4 channel NVR in 2018 (Buyer’s Guide)
NVR (Network Video Recorder) surveillance systems store your camera feeds locally and must-have for any home with cameras. We covered all aspects of NVRs from what NVR is, to PoE NVRs, 16 Channel NVR and 8 Channel NVRs. 4 channel NVR surveillance systems are the ones to pick when you want to cover up to 4 camera setup in your home or shop/business.
Finding the best 4 channel NVR security system can be a daunting task. There are many manufacturers out there with multiple models. This guide looks into all the key differences, pros, cons and personal experience to see which NVR is the best choice and what are the alternatives.
After testing and reviewing multiple models, we’ve made our choice of the best 4 channel NVR system as Amcrest NV2104E. The system supports 1080p resolution, third-party cameras, tons of playback settings and more. The abundant system features also come under a reasonable price tag. Unlike many other systems which offer a lot of features on paper but are unreliable when put into practice; Amcrest NV2104E did not show such shortcomings when we tested it.
We also came across interesting alternatives on the market.Foscam 960p 4-channel NVR is the cheapest alternative that doesn’t compromise too much on features. However, the lower price range brings more unreliability and less functionality. Another alternative is an expensive, high-end Hikvision 4 Channel (4 Independent PoE). This system has all the major features with little to no negative points. The price range is definitely high, but we’ve seen more expensive NVR systems that fall short when compared with the Hikvision DS-7604NI-K1/4P.
Best 4 Channel NVRs
Best Overall 4 Channel NVR: Amcrest NV2104E
Best Affordable 4 Channel NVR: Foscam 960p 4-channel NVR
But let’s get into more details.
WHAT WE LIKED
- Great value and easy setup
- Great footage quality
- Fast real-time playback
- Tons of functioning features
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Outdated desktop software
- Poorly executed mobile app
Amcrest is one of our top picks for NVR security systems regardless of the channels or price range. We recommend their models for three main reasons: great value for money, compatibility with the majority of cameras and good set of features included. Amcrest NV2104E is not an exception and we consider it a top choice for the 4 channel NVR system for the majority of consumers.
For a 4 channel NVR system with an affordable price tag, the NV2104E has a few great features worth talking about. The NVR supports a resolution of 1080p so you can view your footage at high quality and clearly see the details. While an 8MP camera support would’ve been great, 6MP cameras would work for the majority of households. ONVIF compliance means you will easily connect all your existing cameras with ease. A storage capacity of 6TB HDD allows for longer recording. Unfortunately, the 4 channel NVR system doesn’t come with an HDD. What it does come with is a slew of settings to make your property more secure. Intelligent search, motion detection, fluid playback, and advanced search functions are among the most noticeable features.
We tested the NVR with multiple cameras to see if all the specs on paper is as well when put to practice. Our experience with the system came with no complaints. The model recorded footage clearly without lags. The recorded playback and live feed were both crisp, clean and detailed. All the major security features like motion detect alerts and camera masking works really well. We tried out WiFi cameras on the NVR and received similar quality footage and without connectivity issues. The guides and manuals are easy to understand and well put together. Installation was easy, especially with the plug and play system.
If he had to pick something that held back this 4 channel NVR system it’d be the software. Amcrest’s software – both for mobile phones and for the desktop are really outdated, clunky and messy. The desktop software definitely feels old, but it’s navigation is easier. Whereas the mobile app has a pretty neat design (still requires update though) but is very buggy, the navigation is poor. Amcrest needs to improve their software so they can allow its consumers to use the hardware to its fullest.
Most Common Questions Related To NVR 4 Channel
- Can this one connect to wifi camera?
- “Not directly. You will need a wifi router between the two”
- Do the cameras need to be connected to the device, or will it find cameras connected to the network?
- “Yes it needs to be connected to the device. The box provides power over the Ethernet cables to the camera. This box is the way to go since Hard Drives can store footage for a long time. Plus POE convenient since without it then you would have to find an alternate source to power the cameras. ”
- Does it come with the SATA cable and power connector?
