars or delivery points or be where they shouldn’t be. The resolution does mean you can store more video. The resolutions are: NTSC: CIF (352 x 240) / PAL: CIF (352 x 288).

Alarms

email alertsThis DVR system does not come with an alarm system and cannot be hooked up to work in conjunction with one but you could use the remote view function if you are notified by your system of an event.



 

Notification

You can set the system up to notify you and other users by email when it detects motion. It will send snapshots to your phone or computer at the rate you program in to the system. The snapshots are a bit fuzzy but are clear enough to let you know that something is happening at home or at your business and you can then checkout a live feed using the Zviewer App or other App.

Remote Monitoring

remote viewingRemote monitoring is easy to use and gives you the opportunity to view what is going on at home once it has been set up. As I talked about in the installation section of this review it is the set up that is difficult and takes patience and determination if you are not familiar with network set up terminology and tasks. This is an issue with setting up most DVR systems for remote viewing over the internet from a PC or smartphone.

The particular issue with Zmodo is that the instructions on doing this are not up to scratch and you may need to contact support or find videos and instruction through searching on the internet. There are some very good videos on YouTube that are very helpful.

To access remotely with a computer it needs to be a windows based one running internet explorer and you need to adjust the ActiveX settings. Accessing with a smartphone is easier once you’ve set up the system as there are Apps you can download to your

This gives you the functionality to view 4 cameras simultaneously but you cannot view all 8 at the same time so you will need to flick between the cameras if you want to view all 8 cameras. You can take snapshots and save them for future use.
The company has its own App you can use for iOS and Android devices called Zviewer. For windows devices the company recommends Naway, ASee, or QQeye and for Blackberry it suggests using iseeder.

To add users to the system the administrator needs to assign passcodes and user names from the DVR menus. Users can also be deleted using the menus and their access can also be restricted to certain functions when using the system locally.

Battery

The cameras and DVR are powered by connecting them to a power outlet with the cables and adaptors provided. The only device requiring a battery is the remote control and that is supplied when you buy it.

Sensors/Detection

It is possible to set the system up to work record when it detects movement. The recording time can be set to 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes.

The sensitivity of the motion detection can be adjusted between 3 setting – low, mid and high to help avoid detecting too much movement or not enough. Most people find these settings adequate for their needs with some reporting they can detect movement up to 90 feet from the cameras.

When setting up inside it is important to keep them pointed away from curtains that may get blown by air conditioning as you may end up with hours of video showing this.

To help avoid this and detecting your pets moving around you can manually block out areas from the motion detection. In this way again it can help with reducing the need to search through video where nothing of significance happens.

If you are using it inside at home you can schedule the system so that it is off when you are at home moving about so that your disk doesn’t fill up too quickly.  You can also set the cameras to have different schedules as you may want to have some on motion detection in areas where you restricted access or have valuables – such as when you are out and you want to check up on a babysitter.

The DVR

dvrTo use the system it requires a monitor to be plugged in. This needs to be supplied separately and can be a TV or computer monitor as well as the cables – either BNC or VGA depending on the monitor.

The system gives you flexibility to schedule the system to record continuously or when motion is detected or you can override it to record manually if you require. The DVR can support pan/tilt and zoom cameras but the cameras supplied with this system do not have this capability so you only have a fixed view.

Although there are 8 cameras supplied you can only view 4 cameras at a time in a split screen – but all 8 can be recording at the same time.

The back of the DVR is where you plug in the video cable from the cameras, video out for BNC or VGA, audio out plug and 4 audio in plugs (the cameras do not have microphones so these and the cables need to bought separately), attaching the LAN cable (RJ-45) for attaching to a computer locally or for remote viewing, PTZ control (DVR capable but cameras supplied are not – they give a fix view only), 2 USB 2.0 ports, power supply socket and the on/off switch.

The front of the DVR has the buttons that give you the functionality to record manually, PTZ control (can’t use this with the cameras supplied), switch from single to multi-view cameras, switch between TV and VGA output, rewind, play, pause, fast forward and step through the recordings.

The DVR provides you with a menu system to access the functionality to set up users, set up recording schedules, IP addresses, motion detection setting and other video settings. The menus can be navigated through using the remote, the buttons on the front of the DVR, the mouse supplied or a PC (not MAC) when set up locally.  The menu set up itself looks a bit old fashioned but it is functional and at times it is not as intuitive as it should be but won’t cause anyone used to a PC much issue.

You can use the buttons on the front of the DVR or the remote control or mouse to navigate the menus and perform functions such as recording, setting up cameras or users, viewing recordings, scheduling recordings and more.

Another good feature is the pentaplex capability of the system which means the system can do several things at once so you don’t miss anything that is happening live while you are reviewing a recording –the system can also be recording,  backing up video or accessing it via internet while it is recording.

Control Monitor

To be able to see what is happening on your system or to control and set up the system you need to have a monitor – it can be TV or PC. However, there is not one included nor is the cable needed to connect them to each other so you will need to buy this separately – it can be a VGA or BNC cable depending on the monitor you intend to connect to the DVR.

Coverage

The cables that come with the system are 60ft in length. If this is not enough dual power and video cable can be bought separately. People have reported they have had no issues with cables up to 150 ft in length for viewing and recording video. The cable required is dual purpose for video and power.

