Night Owl TL-DVR8 IP Camera Surveillance System


01/31/2016 Using Night Owl HD App on Mobile Devices. There is no Night Owl lite on iOS any more.

11/27/2013

Our Q-See DVR box seemed to die sometimes in October and the warranty was expired (later it revived by me), it’s been working very well for 19 months. So, I came back to Costco and found Lorex H960 resolution camera system on sale for $399. It was a very good system for the price: 8-700tvl cameras and a DVR box with all the necessary components for a camera surveillance security system. I decided to return the box to Costco because I didn’t really need all 8 cameras and I hated the tax I had to pay for $100 instant rebate . I found the DVR box TL-DVR8 from Night Owl for $127 including everything shipped to my door from TigerDirect.com.

TL-DVR8 has almost the same specs as L-DVR8, both have very little descriptions, but the important features that I need are 8 channels – H960 resolution capability (960×480) – D1 (720×480)- PC – Android – Mac – Iphones – Ipod Touch remote access. These are the specification of the TL-DVR8:

1.  No Alarm feature – I don’t really need it.

2.  H960 recording 23 fps on 4 channels and less if more channels hooked up- The less fps (frames per seconds) the less smooth the videos become. We do want the higher fps, the higher fps for more channels, the more expensive the box become.

3.  The TL-DVR8 doesn’t allow different format on different channels – if we chose H960, all channels must be recording with H960 format – Can’t mix match H960 and D1 formats. So it’s not really full 8 channels at H960. I only use 4 channels, so I record them all at H960x480 @ 23 fps (I must set the other 4 channels 5-8 to CIF 1fps).

4.  Motion Sensors work very well, I use for all channels to save disk space.

5.  Software is abundant, all software work right out of the box,  PC,  Mac OS X, Ipod Touch, my Android pads which Lorex software wouldn’t work with my Thrive Android pads, I don’t have Android phones so I can’t try.

Night Owl PC interface is identical to Lorex interface, these 2 boxes must be built by the same company with different features only. The documentation on Lorex is poor, but Night Owl website is clear and to the point.

I removed the 500GB hard drive from the Q-See DVR box and put it in the TL-DVR8, the hard drive SATA cable are a little short and tight, I could replace the cable with the ones I have laying around, but I was lazy to look the it, it works fine. The hard drive is NOT included but the screws are supplied – very nice.

hard drive     the back

Hooking up everything and the RCA composite output didn’t work with the old analog TV, I thought the box was DOA (Dead On Arrival), the logo screen came up and went blank. I tried the HDMI with 720P TV and it said NOT supported. Finally I use the VGA and the set up screen came up.

4 channels - VGA - Ethernet     Analog TV doesn't work

The “admin” default has NO password to login, I had to give it a password when I got in the set up screen.

create user     Format Hard drive

If you can’t get remote access because of AT&T U-Verse Modem and Wifi combo, you may need to add the device in the Firewall Pinholes settings.

AT&T Router Firewall Pinhole Settings

So, it doesn’t matter how easy the remote software work on the DVR, the network must be set once which includes RJ45 – Ethernet cable going from the DVR to the router or a router hub whichever the case may be.

The DVR will have an IP address assigned to it, this will be the one to use to connect remotely from internet. Now, if you want to use DMZ feature in the Router, you can use this IP address to assign to the DMZ ip address, then all you need is to connect to the IP address assigned by the ISP. Type “what’s my ip” on the address bar, it will show what IP address you’re assigned from your ISP. So, as soon as the Network is setup, I can put the cd in and start installing PC and Mac software. For the PC, I use netview2.0, the others are good too, but netview 2.0 download AVI instead of .264.

assign static IP

network     netview 2.0

set up dmz     device id

The device ID is important for setting up Internet remote Night Owl Lite Android or Iphones or third party software.

Netview 2.0     hard drive capacity

set up resolution      motion set up

Mac software          Mac software

Android version     ipod touch

The Night Owl Lite for both Android and Iphones work extremely well and easy to connect.

So, with the original 500tvl 19 months old cameras mounted the recorded videos still come out very clear with H960x480. I’m ordering 2 700tvl cameras for the front of the house.

By using motion sensors only, the 500GB hard drive hardly used, we only record ourselves when we go out the back yard, the front yard, the garage door and the porch.

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