Synology DSM 4.2 Surveillance Station Review

I’ve been asked about what’s a good reasonably priced NVR that supports a wide range of cameras. I thought about it and most that come from surveillance cameras companies work mostly with their brand although some support a few brands, it’s not wide enough to cover all. So I had a chance to install Synology’s latest operating system, DSM 4.2, mostly for my previous review on Hikvision’s ability to write to NFS, but then curiosity got the better of me and purchased 3 Synology Surveillance Station license (first one if free) and put it through it’s paces over the past few weeks.

First you have to understand what Synology is. It’s dubbed as a “smart” NAS as you are able to install apps on the NAS in a similar way people add apps to their smart phones. It displays an icon list of apps and you click on the icon and it installs the app. Surveillance Station is one such app and you get to use it for free for 1 camera. Additional cameras cost $49.99 from Synology but other resellers may offer it for less.

When you first log on to the NAS via a web browser, it displays a screen like this

Clicking on the 4 square icon at the very top left lists the installed apps and clicking on Suveillance Station opens a new window. Important to note that while the NAS devices have weak processors, the CPU utilization with 4 cameras, 2 with camera based motion detection and two generic camera via ONVIF with NAS based detection, CPU use never really got above 10-20%. You can monitor NAS performance from this main screen.

This is the first screen in Surveillance Station. Why they chose to enter on the Management tab is a mystery as most NVR solutions enter on the Live View screen.

You can see there’s basically 3 tabs for Live View, Timeline and Management. So I’ll start with the simplest by clicking on Live View. As you can see, I have a simple layout of 4 cameras, but you can chose from several layouts. Double-clicking on one camera image displays only that one camera, double-click again to return to the standard layout. You can create multiple layouts by selecting it from the drop down with the word “default” on the left. Clicking the the icon to the right of that allows you to edit and create new layouts.

The active image has a yellow boarder, you can use the zoom slider or a mouse wheel to zoom in/out of an image (applies to playback too) and you can use the mouse to drag the image around, pretty intuitive. You can see from the picture below I zoom in to each camera’s image.

Cameras don’t automatically get added to the layouts, you have to add this manually in this screen by dragging available cameras to the square. You can’t add the same camera twice so you have to drag it out of the box to add a new on in it’s place.

To view recordings, you click on the Timeline tab on top. There’s a slider on the right that you move to find recorded video (green bars). This is in Sync mode where it shows all cameras synced together. You can unsync them by clicking the icon that is currently blue in the lower left. This creates a line for each camera that you can work independently of each other

The other icons are the camera for snapshots, the down arrow for downloading video, the eye for a smart search, and the clock for time seek (search by time).

The timeline on the right with the green lines represents recordings made. When zoomed out by default, it represents a 24 hour period but you can move the slider below it to zoom in to get finer detail of recording times.

You can see there’s a calendar where you can chose different dates to search. You can also use play/pause to control playback as well as click on the double arrows next to the play button to control speed like 1x,2x, 4x, 8x as well as slow motion, 1/2x, 1/4x, 1/8x.

Clicking the eye icon for Smart Search puts you in this screen. From here you can select from a wide variety of search types as shown below. Then draw the area to be searched and click search.

It goes from recording to recording looking for events that match your search criteria. It’s slow as it has to analyze each recording but faster than doing it by hand one at a time. When it finds a match, it shows a blue square where motion was detected and puts it on the list on the right as a video found.

After all the videos are found, you can double-click on each one to view it in the playback box.

It works as expected and can help speed up looking for the needle in the haystack.

Circling back to the Management tab, this is how cameras are added. Beyond the first one, you’ll need to purchase additional license keys. To add a camera, in the Management tab, click on IP Camera on the left side of the screen and then click on the Add button. This is the screen you will see.

I filled out the values and clicked the “Test Connection” button to make sure it’s correct. Click on Next takes you to this screen where you set the resolution and video format. Don’t try an set the recording and live view settings as different as it doesn’t work, they have to be the same, but may be a limitation of my camera, not this product.

Clicking “Next” takes you to the recording options

Clicking “Next” takes you where you can set a recording schedule, for example if you only want it to record while you are at work.

Clicking “Next” takes you to the final screen in the Add camera wizard. This allows you to chose if you want the camera to do the motion detection and provide the Live View feed or you want Surveillance Station to do this. If it’s a generic ONVIF camera that’s not on their supported camera list like Dahua, then you have no choice but to let Surveillance Station do the motion detection. Clicking on the “Advanced” button lets you pick the motion detect parameters to complete this.

If you make a mistake or want to change something, you can select the camera and click Edit and make the changes here. Go from tab to tab to make any changes you want.


After using Synology Surveillance Station for a few weeks I’ve come to a few conclusions. Having a NAS at home to do backups of multiple PCs, for having servers process setup that you may need and multi-tasking as an NVR is a cost effective NVR solution vs. dedicating a PC for this or having a dedicated NVR.

There are some quirks you should be aware of, none are critical but can annoy some people;

  • 1080P max resolution – I have a 3MP camera in the mix and it cropped it to 1080P
  • It can be slow as it’s web based on moving video from the NAS to your PC can create a few second wait between viewing videos
  • Has quirks on playback where it sometimes stops after viewing a few events and you have to hit play again

Some of the pluses of Synology Surveillance Station are;

  • Web based interface is identical no matter where you are
  • Free Android and IOS app to view each camera one at a time and view recordings from list
  • Combining multiple functionality of a NAS with Apps on one device may save you money
  • Updates are free (no annual maintenance fee)

This is a good choice if you want an NVR that supports a lot of different brands and models of camera, you are OK with 1080P resolution as the maximum and you can take advantage of NAS features or other apps available on the device.

More information and specs are available on their website HERE

UPDATE: This what their free DSCam Android app looks like (they also have an IOS app). These are pictures of my Google Nexus screen taken from my camera.

