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 (112.188.240.22) 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.

5 comments:

MIKE said...

GOOD FOR YOU HAROLD. I'M RETURNING A "NIGHT OWL" DVR THAT I BOUGHT TO REPLACE A 5 YR. OLD DVR THAT WENT BAD.I DID NOT REALIZE[DUMB ME]THAT ALL SECURITY DVR'S WOULD NOT PLAY BACK MOTION RECORDED VIDEO BY PRESSING THE PLAY BUTTON-GO FIGURE.I WAS ABLE TO PLAY THRU 8 CAMERAS OR 1 AT UP TO 64 TIMES SPEED WITH OUT GOING TO A SEARCH MENU. KNOW IT SEEM LIKE THEY ARE MAKING DVRS STUPID.

kfeberl said...

I'm about to install a lorex system and am not crazy about having the mobil stream go through Korea. Can you recommend another DVR? What did you wind up with?

Thanks.

harold said...

I'm using a combination of webcams and securityspy software running on a mac. I was bummed out with the Lorex purchase because it was a good price for all those cameras. I really wanted to tie the dvr cameras into the securityspy software.

Wendy said...

I purchased the Lorex DVR security system with 3 cameras from Costco and was very happy to see it in action after my son spemt all day setting it up. Several days later I had an uninvited visitor and so I put the system to the test, reviewing the stored feeds, etc. This was the first time I really took a look at what the Lorex system was all about and I was DEEPLY disturbed by what I discovered. I am an IT person so I am very familiar with network security, etc. I became a bit suspicious after reading through the documentation and the lack of REAL technical info on the system itself. I was shocked when I saw the DDNS setup and "port forwarding wizard" which no technical person in their right mind would allow. Their casual approach to opening your router and hosting cameras from their weird .net website is chilling. Who the heck is this company? This appears to be a trick to giving somebody a bird's eye view into your home. I am very disappointed that Costco would even offer this type of system as it is a tremendous security risk to give anybody outside access to your security system and network. Even if I were to open these ports to allow access from the internet, I most certainly wouldn't do it through another company, much less one in Korea...the fact that this DDNS configuration is even on a .net site is a HUGE RED FLAG. I started to look into the company itself and notice all the different names and domains they use...LOREX CORPORATION in Indiana, LOREX TECHNOLOGY, INC. out of Canada, LOREX CCTV, E&OE, www.lorextechnology.com, www.lorexcorp.com, www.lorexcctv.com, www.lorexddns.net. I called the various numbers they had in their documentation and could not get anyone to answer...even Sales! Who the heck is this company anyway? You're much better off without any security system at all, instead of opening up this backdoor to your home network. I am incredibly suspicious of LOREX, you should be too.

Paul Breslin said...

Thanks for this Harold. I was thinking of buying one of these as Costco has some deals on right now. I think instead I'll try to roll my own with a linux box + zoneminder. It will probably be a bit more painful to setup but I'll have full control and will learn a lot from doing it. Cheers.