Putting Together A List Of Low Cost Non-Asian NVRs

Many people are choosing low-cost Asian cameras but are often reluctant to use their NVRs given limited functionalities and usability concerns.

Here we are going to put together a list of non-Asian NVRs, including pricing, channel count, storage and any notable differentiators.

As a point of reference, 8 channel Hikvision and Dahua NVRs are regularly available for $500 or less.

Feel free to contribute but you must include price as this is core to this list.


I'll start with Milestone. Their Husky M10 has 4 and 8 channel versions, IP only, no PoE switch, no analog encoding.

4 channel unit, 1TB online pricing ~$800

8 channel unit online, 2TB pricing ~$1200

Thanks, look forward to the upcoming recommendation from the IPVM community. Once started could IPVM compile a software VMS, NVR, and NAS Finder similar to the Camera Finder?

Dwayne, a 'Recorder Finder' is something we have thought about over the years. We definitely see some value but it would be complex and it's not as broadly desired as what we are doing on the camera side. It's something we might do and certainly your interest helps 'vote' it up. Thanks.

IMHO, the only non-Asian* NVR that comes close in price to DaHika is the Ubiquiti UniFi NVR at $330 for up to 50 UniFi and only UniFi cameras, though no more than 20 cameras are recommended.

Does your Milestone pricing include coupons? ;)

*Assuming this means actually manufactured by Non-Asian owned company, no OEMs...

Duly noted. Let's exclude OEMs (sorry Honeywell) and closed systems (bye UBNT).

And bye, bye Axis...

Sure, for completeness / reference, let's mention Axis S10 recorders.

The smallest NVR they have is 16 channels and the MSRP is $3,990. That's a big price premium.

I think SmartVue could be on this list but I've found two problems:

  • SmartVue is located Nashville, Tennessee, but I can't find anything on their website to say where the products are made. I did not find "Made in USA" for example.
  • I'm sure their website used to show prices for their products but I can't find prices listed there. I used to see small NVR's with a built-in SSD for a few hundred dollars. I seem to remember something like a 512GB SSD in an NVR was around $700. They have a small unit on their website now named the S12M Server but I haven't been able to find pricing even after searching around for a while. Perhaps another reader of this forum can find an up-to-date source of pricing of the this entry-level model?

As a slight digression, I see on their website that SmartVue are marketing their own cameras again after an absence of a few years.

Luke, thanks for the feedback. I think the S12M requires cloud storage as it has 64GB max local storage and is similar to this Smartvue recorder we examined in 2013.

Interesting that they are now back to selling / OEMing cameras. Everybody wants to be in the 'solution' business. Got to justify the $15 million investment...

Many of their servers used to be made by qnap. Not sure who makes them now.

Tyco Security Product's lowest cost recorder with exacqVision software on it is the LC-Series:

  • Preinstalled with exacqVision Start Edition running on Ubuntu Linux
  • 3 year Software Subscription Agreement (SSA) which includes technical support and free software updates.
  • Includes 4 IP camera licenses
  • Upgradable to 16 IP camera licenses and Professional/Enterprise editions of exacqVision
  • Offered in IP only as well as Hybrid (analog and IP) configurations
  • Intel Celeron processor, capable of 180 FPS local client display and 100Mbs throughput writing to disk.
  • The LC comes equipped with a single 1Gb NIC.
  • 3 year hardware warranty
  • Made in the USA (Fishers, IN)

1TB IP-only model lists at $1500 before channel discounts. (least expensive config)

4TB IP-only model lists at $2250

4TB Hybrid model with 16 analog inputs lists at $2750 before channel discounts. (most expensive config)

John, would I make the assumption that you are putting together a list of NVRs that include a recording platform or would you want to include any all-in-one (record, store, view) hardware? Most of the software NVRs are OEM systems from Asia, Europe or North America.

Ron, I am not sure of the distinction you are making but I am looking for only companies that develop their own software. If it is just a Dahua or Hikvision re-brand, it does not provide anything fundamentally new.

Are we limiting by cost as well? What's the per channel cutoff price?

No, we can include any cost, e.g., it would be worth including Genetec's lowest cost option even though it will not be very low.

OpenEye - Starts at MSRP of $862 for a 4 channel 2TB NVR with built in PoE switch. Designed around their own branded cameras, but supports ONVIF cameras.

Note... we design, manufacture and benchmark 'software agnostic' NVRs, Viewstations, and Storage solutions.

Beware the claims of these low cost systems. Be sure to do your own testing on them.