This is the initial screen showing the 4 cameras. Does not have layouts, just shows a list of cameras -

Tapping on a camera displays that camera in full screen (my camera is 4:3 and my Google Nexus is 16:9 so it preserves the aspect ratio). You can zoom with typical hand gestures.

To view recordings you tap on top bar and selected recordings. It gives you a list of recordings as shown below. Tapping on a line plays the recording.

My only comment is that it works. I’ve seen better. I would expect to see all cameras at once on one screen. I would have expected to at least see thumbnails on the list of recordings and have options to filter by camera and time period. Looks like it was written to be optimized for a small smartphone screen but today’s 5″ Android phones and tablets, I would expect something a little more complete.








102 Responses to “Synology DSM 4.2 Surveillance Station Review”

  1. 3 Carlton
    July 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks for another great review. I’m looking at getting several hikvision 2032 or 2132 cameras and already have a Synology NAS. Although I’ll probably start with the camera-based NVR, it seems the Synology NVR may be a better solution for managing multiple cameras.

  2. 4 Heidi
    July 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Have you gotten this to work with the swann hd-820cam (hikvision ds-2cd2032) 1080p? Do you use the generic settings? Are you able to get 1080p?

    • 5 networkcameracritic
      July 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      There isn’t support specific to that camera yet they support many Hikvision cameras. I tried using a similar model and it connects to the camera but then fails to bond with it. So it’s worth asking Synology to add support for these new Hikvision models as they are already familiar with them Hikvision but in the meantime it works well via ONVIF, nothing special has to be done, just select ONVIF as the camera manufacturer (it’s near the top, not in alpha order) and add the camera, works fine.

  3. 6 Steve M
    July 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    You said the CPU utilization was only 10 or 20% but imagine that number is somewhat dependent on which synology NAS you were using. The ds713+ has a lot more power than the ds213 for example. What hardware did you test with? Thanks for the review.

  4. 7 Jan Childs
    July 30, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Building your own how did you get around the Synology serial number?
    Or, was that needed just for support?
    I have a similar build and was curious.

    • 8 networkcameracritic
      July 30, 2013 at 9:01 am

      There are numerous articles on how to this on the internet and out of scope for this review. Serial numbers/keys are required for Surveillance Stations for each camera past the first.

  5. 9 Johnny Synology
    July 30, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I’d remove references to DSM being open source and able to be installed on Virtual Machines. The DSM software is intellectual property of Synology Inc. and your use of it on hardware other than a Synology NAS is in violation of those terms.

    • 10 networkcameracritic
      July 30, 2013 at 9:00 am

      If Synology Disk Station is not open source why is it on SourceForge showing a GPL2 license? – http://sourceforge.net/projects/dsgpl/ So you are saying Disk Station is not open source and a proprietary operating system? I’ll remove the mention of open source in the article, but please remove it from Sourceforge as it gives the wrong message that Disk Station is open source.

  6. 11 david lee
    July 31, 2013 at 10:17 am

    advidia cameras have a really good image and come with enterprise class VMS software that supports 80 different manufactures with 1800 different camera models. The value of the bundled Video Insight license with advidia cameras made me switch to them recently and I’ve been extremely happy. Keep up the great work with the good reviews!

    • 12 networkcameracritic
      July 31, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Advida cameras look like OEM Hikvision cameras similar to what Swann or Lorex is doing. Not sure about their bundled software as Hikvision provides free software for various categories including NVR. This is a different sort of solution than what is reviewed here which is a NAS solution that may be more efficient than buying a PC for this purpose than running Windows software. Not saying one is better than the other, just reviewing choices available.

  7. 13 Øyvind
    August 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm


    Just a small addition: You wrote:

    “This is the first screen in Surveillance Station. Why they chose to enter on the Management tab is a mystery as most NVR solutions enter on the Live View screen.”

    It is true that this is the default, but you can actually choose which page/tab it should show when you first enter the interface. Just click at the small person icon at the top right, and choose Options. Under there, you’ll find a drop-down list where you can choose the initial page/view.

    • 14 networkcameracritic
      August 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Great feedback as this was annoying.

    • 15 SteveM
      August 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

      I’d guess the reason it starts under the Management tab is that on my PC task manager might show my desktop CPU usage to be 3%, but under Live View with 4 cameras it could be 70%. Desktop is 4 years old. So maybe some users would be clobbered if it starts on live view.

  8. 16 Jan
    August 8, 2013 at 2:58 am


    i have a question, can i change to an other camera (unlimited) with a license?
    Or is the license coupled to the camera?
    and also can i add a wan camera or just lan?

    thanks in advance

    • 17 networkcameracritic
      August 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

      There’s no link between a specific camera and a license, you can change cameras by deleting one and adding a new one.

  9. 18 Jan
    August 8, 2013 at 5:58 am


    i cant get 2 Dahua IPC-HDB3200C to work on Synology Serveillance.
    i tried ports 80,554 and 9988.
    i checked the dahus ports and they are http:80, rtsp:554.
    and i did it with and without password

    i tried only with the [onvif] generic_onvif brand option

    thanks in advance


    • 19 networkcameracritic
      August 8, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Try using admin/admin for user/password because ONVIF on Dahua is implemented this way even if you change the password it’s still admin/admin. It’s port 9988, can’t change it.

  10. 20 Jan
    August 9, 2013 at 10:20 am

    It worked. But i have a synology ds112j and with 1 dahua ipc hdb3200c i get a cpu load of 100%.
    Also with 1280×720.
    I have 2 of these cameras, so does anybody know a model that can record 2 of them in 1920 x 1080 (size not much bigger as the ds112j)

    • 21 networkcameracritic
      August 9, 2013 at 10:49 am

      That may be too small/underpowered of NAS for this. I had 2 Dahua (2MP and 1.3MP) and two ACTi cameras and I had very reasonable CPU usage but I was running a more powerful processor.