Wireless or Wired

This is a hard wired system with the cameras connected to the DVR and power by the dual cable. To connect the DVR to the internet for remote viewing it is required to be connected using an Ethernet cable.

Dimensions

ZMD-DD-SBN8-StandAlone DVR – 12.8 by 10.4 by 3.9 inches

ZMD-CBR-BAS16NM(CM-C21606BK)- Color IR Bullet Camera – 2.9 by 2 by 1.8 inches

Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB Features

The kit includes the following:

1 of ZMD-DD-SBN8-StandAlone DVR

8 of ZMD-CBR-BAS16NM(CM-C21606BK)- Color IR Bullet Cameras including brackets and hardware for installation

Other: The DVR kit includes a remote control, 8 60ft dual cables – video and power – for cameras, mouse,  4 port power supply adaptors for camera and  power adaptor for DVR

Accessories

The system comes with everything you need to install it in your home or business. But it does not include a monitor or the cables needed to attach to the monitor or to your router for viewing locally, remotely or on your windows computer.

Also if you need more than 60ft coverage from the DVR to where you are cameras are mounted you will need to buy additional dual purpose cable (video and power).

To view remotely you need an Ethernet cable to plug into the router and if you want to view on your smartphone you will need to download a free app from the relevant store.

Pros

Very well priced 8 channel and camera DVR security system

Can schedule cameras to be active at certain times either continuous or motion mode – so it won’t record when you are at home or work if you don’t want to save on space

Can be used locally without internet access for monitoring and recording

Can be set up to view 4 cameras at once locally or remotely over the internet and with 3G/4G mobile devices

Can store up to 16 days of video before it overwrites itself

You can receive snapshots via email of what is happening at home to your smartphone

Cameras can be set to record when motion detected

Good system for covering specific areas – such as a porch or delivery point or room

Can schedule the system to record continuously or motion detection or not by the hour or day on a weekly schedule

Easy to install system locally and the cameras are basically plug and play

Multiple users can be set up with password protection

Recordings can be backed up to CD,DVD or flash drive via USB ports

1 year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons

Cameras can’t pan/tilt or zoom

The cameras have a narrow range of view so are not really suitable for wide open spaces

It can be difficult to set up for remote viewing if you are not familiar with computer networking. There are videos online that can help plus customer support can help when you can reach them

Customer support can be difficult to get hold of and may not return calls in a timely manner. They are helpful when you speak to them

Can’t view all 8 cameras at once locally or remotely – limited to 4 on a split screen at a time

Does not work with MAC computers

Cameras do not come with audio although this can be added separately.

Wide areas are difficult to cover as have a narrow range of view and at night the effective range is around 15 feet without addition illumination.

A monitor is not included and needs to be supplied separately to use the system and cables also

Some people have found it difficult to back up files using the USB ports

System is not easy to take with you if you move as you have to run cables through your home but it is affordably priced in comparison to other DVR security systems so may not be a big issue

Color can appear off or washed out especially at dusk or dawn

Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB Consumer Ratings

local viewingThe reviews for this system are mixed. I have read through most of them. Most people in their reviews comment that the ease of installation and set up of the system locally is one of the plus points along with the price. The quality of images and video is what you would expect for the price, that is, it is not a high end system with crystal clear images and are grainy especially over 15 ft.

The issue most have with the system is setting up of the system for viewing remotely. This can be difficult when you are not used to internet networking. In addition the instructions included with the system are not clear and jump around from section to                          buy5._V192207739_                   section.

Most people need to search online for help or contact customer services. Their website does include a large selection of help but it can be difficult to find exactly what you want some times.

The customer service can sometimes be lacking in responsiveness with them taking days to respond or not at all in some cases. Having said that, people report in their review of the kit that when they do get hold of the support they find them helpful and sort out their issues. It is not all bad as a number do report being able to get hold of the support without any problems.

Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB Price

A big plus is the price for this system as it is one of the lowest priced DVR surveillance kits with 8 cameras available. But with that you do need to have is your expectations for the quality of the video and quality of the cameras set at this. The DVR and the 500GB hard drive are very good. The video and the set up for remote viewing is where most people notice that you get the quality you pay for and it doesn’t compare with high end systems that are much more expensive. It is good for the price you pay.

When I checked the price on Amazon includes free shipping and you can check it out here: Zmodo PKD-DK0855-500GB

Summary

This is an affordable DVR kit for home or business. It can help in preventing theft and vandalism around the business or home asZmodo PKD=DK0855-500GB Review potential perpetrators may not continue when they realize they could be caught on camera. If they do carry on you will be able to see what happened and have images to help with identification (grainy)- although the quality is as you would expect for the price so is not what you would get from a much more expensive kit.

It works well when focused on specific areas rather than wide expanses, so works well for keeping a check on the front door or specific rooms or delivery points or cash register etc. And when set up for remote viewing you can see what is going on from anywhere in the world that you have internet access.

This system can be installed by the home owner or business owner with set up for local viewing being relatively straightforward. However, setting up for remote viewing is more difficult. The instructions included with the system do not help and you will need to search online plus talk to customer service to get this set up if you struggle with the setup of the network – but it is worth it as it works well when set up to help make your home more secure.

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