My £180 4CH CCTV Setup - A Review

5 Feb 2013
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United Kingdom
In case anyone is looking to do a simple DIY CCTV install at home/work I thought I would post a little review of my first dabble with CCTV and the pros/cons of the budget (sub £180 all in) four channel setup I've installed.

To start with, the DVR; I got a four channel networked DVR with App based remote access for iOS/Android (and BlackBerry I think) from Maplin. The DVR comes with one Camera and a handy 5-way power splitter. They are £179.99 I think, however, Maplin have B-grade ones for sale at a bargain £89.99!

It all seemed brand new when it turned up, just the camera stand missing which Maplin promptly sent out after a quick email to them.

The DVR itself is made by 'Sentient' who are a Chinese company from what I can see. It is easy enough to set up, which is convenient as the manual is not really worth the paper its pigeon English is written on! You must set up port forwarding on your router if you want to view remotely - this DVR works on port 34567.

The IR camera is OK, picture quality could be better though. I purchased a 1/3" Sony 48IR LED camera from EBay too and the picture quality on this is very good for the £20.99 price!

All cabling was done via pre-crimped shotgun cable running power and video (BNC connectors) from the camera back the the DVR and 5-way power splitter. The only downside of this is you need bigger holes in walls etc. to get the crimped ends through! That and I have some spare length in the cable but that's not an issue. 4 cables x about £4.50 = £18

To finish it off I have now ordered another Sony camera at £20.99 and a smaller camera for £9 as the range on this only needs to be short to look down from above the back door.

So that's £158.97 for all the kit and cables, maybe about another £10 spent on cable ties, trunking, etc. In my case I ran a long Cat6 from living room (router) to home office (DVR) which probably cost another £10 including faceplates etc.

I'm really pleased with the setup so far for under £180.

Cons. of the DVR are as follows:
- limited to two Apps currently, both leave a bit to be desired if I'm being fussy as the official App VS500 on iPhone does not have an ipad version, can only view one camera at a time and only saves one DVR setting. There is a new App that I'm playing email tennis with the Chinese manufacturer about at the moment. This is MVS500 and has all the missing features, I just cannot get it working at the mo; will update when I do as they are waiting for their developers to return from Chinese New Year
- firmware is clearly a Chinese translation in some places, still does the job though
- all viewing and config. etc. from a computer must be done in Internet Explorer as it is ActiveX based
- the fan on the DVR is noisy so not suited to e.g. Living room where my router is
- needs a cabled Ethernet connection, not wireless, not an issue in my opinion though

I'll post some screen shots etc. too once I get back from the car seat shopping trip I'm off on now... :confused:
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A few pics for info.

The DVR:

The official App VS500 on iPad, no option to store multiple DVR settings e.g. Home and Away:

The other App that works with it (multi-mvs) allows multi-view but is 'buggy':

Then there is the new App that looks much better on iPad, however, I cannot get it working. The manufacturer is being very helpful so far though, so fingers crossed we get it working:
Thanks for this write-up.
Looks like you got a bloody bargain there mate!
Nothing close to these prices available now.
Cheapest 4 camera I have seen is £200 Makro
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Hi Tim
I figured I might as well go for this anyway.
Could you please tell me though is the PVR noisy?

I plan to sling it in the loft but it will be located in the loft very near to the ceiling of the bedroom so would prefer not to have a constant noise?
Hi Tim
I figured I might as well go for this anyway.
Could you please tell me though is the PVR noisy?

I plan to sling it in the loft but it will be located in the loft very near to the ceiling of the bedroom so would prefer not to have a constant noise?

Sorry, only just read this!

The noise is only a fan, so loud for a silent room, would have thought it is OK in the loft though. I sit with it in my face all day long under my computer monitor so it cannot be that loud!
I am surprised that those people who have a good working knowledge of cctv have not posted on here.

I do not have a good knowledge of cctv systems but I did install one last year, and sought expert advice from this site.

My comments would be:

1) Ask yourself why Maplins are continually selling this item as a B grade. It does not inspire me with confidence in the products quality or reliability!! The occcasional b grade is understandable, but not consistent supply of them.

2) The camera is only 420TVL which is pretty low nowadays, even your £21 units are still only 420tvl. It may have a Sony chip, but with any type of camera its the quality of the lens that is also important. I think time will show that you will become disappointed with the night time image quality.

3) Notice the ebay sellers feedback: ask yourself why he makes his listing private? One thing it prevents you from doing is seeing what items the negative feedback refers to. All the negatives could be for cctv products, but you would never know!! I also would NEVER buy from somebody on Ebay who is based in China!

Good luck!
I am surprised that those people who have a good working knowledge of cctv have not posted on here.

Because some people have already made their minds up and decided ebay and maplin's is the best way. Toot is toot, but they won't have it, so easier to leave them to it.
Maplins is exactly what it says. DIY.... They are easy to install come back to us in a year and give us a product review once the weather has had its toll.

I wouldn't recommend anything below 640tvl 1/3 I just finished a 21 camera install at a school and sports complex yes it was a bitch to get everything right it took 4 days just to run cables.

Anyway they wanted cheap as they come. I explained the pros and cons got 2 samples set them up in the office and also 2 examples of my cheapest recommendations lets say I won the contract and they went with the 640tvl 1/3 mix between bullet, dome and dome r485s.

You pay for quality at the end of the day my cheapest install for 4 cameras and DVR 500gb is only £299 and I will stake mine will still be there in 5 years. I wouldn't stick a 24month warranty on it if I didn't trust it.

Always think if it cheap why is it cheap.... I've just had this same conversation with a shop owner in Brecon. I have a feeling I will be getting a call later down the line.

They choose a maplin 4 camera system as well. I have to say the camera quality is ok but record quality is poor. You can't make anyone out. And there's noise in the out side camera Which in time will get worse.

I'm one who believes you pay for what you get.

I know that's a little fluffy around the edges but I can't slate something I haven't really tried out myself I just know I wouldn't touch them.
nothing wrong with ebay, just dont buy the cheap rubbish.

i will repeat ebay is fine for used highend cctv gear, thats why i have approx 10 grands worth of high end branded cctv gear, that only cost a fraction of that buying it used on ebay, and none of it has arrived doa, and continues to work to this day

dedicated micros

buy any of the above used to have the same gear used in highend pro installs

you can even get brand new of the above for upto 80% off the normal price, all you have to do is look and bide your time and wait for the bargins.

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