    • 22 Øyvind
      August 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

      I’m running three Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I cameras (two in 3MP-mode, and one in 1080P) on a DS213+, and the CPU load sits right around 25% most of the time.

  11. 23 SteveM
    August 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    The synology NAS $500 and up seem to top out at 100FPS @1080p
    200 FPS @ 720p (1280×800)
    100 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)

    So they claim support for 20 cameras, but that would only be at 5FPS. I recall seeing one of your cameras in this review was set for 8FPS. What is a good FPS setting for general surveillence?, Many cameras claim up to 30FPS, but that would seem to limit these $500 to $1000 NAS to 4 cameras.

    • 24 networkcameracritic
      August 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I have 3 old ACTi cameras that maxed out at 8fps 1.3MP and was using one of those in my testing but I also have an ACTi E32, 3MP, 30fps, Dahua hfw3200C 1080P, 15 fps, Dahua HFW2100 1.3MP at 15 fps, so 4 cams total. Also I’m running this on a HP Proliant N54L which has a different processor, about twice as fast as the Atom processor used on the $900 Synology 5 bay and less than half the price, but Synology doesn’t like me saying that but you can google this stuff. Normally I set my camera to 10-15 fps, provides decent fluidity and lower network and CPU use. I would bet most people can’t tell the difference between 15 and 30 fps and there’s articles on this and even youtube videos demonstrating this. I was never unhappy with 8 fps 3 years ago, that was good for 1.3MP. I installed Mobotix M12′s back then that did 4 fps at 3MP and cost $1,500. So it’s cool that these days you can get decent 1080P cameras at 30 fps for cheaper than VGA cameras cost 3 years ago.

      • 25 B21playa
        December 4, 2013 at 4:32 am

        Hi networkcameracritic,

        I have just purchased a HP N54L and want to use this to capture 2-4cameras.

        What card are you using to capture the video?

        • 26 networkcameracritic
          December 4, 2013 at 8:31 am

          This is an NVR solution made for network cameras like the ones I review. They connect to your network like a PC would via Ethernet cable or WiFi. The N54L is then connected to your network and that’s how they talk to each other. If you want to install Synology software on the N54L there’s a forum thread at AVForums.

  12. 27 Jan
    August 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    a couple more questions,

    * Would a ds112+ do the job (2 dahua ipc-hdb 3200C 1920×1080 25fps)?
    its almost the same as the ds213+ right?

    * can i get the standard license from the ds112j, because the ds112j is useless for my cameras.

    * and if i would choose for a self made server or something, can i update DSM easy?

    Thanks for all your answers, your site is the best help i ever got!!

    • 28 networkcameracritic
      August 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Not familiar with their model numbers and what they can do. If you roll your own, google roll your own Synology and that link is what I reference.

  13. 29 Jan
    August 13, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Also, is it better to set codec of camera to mpeg? (cpu load)

    Because DSM is saving recordings to mp4 and on my android, live view is only viewable with the
    setting force MJPEG-streaming on.
    I dont know if the conversion of h264 to mpeg uses a lot more cpu and mpeg to mjpeg is less cpu than h264 to mjpeg?

    and what about the standard license of the ds112j to use on a ds112+ so i have my 2 licenses, and my ds112j is not completly useless?


    • 30 networkcameracritic
      August 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

      The licenses for Surveillance Station should transfer over without a problem. I only tried this with h.264 cameras using the h.264 stream.

  14. August 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm

     I went ahead and “rolled my own” XPEnology box and took your advice on the Zytel (sp?) POE Switch (and returned my Trendnet.) I also took your advice on buying a Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I from Wrightwood Security. Sure seems like great info on your site. Can’t wait to plug in a camera or two to my new XPEnology box. Good work Network Camera Critic!!

    • 32 networkcameracritic
      August 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      WrightwoodSurveillance.com just got their shipment in and the price is the lowest from anywhere, $169.99 with free shipping.

  15. 33 SteveM
    August 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I just figured out that SYnology surveillence station (SSS), when you ask it to do motion detection vs having the camera do it, must go into your camera (API?) and make the entire viewing area under motion detection. If your camera allows 3 motion detection windows Surveillence Station does this for the first window. You might not later notice that the whole window has been selected for motion detection. A hint is the the detection window has been named Syno. If you don’t know this and try to switch back to camera doing motion detection, it will be picking up the whole window. It also seems impossible to subsequently adjust motion detection window #1 by the camera, to reduce it’s size. I didn’t notice this until I set one of my cameras back to factory defaults. Then I had my 3 std motion detection windows back via the camera web interface. Perhaps all systems that do motion detection vs having dpme by camera, work this way? Camera was a Trendnet tv-ip322P. Now one of my cameras seems to be recording continuous with SSS despite no activity. I’m never sure who to blame, the camera or the SSS. I think I’ll have to reset that camera to give it a fresh start also.

    • 34 networkcameracritic
      August 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for the insight in how it works as I know it does go in and make changes to the camera, even on cameras they claim don’t work with in-camera motion detection.

  16. 35 Marcus Lee
    September 11, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Thanks for great write up.

    Don’t know if it’s a possibility, but I’d like to add to the wish list a review of the QNAP equivalent Surveillance Station Pro (free 1 license), and also Vivotek’s ST7501 and ACTi’s NVR3, and HikiVision iVMS 4200.

    Big wish list there, I know!

    But I’d say if it was ever done, it’d be the only one in existence on the net so far.

  17. 36 Peter
    September 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Guys so cool to have a discussion about this NAS!
    Ive been trying and having great success with Dahua 3 mb, Acti and Dahua 2 mb.

    It was a little hassle but now all settings seem to be correct for good picture.

