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TRENDnet Review - Overall Best Video Surveillance System

TRENDnet Review - Overall Best Video Surveillance System
Credit: Hurghea Constantin/Shutterstock

After conducting considerable research and analysis of video surveillance systems, we recommend TRENDnet as the best overall video surveillance system for small businesses.

Ready to choose a video surveillance system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Small businesses need a video surveillance system that's affordable, simple and effective. While you might be tempted to purchase an off-the-shelf solution from a big-box retailer to save time and money, cutting corners isn't wise when it comes to your business's security. For a modest increase in expense, you can find a system that meets your needs and will be scalable. Business News Daily examined dozens of video surveillance systems and selected TRENDnet as the best overall video-surveillance-system vendor for small businesses. For the sake of simplicity, we recommend starting with one of the company's pre-bundled systems and building out from there, rather than creating a DIY system from scratch.

Editor's Note: Trying to find the video surveillance system that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner vendors to help find the right system for your business.

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While TRENDnet gives you the tools to build your own system, including a wide selection of camera models, it also offers pre-bundled solutions with sufficient functionality for many small business owners. TRENDnet's four-channel high-definition network video recorder (NVR) kit is an all-in-one video surveillance solution that takes the complexity out of the process. Priced at $502.99, the TV-NVR104K system includes one four-channel NVR, a 1TB hard drive, two TRENDnet TV-IP320PI outdoor HD cameras and 1080p video recording. [See Related Story: How to Choose a Video Surveillance System: Buyer's Guide]

The advantage of employing a network video recorder is that it's easy to expand the system's reach. The NVR has four power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports, but you can add more cameras to the system by employing a PoE switch. These switches plug into the NVR and offer additional PoE ports to plug cameras into, akin to a surge protector. However, it's important to keep in mind that the more cameras there are shooting on a system, the faster hard drive space is eaten up. That said, TRENDnet sells PoE switches boasting five, eight and 28ports for additional cameras. TRENDnet's PoE switches start at $43.99 for the five-port switch, and go up to $480.99 for the 28-port switch. Most small business owners won't require that many cameras, and should be able to avoid the expense of a 28-port switch. We recommend the five-port PoE switch, unless you know for sure that you'll eventually want to scale your system to include dozens of cameras.

While TRENDnet's prebundled NVR system comes with two outdoor 1.3-megapixel IP cameras with 100 feet of night vision, the company also offers a strong selection of camera options to add to your system. These options include fixed cameras, pan-tilt-zoom cameras, dome cameras and speed domes. There are models for all budgets, each with a varying degree of quality and functionality, and plenty of variation so that you can create the exact system you want. TRENDnet works only with NVRs and IP cameras, though, so note that these cameras won't work on an older DVR-based system.

In our hypothetical system, laid out below, we added a 1-MP pan-tilt-zoom camera and two 1.3-MP dome cameras to the prebundled package. Each camera offers night vision and motion-detection capabilities.

For a small business owner searching for the trifecta of functionality, affordability and scalability, Business News Daily recommends purchasing the TRENDnet four-channel NVR system with the included pair of outdoor IP cameras. Additionally, we recommend purchasing a five-port PoE switch if you plan to scale to a system with more than four cameras. Then, to create a hypothetical system that provides the coverage many small businesses need, we added three cameras to the system: a pan-tilt-zoom camera along with two dome cameras. Finally, we included the TRENDnet Luxriot VMS Professional software that supports nine camera channels to monitor our system. It would cost about $1,421.94 to create this TRENDnet system, which is a reasonable price for a quality video surveillance system. You will find cheaper systems on the market, but they are often unreliable and tend to diminish in quality over time.

Here's a list of the components of the hypothetical system we created:

  • Four-channel HD PoE NVR Kit = $502.99
  • Five-port PoE switch = $43.99
  • PTZ IP camera (TV-IP662PI) = $152.99
  • Two IP dome cameras (TV-IP321PI) = $251.98
  • TRENDnet Luxriot VMS Professional Software = $469.99

So, for $1,421.94, we built a five-camera TRENDnet system that offers a variety of camera models and solid recording space. Of course, there are myriad possible combinations, even when you partner with a single vendor, so it's worth checking out TRENDnet's offerings for yourself. You can do that by visiting the company's Products page and clicking the Surveillance tab.

One of TRENDnet's limitations is its somewhat unfriendly software. It's not necessarily intuitive to use and, unless you know a good deal about digital networks, can be difficult to learn. However, this doesn't prevent TRENDnet's systems from operating at a high level; rather, it means you'll want to have customer support on speed dial, especially in the very beginning. Luckily, TRENDnet's customer support is available 24/7 and is supported online through a ticket system, so you can reach them any time you run into a problem. We found TRENDnet's customer support representatives to be helpful and responsive, and they should be able to walk you through any trouble you're having while you're adapting to the software. And despite the learning curve, the software offers some useful features, such as multi-camera archived video search and customizable layouts.

Editor's Note: Trying to find the video surveillance system that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner vendors to help find the right system for your business.

buyerzone widget

We chose TRENDnet from a pool of the dozens of video surveillance systems we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of video surveillance systems, visit Business News Daily's best picks for video surveillance systems.

Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.