Review: Samsung SDH-B3040 4 Channel 720p HD DVR Video Security System

It’s a sad fact that we all need some form of home security – making sure windows and doors are locked, the garden gates padlocked, having a full-scale home alarm or having some form of security camera setup.

Some will do some of the above and some will do all of the above. I fall into the latter group. I like to keep an eye on the house when we are not about – that way if anything unfortunate were to happen, we’re covered.

Now security camera systems aren’t exactly new and while they were aimed more towards businesses in days gone by, many of the modern systems are now squarely aimed towards the security-conscious home market. There are, of course, many manufacturers vying for your hard-earned cash, and Samsung Techwin (the video camera and security division of Samsung) has now launched an all-in-one DVR setup, comprising four weatherproof, 720p HD cameras, and a 1 TB digital video recorder.

Samsung sent one over for us to take a look at this week. It’s priced at £399/$449 RRP, but you’ll find it cheaper online if you look around. Let’s crack it open and take a look.

What’s in the Box?

  • 1 x Samsung DVR unit
  • 4 x 720p weatherproof cameras
  • 4 x 60 feet of white cable (to connect the cameras to the DVR)
  • 1 x remote control
  • 1 x HDMI cable
  • 1 x CAT 5e cable
  • 1 x USB mouse
  • 1 x DC adapter (to power cameras and DVR from main power brick)
  • 4 x wall plugs and screws
  • Quick start manual
  • Instruction manual (on CD rom)
  • Samsung Smart Viewer software

 

Cameras close up

 

It’s good to see a good amount of cable included as standard so you are ready to go out of the box. The cameras themselves feel solid and look great – that being said, they are small and would definitely look discreet when wall mounted. In fact, they’d quite possibly not be noticed at all when mounted high up. The cameras are IP66 rated so are fully weatherproof, but look good enough to be installed inside or outdoors.

 

Each camera has a 100 degree field of vision so the resulting wide-angle shot covers more ground. You may notice a slight fish eye effect to some views but this isn’t really an issue in use and shouldn’t affect the security features of the product.

The DVR unit itself is a plain black box, slightly smaller than a CD player (remember those?) with dimensions of 300 x 210 x 50mm (WxDxH). In operation (which should be 24/7) there are just a few coloured indicator LEDs visible on the front face of the device indicating power, network connection and recording activity. Finally there is a USB 2.0 connection which is used for either the included mouse or any USB memory sticks or hard drives you are using to back-up or export recordings.

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At the rear of the unit, everything is covered in terms of connectivity. There are four BNC plug connections for the cameras themselves, four line-in audio sockets for recording, audio out, HDMI out, Ethernet (10/100) LAN connection and a VGA 15 pin D-Sub in case you want to connect the DVR directly to a monitor. You’ll also find a further two storage connections in the form of a second USB 2.0 port and eSATA socket to connect to a larger array. Everything is rounded off with the 12V DC in. Power is supplied from a standard 110/240v power brick.


DVR rear

Ideally, you’ll locate the DVR close to a TV for local viewing with a direct router connection over Ethernet. An optional Wi-Fi dongle will give the greatest freedom, allowing you to locate the DVR wherever you wish to.  It’s a shame the Wi-Fi adaptor (the $59.99 dual-band AC-rated SEA-W01ACN) wasn’t included in the box to make it truly ready to go for everybody, but it’s not an extravagant price to ask for total freedom.

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I’m only testing this kit and not fully installing it, but it’s fair to say that installation won’t be a five-minute job. Installing up to 60 feet of IP66 rated cable per camera will take time and if you are the sort or person that likes to hide everything away, you have your work cut out. That being said, it’s a similar story with any other wired camera system that is on the market today. For some people, wired camera installation may be too much of an issue and professional installation would a the preferred option. While wireless systems have been getting more advanced with quality improving, they do require additional configuration and any network dropouts can cause a loss of recorded video. The Samsung SDH-B3040 was very simple to set up and the video feed just worked out of the box – regardless of Wi-Fi issues, the system will always record whilst there is power.

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