    My recording from the NAS on the 3mb camera is 2048×1536.
    So its not only 1080P! Thats one reason i chose this setup.

    Btw. i am on a Ds212+, so its a few years old.

    I would recommend getting the FASTEST cpu + version if you plan on using this.

  18. 37 Dean
    October 7, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Whats outdoor poe camera would you recommend to use with a synology setup.

  19. 39 Peter
    October 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Acti 1231 i have two of these which are not working perfectly well with synology.

    The cameras get noted as disconnected and i have to “reset”, and this has happened after 1-2 years after installation.

    Also, I have used a few Dahua cameras who worked very well, but this only through motiondetect with Synology not the camera as it uses Onvif.

    So make sure to check that the camera youre going to use is good version, and compatible!
    Only my 2 cents :)

    • 40 networkcameracritic
      October 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      They have a new version since I did the review and may support more cameras like Dahua, not sure. Also, contact their support and see what’s up.

  20. 41 Steve M
    November 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I see that synology has a new model , the ds214+ that gives some FPS specs for 3M and 5MP cameras.


    480 FPS @ 720p (1280×800)
    160 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
    120 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
    70 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)

    So the mentioned 1080 limit to DSM may be coming off, it might have to do with a new hardware encryption engine. I check out synology news, but haven’t dug into the details.

  21. 43 CameraNewbie
    December 13, 2013 at 11:23 am


    Great website with tons of information. I have a quick question for you. I am newbie in this area and really confused with different option available for security system.

    I would like to install security system at my gas station. I look for

    - 6 HD-SDI 1080p or 1.3 MP IP camera or equivalent
    - HD DVR or software which I can use on my PC for recording and viewing remotely.
    - Mostly using for watching recorded stuff remotely.

    Would you be able to recommend any system with above spec which I can get under $2000 ?

    Really appreciate your help.


    • 44 networkcameracritic
      December 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

      I’m not a fan of SDI so have not followed that market. The best deal I’ve seen for 1.3MP is 4 camera + an 8 channel NVR from Messoa, a maker of commercial grade cameras, for $999 – http://wrightwoodsurveillance.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=86&products_id=277

      For 1080P, I would recommend buying the Hikvision NVR + as many of their cameras as needed. At $168 for their 3MP (50% more pixels than 1080P) bullets that come in various lens configurations and $389 for the NVR, that’s the best bang for the buck. The problem with bundled systems is they are limited to one camera and sometimes you want a dome in one location, a bullet in another, 4MM in one location, 2.8mm lens in another.

  22. 45 Anothernewbie
    December 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I’m helping a friend to setup security IP cameras. We’re currently using Blue Iris to record 5 of Foscam VGA cameras feed from his office and 5 ip cameras outside of their house. The recording PC is an homemade Core i7 PC. With Blue Iris, the PC sometimes run at 85% (with 6 VGA cameras and 4 HD 720P cameras)) and hen crashed the PC. However, last few days, it has been running at between 8% to 12%. I set all the cameras at 10fps for viewing and recording. With BlueIris not doing so well. I’m now thinking to have them using Synology 214+. Do you think it can support it. Also, do you think if having VS240HD will help?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    • 46 networkcameracritic
      December 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Do yourself a favor, install Milestone Essential, 30 day trial. It’s the same price as the Synology licenses but way better.

      • 47 RedSox12
        December 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        What are your thoughts on BI vs. Milestone’s products in terms of video quality, ease of use, etc. Have you ever done a review of BI software? Thanks and appreciate your comments.

        • 48 networkcameracritic
          December 30, 2013 at 10:27 pm

          Yes, I reviewed BI this year. Click on Software under categories on the right and scroll down to it. I used BlueIris for years and it works well but as the number of cameras grow and resolution gets higher, it require more and more CPU and for me I was maxed out with about 4 HD cameras on an i3. The reason is that it has to decode h.264 streams from HD cameras to detect motion, requires a lot of CPU. Milestone on the other hand lets the camera do all the work, so it uses very little CPU. Then there’s usability issues like being able to view multiple cameras on playback and scrub a timeline to find an event. Also the web client is lacking on BlueIris. Download both and try them free.

  23. 49 Hal Lasell
    January 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for the great detailed review.

    It may be worth mentioning that my Synology DS412+ requires Java on the client PC viewer. Personally the only viruses I’ve discovered that I had, in the past 3 years, were exploiting Java. Just a little background info for your fans.

    • 50 networkcameracritic
      January 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Lots of software uses Java, many cameras use ActiveX controls which are even more vulnerable. If you have virus concerns, run Antivirus software on your PC. I even run Antivirus software on my Android phone.

  24. 51 DG
    January 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Will a 2tb NVR be appropriate for seven Hikvision 3mp DS-2cd-2732f-i(s) outdoor domes? I have an 8-channel Swann NVR I’d like to use.

    • 52 networkcameracritic
      January 18, 2014 at 9:52 am

      That depends on how much activity you have, how long you want to store the information, if you want event based recording or continuous.

  25. 53 MBG
    January 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for the insight.

    After viewing this sight for the past 30 days I took your advice and purchased 6 Axis 3367-VE for outdoor use with a synology RS-214 as the storage device.

    I’m testing the Axis camera station and comparing it the synology software. After reading this thread I’m stumped as to whether the synology software can handle a total of 10 Axis cameras as the axis software appears it’s more efficient.

    I really wonder if the $800 axis software is a worthwhile investment?.


    • 54 networkcameracritic
      January 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      I would use Milestone XProtect Essential, less expensive and if you decide to add a different brand of camera, it will be easier. I was not impressed with the Axis smartphone apps but Milestone has good apps. Remember you can use Axis Camera Companion, writes directly to the NAS, no PC needed and it’s free.

