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Night Owl Apollo-DVR 4 x BNC 3.5
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

2 out of 5 eggs << PULSATING RECORDED VIDEO >> 07/08/2012

This review is from: Night Owl Apollo-DVR 4 x BNC 3.5" SATA HDD, Up to 2TB D1 4 Channel H.264 DVR

Pros: Good Idea. Pretty Simple.

Cons: Recorded video 'pulsates' (in focus, out of focus) about every second. Setting for lower quality recording (less resolution) seems to help a bit but I think it simply hides this behavior somewhat. This is happening on all newer models (Apollo, Poseidon, Zeus models). Have now RMA'd 6 Apollo and 11 Poseidon units but each replacement unit exhibits the same behavior. Night Owl Tech support has now FINALLY decided to take a look and see what 'that crazy guy' (me) keeps calling about. They have also FINALLY admitted there is a problem with each of these models and are FINALLY addressing it with their engineering / product development teams. My first call about this problem was in 09/2011 and just this week (7/5/2012) they're finally looking into it. We'll see how it goes. (Will post back if/when problem is resolved with any or all of these Night Owl models.)

Other Thoughts: Am a reseller and installer of all shapes and sizes of video surveillance / security systems. Have never experienced an issue like this before. I took several samples of the recorded video to both, city and county police and both said it looked 'suspicious' or like it's 'been tampered with in some way' and would hesitate to use it for evidence. I do think Night Owl really is looking into the issue as they are now starting to call me (completely new behavior from them) and have me try different settings and letting me know what steps are being taken to try and resolve the problem. Will post back as things change.

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Night Owl H.264 Internet & 3G Phone Accessible 8 channel DVR w/ 8 Night Vision Cameras & 500GB HD (NONB-88500)
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Besides resolution (the reason I purchased it) it's a great unit.

Cons: BEWARE: Specs on NewEgg (and Mfgr) web site state that this unit will record in full D1 (720x480) resolution. After it arrived, there's not even a setting for selecting resolution in any of the setup screens. Unit is locked at CIF (352x240) resolution. (There was a setting for NORMAL. FINE, and BEST but those refer to compression level, not resolution.) Just be aware of this when purchasing ... you will not get the higher D1 (or HD1) resolutions -- only the lowest (CIF).

Other Thoughts: Contacted Night Owl support. The first tech I spoke to was surprised at the discrepancy but agreed that this unit does only record at CIF resolution and the spec sheet on their web site (and spec here on NewEgg) are wrong. Call was then escalated Tier 2 support. They said exactly the same thing and then escalated my call to Tier 3 (Engineering.) Tier 3 also readily agreed that their on-line specs do say D1 (720x480) ... and they also agree that this unit only records at CIF (352x240) resolution maximum.

As I understand it now, they are going to write a new firmware update to allow the NONB-88500's DVR to record at D1 resolution. They said it could take as long as 15-60 days to expect the update to be available. Didn't need this headache ... already had one.

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Gary C.'s Profile

Display Name: Gary C.

Date Joined: 08/04/03

  • Reviews: 2
  • Helpfulness: 1
  • First Review: 10/01/11
  • Last Review: 07/08/12
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