One thing I have noticed (and tested in my lab) is that the supported channel count of a 'low cost' NVR is not based on any defined performance/quality metric. One system I had in the lab claimed 16 channels and 320mbits support. In real testing I got 10% of this claim. The 320mbits was a combo of Input + playback + Live NIC Mbits. We even bumped the supplied CPU up to a maximum supported on the mobo used and still could not get near the amount.

Another thing to pay attention to is the NIC hardware used in them. My lab tests have proven that Intel NICs are more robust and performance enhancing than the other NICs used. This is important if your total bitrate from/to the cams and viewstations is 100Mbits or more. Between 75 and 100 is a crap shoot.... be sure to beat on the non-intel NIC with this rate. Less than 75Mbits seems to be OK for all types.

A final element to check is the HDD used. All drives will fail over time...and the less expensive ones will fail much sooner than the enterprise class ones. Also, SSD drives for a storage target need to be used carefully. What creeps up on them is the Write Endurance factor.

From the software side.... be sure to check out the camera support for the systems that come with a VMS that is not well known. Many are trying to make ONVIF work...but you will need to validate that yourself.

Perhaps this can be its own discussion, but from what I see and have tested, you do get what you pay for when 'low cost' to too much of the equation.

Bosch anyone?

Bosch DIP-2040-00N Divar IP 2000 16ch Network Video Recorder - No HDD

$878.00

Whether they are truly open is debatable, but they claim 3rd party camera support.

How about the various home NAS devices that have NVR "apps" included? I'm thinking the likes of Synology and QNAP (both of which I use as home media and storage servers; I've only played briefly with their NVR functions)?

Prices tend to vary widely, as both come in models from one drive to 16 or more drives, and with wide-ranging levels of "hardware power" (CPU, RAM, etc.).

If memory serves, both these brands support two cameras for free, then charge a one-time license for additional channels - I think Synology is $50/camera; I never looked into QNAP's pricing. My 4-bay DS-412+ ran a little under $800 (without drives) when I got it several years ago.

Matt, that's worth keeping in mind. It's weird, years ago, there was some regular discussion about them but in the past 3+ years, I rarely hear people ask or use them.

The camera software on both was traditionally pretty spartan, almost like an afterthought, which probably put people off the whole concept. Lately it's gotten a LOT better, but of course, now the cheap standalone machines and cloud-based cameras are the order of the day, so nobody's really looking that way.

BTW, I just spent a little time playing with Surveillance Station on my Synology... it's actually quite nice, with a really solid list of supported cameras, including ONVIF; my Dahua (OEM EYEsurv), Hikvision (OEM 3xLogic) and Arecont cameras were all listed by name and model. It has a function to search for cameras in its "supported" list, supports both server-side and camera-side motion detection, appears to have some form of rudimentary analytics... you can give each camera its own days-retention and disk space quota and individual storage path... "Live view" gives the option on a per-camera basis to display the feed from the NVR, or directly from the camera... some pretty neat stuff I haven't seen before.

I'd definitely consider this a good step up from the Chinese brands I've worked with, though still somewhat below the Vigil system I normally use.

Vigil seems to be non-Asian NVR manufacturer with their own software.

Are they price competitive with the Milestones and Exacqs listed here?

The Vigil system was originally developed by Camacc Systems of Victoria, BC, then a few years ago they partnered with 3xLogic in Colorado. The two have since parted ways and 3x continues Vigil development. They do sell Hikvision cameras under their own Visix brand name, but yes, the NVRs are a completely North American-made system. I've been working with Vigil since I started in this biz, just about 12 years ago.

Not really sure what the pricing is on Vigil these days, but I think it's probably pretty close. Main thing is, they only sell "appliance" systems; you can't buy JUST the software.

QNAP and Synology are both from the 'other' China, namely Taiwan. :)

Non-Asian line of NAS surveillance, ReadyNAS Surveillance from.

Please state your definition of "low cost". Does $3000+ for an NVR count?

I assume you mean "hardware, working when you get it, with disk, no cameras included some kind of standard connection". So a VMS that costs $100 on a Rasberry Pi with a 1tb SD card doesn't count? (IIRC a vms vendor who participates here offers that combination.) And NOT my $100 onvif-compatible (sorta) no-disk-included 4-port 10/100 NVR from Amazon (includes non-UL 48-volt power supply.) "And something with conventional sales channels". Not this weeks Alibaba special. But maybe the endcap display special offer from ADI.

I asked specifically, in the title, for non-Asian. Where is your $100 onvif-compatible (sorta) no-disk-included 4-port 10/100 NVR from Amazon made?

"So a VMS that costs $100 on a Rasberry Pi with a 1tb SD card doesn't count?"

Ok, what specifically VMSes are you considering that run on Rasberry Pis?