  26. 55 SteveM
    January 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    The rs214 has these TOTAL Frame per second specs, which might be light compared to the ds214+

    Total FPS (H.264) 240 FPS @ VGA (640×480)
    200 FPS @ 720p (1280×800)
    64 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
    32 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
    8 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)
    Total FPS (MJPEG) 120 FPS @ VGA (640×480)
    120 FPS @ 720p (1280×800)
    60 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
    32 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
    20 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)

    So you might need to set Frames per second by 10 if you will have 10 cameras. So if you set the 10 cameras for 6 FPS – you might be ok with surveillence station. Wait I see the RS214 can only run 8 surveillence station licenses. The DS214+ has much better specs, but is not rack mount.

  27. 56 MBG
    January 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Thanks for the quick reply. I’m in the middle of downloading 30 day trial of Milestone Essential. A rather large file I might add (857 meg).

    • 57 networkcameracritic
      January 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

      If you think that’s large, you also need to download the latest “Device Pack” and install that too. Imagine doing this 10 years ago with dialup modems.

  28. 58 MBG
    January 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    No Thanks,

    BTW, I don’t thin the Milestone Software will work with a Synology RS214. According to Milestone the files must be stored on an NTFS drive and RS214 is not.

    I tried to change the UNC path to my NAS and it won’t accept it.

    BTW, I still have an invoice copy for my first 2400 baud HAYES modem… $505.00

  29. 59 MBG
    February 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I’ll give credit where credit is due. The Milestone Express is what I’m playing with now, due mainly for the ability to store archived files on the NAS drive. Where the essential version apparently does not.

    The Milestone is head and shoulders above the Axis software. Yes, it does take longer to setup and configure, but it’s worth it. The mobile app is downright SLICK.

    I made the changes to my Sonicwall firewall, opened ports etc, and was viewing from my droid within 20 minutes.

    I’m glad I read your review here before I dropped the money for the Axis software.

    Thank you

  30. 60 rinaldo
    February 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Hi, someone has an idea that the camera Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I works with the Synology? Is not in the list, but maybe another choose?

    Rinaldo from Belgium

  31. 64 Brad Setterlund
    March 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I have been this blog site and trying to educate myself before I make a purchase. I also have been looking at for a while the options at Costco that are referred to a lot in these blogs by folks. I am looking for an upper mid range quality option. It needs to be mac compatible as that is all I use. I was looking at the Q-See option http://www.costco.com/Q-See-8-Channel-HD-NVR-Security-System-with-2TB-HDD-and-8-1080p-IP-Cameras.product.100069855.html. The reviews concern me a little but the reason for this option was that I would really like to monitor three different locations (outside LAN). I haven’t been able to find any documentation saying other options allow this or give enough reasonable directions I could use to accomplish this.

    I was also looking at a refurbished NVR from Avertx directly for $470 http://www.avertx.com/member-special-refurbished-16-channel-network-video-recorder/ and then buying ONVIF compatible cameras which you have some good recommendations.

    I want a stand-alone system and want to avoid the connection to my computer. Do you have any recommendations for reasonably easy systems that have good quality and will last me a while and have flexibility for future needs and let me monitor multiple locations? I don’t mind a little messing around but don’t have the time to spend a lot of time messing with things or maintaing it other then the occasional necessary tweaks. I need some reasonable support but also don’t need to be hand held and can do some internet search if needed.

    Your assistance is greatly appreciated and your website has been extremely valuable to me for educational needs!


  32. 65 Adam
    April 8, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I recently had a break in whilst on holiday and immediately upon my return I began to analyse the timeline for hits on for motion detection. As my camera management settings somehow reset themselves I had no other option other than using smart search or manually viewing.

    I have about a 2-3min segment where the persons are sticking the head over my fence and at one point even climbing up and passing a ladder over that gets repeatedly missed by smart search. I have the highest sensitivity and have tried all frames and 1 second intervals but it keeps missing the motion?

    I have 2 weeks of footage that I have to search thru to find other instances when this movement occurred and this is quite frustrating that smart search misses it and becomes very labour intensive :evil: .

    Any Ideas? alternatives? Even a 3rd party software/freeware that could enable a better scanning feature?

  33. 66 Steve M
    April 8, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Synology Surveillence Station – I’ve experienced the same thing. Making a smaller sampling area might help if you pick a smaller area. If you are smart searching on only 10 squares if someones head jumps into 5 squares – that’s a 50% change. But if you are checking 40 squares for motion, changing 5 might not trip the software logic. We are basically guessing how these things work. I see Acti might have just come out with a smart search on they’re new NVR software – I’m just starting to look at that as i bought 1 acti camera. I am also going to install my expensive PIR motion detector Optex 4010 Redwall – as some of my cameras have the ability to get an event issued and start recording if signaled by a digital input. I’m hoping the PIR will eliminate recording triggered by wind and moving shadows.

  34. 67 Ivan
    May 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Many thanks for taking the time and effort to provide this information freely and lucidly. I’m going to opt for Hikvision solution for my home needs in the UK but I’m puzzled over the specs for the Hikvision NVRs. The recording resolution may be up to 5 Mpixel but the playback resolutions via VGA and HDMI only go up to 1920 x 1080P ie. 2 Mpixel – how is a 3 Mpixel stream displayed.
    I assume the stream leaves the camera as H.264 and stored on the NVR as such, subsequently it is decoded and converted to the display format. Having read something of H.264 I realise there are several variables in the mix and the original 3 Mpixel data might not come out the other end. In your review of the DS-2CD3332-I you placed a 3Mpixel video on Youtube, admittedly extracted from Milestone. Do these NVRs limit the potential of the cameras. With my limted knowledge it seems 3 Mpixels go in and 2 Mpixels come out. Please sweep away my ignorance.

