It wasn’t that long ago that the only option for security cameras at home or a business was a hard wired system with a hard drive storing all your video footage. Then came wireless and the cloud, so these systems seemed niche or out of date. Well, after installing the Uniden NVR 4K at the EFTM office, I’m all-in on the hybrid model.

An NVR is a “Network Video Recorder” – which differs from a DVD because on a DVR the video comes to the box and is processing the video on the box, where as with an NVR the video is converted to digital on the camera and the box itself just “hears” it and stores is. Simple, but effective – particularly because it opens up the ability to use wireless cameras on the network.

This 16 Channel NVR was so very easy to setup. Simple stuff like a name, and a password, and from there it was really a matter of mounting cameras and running cables back.

In my shift from a DVR to NVR, it required the replacement of the cables, going from video and power to each camera, to just an ethernet cable from box to camera.

We’ve installed “dome” cameras which allow an 87 degree field of view, and a flat placement on which the camera base can then be rotated, and the camera itself swivelled within that to get the perfect angle.

My only real negative about this system upgrade is the narrow field of view. I’ve opted though to put two cameras in place of one, allowing me to more strategically and specifically target the view which I want.

After running seven Dome cameras, I connected the ethernet cables to the NVR and interestingly the order in which they are connected is not at all relevant to the camera’s order on your display – that’s entirely customisable.

Once again, with a HDMI output, I’m viewing our entire office area on a normal TV which we use for monitoring the security vision.

There are a wide range of display options from a single camera rotating through the NVR connected cams, to a four at a time, 9 at a time, 16 at a time or an 8 shot which I like with one camera enlarged over the others.

No matter what, all the cameras are recording at all times to the 3TB hard drive on board.

For a $799 box, this NVR is extremely capable. Each camera is $250, either Dome or bullet style, meaning you can buy a box capable of 16 channels, and connect cameras one by one as you choose.

Adding Wireless Cameras

The real genius of an upgrade like this is the ability to add compatible Uniden App Cam wireless cameras.

This means the App Cam Spotlight+ or the App Cam Home+ can be connected to this NVR.

That process is remarkably simple too. Using the App Cam Solo app, I added one of the 2.5k “Super HD” indoor Home+ cameras to my office network. That camera is then visible in the App Cam Solo app.

On the NVR then, using the mouse, I simply needed to click on the new camera, which the box already noticed had been added to the network (your NVR needs to be plugged into the same network as your Camera is wirelessly connected to), and then add in the password I created when I added the camera.

Done, boom, simple. And remarkably, the same video lag as the wired cameras into the NVR.

Using a solar panel and the outdoor Spotlight camera, you’ve now got the ability to put cameras where you couldn’t possibly had managed to run a cable.

That’s why Wireless cameras are popular, but there’s no cloud subscription required here, and I’ve got full control of what I see and when I want to watch them back.

App Control

That app becomes a whole stack more powerful too. I spent a lot of time on the NVR with the mouse trying to setup a bunch of possible features which appealed to me with this system, such as vehicle or person detection.

The mouse only operation of the NVR is actually a bit frustrating, it’s brilliant for playing back footage, but to my surprise, I found all of what I wanted and more in the Uniden App.

I was able to enable push notifications, but this time, unlike the old Guardian app from Uniden’s older systems, I had a bunch more control over what and when I was getting notifications.

Critically, I don’t want notifications in the hours I’m at the office.

Problem solved with a simple to use daytime scheduler in the app.

Smart Alerts

Critically also, each of the wired cameras allows me to choose smart alerts, so I can choose to only get notifications when a person is detected, not just motion.

At my front door is parking, but also the driveway for our office complex. This area is high in motion outside of my work hours, so simple “motion alerts” would drive me insane and be turned off fast.

Sceptical – yes. Blown away – yes. This worked better than I could have hoped.

I drive up myself and no notification. Open the door and step out of the car and a notification came through. Walk inside, upstairs and around to my desk and I got all the relevant notifications.

It’s so much more powerful than that even, with the ability to choose which areas of the view to not get notifications from, seriously granular detail.

The Bottom line

This is a traditional style security system that’s made for the modern age of wireless and smart cameras. I think for those who want the simplicity of an on-premises storage paired with the intelligence of the smartest cameras available – this is a real winner.