14 October 2010

Lorex "Link" 8Ch H.264 Pentaplex DVR Review

Buyer beware: I recently purchased the Lorex "Link" 8Ch H.264 DVR with 8 cameras from Costco. It was a good price for a security DVR with 8 cameras. I've tried posting a review to Costco's website twice but it has not shown up on their website after a week and a half, so I am posting it here with additional information not included in my original review.

I chose this system because of the "Ultimate Mobile Connectivity". I really wanted to integrate this system with my current network cameras. All I would need for it to work is simple web browser connectivity to the DVR to access the video streams from the cameras.

From the product description, it sounds like web browser access is supported: "single channel live viewing using the Safari web browser". However, Lorex does not provide you direct web browser access to the DVR. You must first register for their DDNS service at lorexddns.net.

Then, this is where is starts to get dicey. You have to setup an account at lorex.digi1.net and give them the address and password to your DVR. To be able to view your cameras through your web browser or mobile phone, you have to login to lorex.digi1.net. This, in my opinion, is a major breach of security and privacy - especially since this is supposed to be a SECURITY device. Anyone inside the lorex.digi1.net system now has direct access to your cameras and DVR without your knowledge. What are your cameras watching? What is some tech at digi1.net watching on your cameras? What can he learn about your property? What other computers in your network can he gain access to now that he has a backdoor into your computer network? Hmm.

Even if you look past the obvious privacy and security implications of giving them your DVR password, the service is hosted in Korea, which makes it SLOW. The whois information below is from the last ip address that resolved ( from a traceroute to lorex.digi1.net:

[ ISP Organization Information ]
Org Name : Korea Telecom
Service Name : KORNET
Org Address : Jungja-dong, Bundang-gu, Sungnam-ci
Org Detail Address: 206

To be able for me to view my camera that is in the same room with me through my web browser, the image has to go to digi1.net in Korea and back. It is cumbersome and doesn't make any sense to me. Even if you use the Internet Explorer support, it downloads the video decoding software from digi1.net. Even after figuring out the direct url for accessing the video stream since it isn't provided anywhere in the documentation (it is http://yourip:7000/monitor.cgi?Channel=0001 for camera 1), I couldn’t find any video player that could natively decode it.

For some reason Lorex has decided to lock down the video stream of the DVR and force you to use digi1.net.

If all you need is the built-in recording this product is probably fine as long as you don't give away free access to your cameras in exchange for remote access through digi1.net.

Don’t buy this if you want real remote connectivity - mobile phone or otherwise.

Lorex support has not responded to my questions and I have returned the product to Costco.