  35. 68 Ben Davis
    June 1, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Hi there. I can’t locate the comment at the moment but I believe you mentioned somewhere that the latest version supports higher res cameras. I assume that was referring to SS 6.3 beta. I couldn’t find confirmation of that anywhere on the the synology page for the beta. Just wanted to check if you were certain it could support 3mp cameras now.

  36. 70 Cam B.
    August 10, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Okay, is there any way to make Synology Surveillance Station push the recorded files via FTP up to a video hosting site on the web, automatically.

    Finally bought a 2432 from Wrightwood and resolved the rest of my issues. Much more pleasant to be working with the modern firmware instead of a 2010 camera, etc. Good experience playing around w/that dying old 762 though.


  37. October 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Pick one particular of the several wireless security cameras
    accessible and install it in an area exactly where you can get a full view of
    what goes on inside your workplace. Some of these network camera models have a tilt function that
    can move automatically, supplying you with a complete view of the surrounding area.
    Wireless security camera systems with a evening vision option let you to see in the evening.

  38. 73 Raymond
    October 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    How does using Synology Surveillance Station Software compare with using Hikvision Camera’s built in NVR simply ‘writing files’ to an NFS/CIFS share?. Is this less taxing on the NAS processor?.
    Would this give better quality recording on perhaps cheaper / less powerful hardware?.

    • 74 networkcameracritic
      October 7, 2014 at 7:40 am

      The advantage with Synology Surveillance Station is that it provides multi-camera playback, search capabilities, more efficient use of disk than NAS recording, web & mobile clients, the ability to view multiple cameras. It’s not cheaper by any means because to support say 8 cameras, you’ll need their Atom processor based NAS and they run $600-800 to start and by the time you put hard drive and pay $50/cam, it can get pricey. I personally prefer the Intel NUC approach, see my article on that.

  39. 75 Kbarb
    October 8, 2014 at 9:25 am

    >> “I’d like to add to the wish list a review of the QNAP equivalent Surveillance Station Pro”

    Yes, I’d be interested too.
    The QNAP 4-Bay TS-420-US just came up on sale at $220.

    Anyway, thanks for all the reviews so far – very helpful.

  40. 76 Eddy K
    November 28, 2014 at 6:57 am


    I’m currently have 1 Hikvision DS-2CD2632F-IS camera. I’m using the Synology surveillance software as a NVR. It’s working ok but I’m looking for something that has more features. I’m using the cameras alarm input (motion sensor) to trigger recordings. The Synology software changes settings on the camera when the Synology restarts. Example is the alarm input function. If I set the alarm input, using the camera’s web interface, for “normally closed” the Synology software changes it back to “normally open”. It also changes other settings on the camera back to default.

    I’m looking at the Hikvision 7716 NVR but can’t find any reviews, other than noisy fan complaints. Here is what my ultimate goal is:

    A NVR that:
    1) Can use the alarm input feature of the Hikvision camera.
    2) does not change camera setting unless I want it to.
    3) Supports about 10 1080 or 3MP cameras
    4) accessible remotely via Apple Safarie or iPad.
    5) ability to simultaneous recorded continues video a a low frame rate and switch to a higher frame rate when motion or alarm is triggered. (From the same HD stream)
    6)HAVE MOTION OR ALARM FROM one camera trigger recording on other cameras.

    Do you know if the 7716 can do all this?
    Do you know if the 7716 performance is stable?
    Do you know if software like Milestone can handle these requirements?

    Thanks in advance.

    • 77 networkcameracritic
      November 28, 2014 at 10:24 am

      The 7716 is their entry level and some people have not been happy because it was not able to handle 16 cameras at 1080P or 3MP. I would go with their higher end for 16 cameras. But if you something really good, just get a PC with an i5 processor and Milestone XProtect Essential. Don’t know of anything that will record at a lower frame rate and then speed up to a faster frame rate when motion is detected.

  41. 78 Matt
    December 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Do you think a DS214+ could handle 8 Hikvision cams, all doing on-camera motion detection? It seems to me that if the motion detection is offloaded to the cameras, there’s relatively little CPU utilization on the NAS. I have one camera set up right now, and when it’s recording continuously I see very little spike on the CPU usage…

    What do you think?

    • 79 networkcameracritic
      December 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      The specs say this below. So this means at 3MP, you would get 120FPS, so 8 cameras would run at 15fps which is not bad since the max is 20fps anyway.

      - 480 FPS @ 720p (1280×800)
      - 160 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080)
      - 120 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536)
      - 70 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)

  42. 81 Goldbug
    January 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm


    thanks a lot for these reviews. i am new at surveillance camera system. i jave learned a great deal from your reviews.

    i want to install ip cameras at my cottage for remote surveillance, say start with 4 HD cameras and grow from there. i first considered complete packages (swann, lorex/flir) but after reading your posts here, i am now more tempted to start with a couple IP cameras, maybe 4 hikvision 3mp cameras.mthis way i could use different camera types for different viewing needs.

    the NAS option instead of a NVR or a dedicated CPU looks to me quite appealing as the NAS could also be used for other applications. you recommend going with the synology NAS with faster Atom processors. this makes the sd415+ kind of the netey levle with a quad core 2.4 ghz processor. this makes the entry point a bit expansive….

    for my application i dont see going more than 8 cameras at some point. i am considering the sd214+ loaded with 12tb storage. the processor is however only a dual core 1.3 ghz. not sure if this will be a problem… can you please advice? i am looking for options for future growth.


    • 82 networkcameracritic
      January 12, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      At my cottage, since there such little activity, I just got cameras that record to SD, like the Hikvision ds-2cd2432f-iw as it will take a long time for that card to fill up, maybe a year because it’s PIR motion detect activated and when I’m up there, I just unplug the cameras, so sort of my alarm. If you have an iPhone, you can get push notifications when motion is detected, so it’s quick and view the camera from your phone. Dont’ know why but did not work for me with Android. My outdoor cameras at the cottage are there for viewing the outdoors to see if my boat is OK, if it’s raining, snowing, etc, not much for security.