- “Yes, the NVR comes with all necessary connection to install a hard drive.”
- For in-house viewing only, does this NVR requires an internet connection via a router?
- “You can connect a VGA cable to a monitor and play the footage.”
- Does this support RAID? How many hard drives / SSDs can be connected at one time?
- “There is a single data/power connection cable within the NVR unit. Attaching a Redundant Array of Independent Drive assembly would require an interface with the NVR unit through a SATA data cable interface. Assuming you have an existing RAID unit already, if not it would require less re-engineering involved to purchase a single large capacity SATA drive.”
Installation and Use Of 4 channel PoE NVR System
Installation of this 4 channel PoE NVR system is similar to any other NVR. Since the product doesn’t come with an HDD, you will have to install one yourself. The monitor can be connected using both HDMI or VGA cables.
- Install your HDD; The screws for the HDD are located on the sides and back of the NVR; Slide the cover back after unscrewing; SATA cables and power connectors which were supplied with the NVR will be used to connect the HDD; Slide the lid back and screw it tight.
- Plug your POE camera into one of the camera RJ-45 ports
- Plug the NVR into your router using an ethernet cable
- Plug the NVR into a monitor using VGA/HDMI
- Plug the included USB mouse into the NVR. Don’t worry, and you can use your own mouse too
- Plug the NVR into the power brick
Afterwards, start the system and create an account. Make sure to give a strong password, so attackers don’t get into the system. Configure the camera settings to set specific features like motion detection and alerts. Start recording.
- Cheaper model without built-in WiFi- Amcrest NV1104
- A similar model with pre-installed HDD – Amcrest NV1105
- Similar model but with higher channels for more security- Amcrest NV4108E-HS
User Feedback of 4 Channel NVR Security System
“Excellent solution for home use. Installed this system in my house to monitor front and back yards and entry. It is a superior product. Very simple to set up and provides a lot of “enterprise” level features for a very entry-level price. Requires limited knowledge networking to install”- Max G.
“This system works great, zero complaints. Now let’s talk about the phone app, it sucks beyond words, 99% of the time you have to refresh the app to get it to work and even doing that I still can’t see the playback video.” – Leslie Edwards
Continuous recording works well
Motion detection and other features work without setup issue
Cheap and affordable
Foscam provides Free Remote installation assistance
Internet Explorer is the only supported browser for the web page
No cloud backup in case physical storage is compromised
Local playback using the NVR is smooth, but the web page loads the video much more slowly.
The cheapest alternative 4 channel PoE NVR to Amcrest but has several downgrades in features. While we don’t recommend this for serious home security, it can function well as a simple monitoring device. You can install it in the rooms, and the continuous recording will capture the footage in good quality. Low-quality cameras of 1.3 MP may not capture the best quality footage, but it will be clear enough. Choose this system if you want a cheap security solution that you wish to install in locations that will not be under threat of attack. It is perfect to monitor indoors, babies, pets, etc.
Best High-end 4 Channel NVR with Hard Drive: Hikvision 4 Channel (4 Independent PoE)
Great playback quality
Two-way audio, motion detection, number plate recognition, and other features work perfectly fine
Compatible with third-party IP cameras
H.264/H.264+/H.265 video codecs
One of the fans may be a bit noisy
Hikvision DS-7604NI-K1-4P is a high end 4 channel NVR system that delivers many quality features. Tons of settings and configuration option that can fine-tune your system to respond the way you want it. Hikvision also has much better software interfaces for its app and desktop client. They have strong algorithms for their number plate recognition, two-way audio capture, motion detection and all of its other features. You can expect them to work exactly the way you want it. You might require a bit of tweaking with the configuration to reach maximum results. The Hikvision DS-7604NI-K1-4P is the best choice for an NVR if you are looking for expensive systems that offer the best security solutions.