  43. 83 Goldbug
    January 12, 2015 at 4:55 pm


    For me also, the cameras are not so much for security, but to monitor around the cottage when i am not there.

    i am looking for outdoor cameras, might add a few indoor cameras at some point but not now. i was looking for the hikvision bullet 3mp cameras your reviewed in another post (hikvision ds-2cd2032 3mp). my router/intenet access point is near the main bedroom so i need a quiet solution. NVRs or computer cam get noisy. i heard that the synology NAS is very quiet, beside I could use if to stream video/music.

    if storage is not that critical with motion activated cameras, then possibly the SD214+ could be enough? how about the cpu speed that is half of the higher end synology NAS units like the SD415+

    i was thinking 4 hikvision ds-2cd2032 3mp bullet cameras
    1 synology SD214+ with 2 6tb drives
    1 8 port poe switch and
    synology surveillance station 6.3 with 2 more camera licenses…


  44. 85 Peter
    January 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Hi, Firstly congratulations on running a great site.

    Can anyone comment on the possibility of using the same Hikvision camera to feed a Synology DS214+ NAS and also Hikvision’s iVMS at the same time. I am interested in comparing results from both systems with the same footage and events. In addition I may start out with 2 cameras on the NAS (because I have a 2 camera license), and some others on iVMS storing to the NAS.

    • 86 networkcameracritic
      January 19, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Should not be a problem connecting the same camera to two different NVR solutions.

      • 87 Peter
        January 20, 2015 at 1:45 am

        Thanks I will look forward to running the comparison.

        One further question that’s not really NVR related. Many of the Hikvision cameras have a video output connection on the PCB and Hikvision provide a connector for this with certain cameras for initial commissioning. Do you know if it’s possible to fit this lead out to the back of the camera and use this on a permanent basis. My interest in this would be to take the live video feed to the main house TV to provide picture in picture or flip channels to the camera using the camera alarm contact as a switching trigger.

  45. 89 Dignan17
    January 22, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for this review, and I hope that at some point you’ll update it for the current version 6, which is what I’m currently using, and I have a question I’m hoping you’ll be able to answer.

    I’m using a Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I (just a single camera) with the Surveillance Station and for the most part it works well. The only thing I haven’t liked is how much motion it was recording. I was getting very sensitive motion detection and ended up recording a ton of video. SS is set up to leave motion detection to the camera, and I have my detection area set up and that SEEMS to work OK, but the real problem is with the sensitivity setting. For some reason, it keeps getting reset to 100! This means that every time a cloud passes over our house I’m storing video on my drives!

    Have you had this happen to you? Have you seen a Hikvision do this before? It’s extraordinarily annoying. Thanks for your help.

    • 90 networkcameracritic
      January 22, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Have not seen that, but yes, Hikvision motion detection could be better.

      • 91 Dignan17
        January 23, 2015 at 4:43 am

        On the whole I haven’t had much problem with it, it’s just this issue of the settings changing on their own that’s infuriating. I’ve read a few things that say the Synology product might be changing settings on the camera, even if you’ve told it to leave motion detection to the camera. I hope that’s not true…

        • 92 Steve M
          January 23, 2015 at 7:46 am

          I seemed to think SStation was doing things to my Trendnet TV-IP322P cameras in mysterious ways. The Trendnet motion detection by camera just let you pick 3 small squares to let the camera do motion detection. If you let SS do the motion detection it would expand that little square to be the entire camera view area. It took me a while to notice that. Then if I wanted to set back to motion detection by camera – it seemed I couldn’t go back to the 3 little squares without resetting the camera to factory defaults and re-configing it. Motion detection outdoors seemed impossible anyway -what with shadows. I added a expensive Redwall PIR since these Trendnet cams had I/O ability. That’s a good supplement but sometimes about 3pm everyday even these PIRs would signal the cameras to record when nothing was going on. Other times the Optex Redwall was a real help – just making a small clip of an intruder outdoors. So yea, it’s not easy and is frustrating. Sometimes my SS doing the motion detection would work just great for months and then suddenly it’s recording when nothing is there, and I couldn’t get it back to working great. Maybe a software change or a camera firmware change – who knows? I don’t think I contacted either vendor for assistance.

  46. 93 Mike
    January 27, 2015 at 6:45 am

    I’ve been having a similar problem to Dignan17 with the DS-2CD2032-I when I set the SSS to use camera motion detection. Initially the whole view was selected for detection with 100 sensitivity. I was getting 20sec-5min recordings almost continuously. I selected a smaller area for detection in the Hikvision camera config and reduced the sensitivity to 20 before I started seeing a decrease in the frequency of recordings. The other odd thing I noticed is that many of the short recordings with no noticeable motion is that many of them are 21 seconds. Just in the last two hours I’ve had more than 30 of these 21sec clips whiere nothing is happening. I’ve contacted both vendors but so far no responses. I’m using the DS214play. Any suggestions?

    • 94 Dignan17
      January 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

      I don’t know what happened or why, but for some reason my motion sensitivity setting has stuck for the past several days, where normally it would have reset to 100 after less than one day. In that time, I’ve had it set to 60, which has significantly reduced the number of empty recordings I’ve gotten. I’m happy at the moment.

      However, there’s one significant issue I’m still trying to work out with Synology: when I used their DSCam Android app, the live view is an unusable 1FPS and low resolution. I have no idea why. There is nothing in either the Hikvision or SS settings that is set for that. Synology’s support has been maddeningly slow. Their latest request was that I install Teamviewer on my desktop computer and send them the ID and password, effectively giving them full access to my computer for an indeterminate amount of time. That left me appalled, and highly unlikely to ever recommend the Surveillance Station product to any of my clients.

    • 95 Dignan17
      January 30, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Just figured out what the deal was with motion detection and the SS.

      Apparently when you leave motion detection to the camera, SS still holds on to control of one setting: sensitivity

      Select your camera, then click on “advanced” then “motion detection.” On the following dialog screen, it looks like everything is grayed out because you’ve asked the SS not to control your camera’s motion detection…but you’re wrong! You’ll see one number in there, naturally it’s in the “Detection sensitivity:” section, and that number is changeable!

      If you’re like me, and have never touched that, it might be set to 90. This apparently equates to 100 in the Hikvision cameras. You’ll see this weirdness continue.

      So, I had good success with my Hikvision set to a sensitivity of 60, so I set the SS to 60. This changed the setting on the camera to 80. Huh? OK, weird. So I then changed the setting in SS to 50, which finally gave me my 60 on the Hikvision.

      This is odd, and doesn’t give me much confidence in the SS as a DVR. I would assume that if I’m giving complete control over motion detection to the camera, that it would give over EVERYTHING, not everything minus a single setting. But at least now there’s a solution. Ugh.

  47. 96 Tom Mensink
    February 20, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Check your last screen print on DS CAM. You will notice an icon with 2×3 small squares on the top right. Pressing this will give you an outline overview of all your camera’s.

  48. 97 peraburek
    March 10, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Hello, could you please review Synology Surveillance Station 7.0, it is add on for Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM 5.1)

    I am thinking about using Surveillance Station 7.0 for 2x Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I, I would buy Synology NAS and I would use my Android phone to watch stream sometimes.

    Thank you,

    • 98 Dignan17
      March 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      I’m currently using the exact setup you’re asking about. I have SS7 running on a DS412+. Here’s my mini review:

      Synology’s Surveillance Station is an attractive UI, and it now mimics the interface of the DSM its self. The UI is fairly intuitive to use, and has some decent customization options for how the video feeds are laid out.

      There are some odd quirks, though. I’m not fond of the way Synology has laid out their playback review mode. I wish there were an easy way to see the motion detection timelines of all the cameras at once. Instead, you’re only able to see a bar showing all the motion detection together, and a second bar showing the motion detection of the currently selected camera. Jumping around through this playback lacks accuracy, and zooming in and out is a pain. At least it has the capability of showing synced playback between all the cameras, which you can’t do with Blue Iris but you can do with XProtect.

      Exporting video from SS produces some unweildy results. Basically, you end up with a bunch of video files. This at least gives you something to show, but it would be nice if there were a way to export a complete package for the authorities to review. Something with a built-in player that could playback synced video for review in case of an event.

      The biggest problem I’m currently having with SS is the live feed on DS Cam, their mobile application. The app is very barebones, with a list of cameras or a list of recordings. You can show multiple cameras at the same time, but the framerate is terribly low – like .1FPS. That doesn’t bother me because I don’t really have a use for seeing all my cameras at once on my mobile device. But what bugs me is the live playback on a single camera in DS Cam. If I bring up my primary camera to look at the live feed, I’m getting almost exactly 1FPS. I’ve been working with Synology for weeks now to figure out why it’s doing this, when everything about my setup says that it should give me better results than what I’m seeing. We’ll see where that gets me.

      Overall, I still like SS. Given that I already had a Synology NAS, there’s really no downside to making it my NVR. And if you only have two cameras, there’s no additional costs whatsoever. If I expand, I’ll need to start buying licenses, but for now there’s no real downside to at least trying out the Synology as your NVR if you already have one. Even if you don’t, it’s a fantastic NAS, so you can’t really go wrong there either.

  49. 99 Tom Mensink
    March 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Dignan17, I do have a similar experience, in fact two problems that do bother me so much that it prevents me from buying more licenses:

    - DS cam mobile app refresh rate: When I view it in single camera view mode, it had a frame rate of 0.2 images per second (so an image every 5 seconds) with a setting of 25 fps on the camera and in SS. I put down the framerate on the camera and SS to 10 fps and now it is about 1 fps I think. However in both cases there is a time lag of 10 seconds. Logging in on DS cam with an IP address instead of QuickConnect does not change this.

    - Motion detection does not really work as it should (and in fact completely useless I’m afraid). Large objects are somtimes not seen on the one hand and a lot of 15 seconds recordings are made with no apparant movement on the other. This problem is reported in the blogs for many years now. I did not see any solution reported. I have not yet reported it to Synology, but will do so.

    I use a generic ONVIF camera. This does have some drawbacks with Synology like not being able to use the native motion detection. To be sure the above problems are not due to the camera, I bought new natively supported camera’s to try out.

    • 100 Dignan17
      March 11, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Sorry to hear about those problems! I’m not seeing those issues myself, but that could be because I’m using different cameras. I’m offloading motion detection to the cameras so the NAS doesn’t have to work as hard and is freed up for its other regular NAS duties.

      With motion detection on the camera, I haven’t had any detection problems. I had to lower the sensitivity so it wouldn’t capture as much as it was, but now the only annoyance I have is that for some reason the camera detects the switch to IR as a motion even trigger and I end up getting a bunch of those short clips in SS. On cloudy days, the camera will switch from day to night mode and back a dozen times, and I’ll get a recording for each of those. Annoying. I’ve tried lowering the sensitivity for that switch, but it hasn’t helped…

  50. March 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Thank so much! I’m looking for this tutorial

  51. March 25, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Has anyone had success getting a Synology Surveillance station to connect to IP cameras not on the local internet. I have two properties with one camera at my second location and I want to connect over the internet to it via Surveillance Station that is at my first property. I already FTP images from the camera to my NAS but loose out on the wonderful features of surveillance station.

    Any help appreciated, even if it is a hack to fake it out.

    I am on DSM version 5.1-5022 Update 4


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