Customer Reviews for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System

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Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System

4 Channel H.264 DVR with Smartphone Viewing & 4 CCD 480TVL Day/Night Cameras
Average Customer Rating:
3.714 out of 5
3.7
 out of 
5
(35 Reviews) 35
(out of 35 reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (35 reviews)
5 stars
17
4 stars
8
3 stars
1
2 stars
1
1 star
8
25 of 35(71%)customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Review 1 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 10, 2011

Fast delivery-great security system A++

Pros: good clear cameras, day and night cameras, view on 3g phone, everything in the kit, happy with quality!, fast shipping, records to flash drive
Cons: 60' of cable each ok except for pool needed more
"I am very happy with this security system, I am really pleased with the quality of the cameras! Great night vision and good crisp color in the daytime. Here's what I like:
480 TVL cameras have great clarity-I can see my whole yard at night or day.
DVR is easy to use, I set it on motion-detection without any trouble. I have an iPhone and I called Swann and they sent me a link to download the iphone app and I connected in seconds. Now I watch my house while I'm at work or away. It's nice to see when my kids get home from school. I also like watching the front door using my laptop upstairs so I don't have to run to the door everytime someone knocks. Overall very good value!
"
49 of 49 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Location:Ypsilanti, Michigan
Date:March 21, 2011

Not quite ready for Prime Time

Pros: best deal for the price
Cons: tech support is overwhelmed
Model Number: Defend & Deter from Costco
"While the features list is extraordinary, the reality is lacking.
The Internet viewing will only work with Internet Explorer 32bit, not IE 64bit,. Firefox or Chrome. You will also need to change the security in IE browser to allow unsigned ActiveX apps to run.
The ActiveX app constantly crashes under IE8 So about all you can really do is view a screen or channel.
On some computers, running XP and IE8 there is nothing but a black screen. This also happens with the NetViewer application that ships with the package. Tech support doesn't have any idea how to fix this problem.
Both the IE app and the standalone remote viewer app requires a minimum of 1280x1024 resolution.
You can't manage the DVR remotely so it means a trip to the unit if you need to make any changes.
While early reviewers applauded Swann's tech support, it has changed recently and for the worse.
An email to tech support gets you an auto-response saying they will get back to you in 4 or 5 days.
Hold times can be 20 to 30 minutes and over the past 48 hours, all I get when I call tech support is a busy signal.
Many easy problems could be fixed if Swann would update their website with a knowledge base and solutions to frequent problems.
Their website is lacking with no knowledge base or searchable help. The FAQ is also limited nor you can download drivers or software.
Updates can only be applied through a USB drive, it should have had the ability to update over the Internet.
Finally, lets talk about login. It isn't clear that you need to enable a user account before you remotely view. But when you do, make sure you also check mark the user. Now you can login remotely.
Then come back and connect directly to the DVR with the mouse and you are prompted to enter the admin account username and password. Since there is no keyboard you use the on screen keyboard.
This is really painful, as about a third of each key is the next key. So you press K and you get L.
The passwords are numeric so that means having to switch input screens to get to password.
No big deal for user name you can see a typo. However, they hide the password so all you see is a *. So you don't really know which number you pressed because if you press a 2 you may get a 3.
So logins will take you some time.
Finally if after initially hooking up and the buttons on the DVR don't work and the mouse is not visible, hold the REWIND button until you get one beep and then let go.
Oh and in the manual, when it tells you to refer to page 31, they really mean 29.
Like I said, a good value for the price, but you are going to spend a whole bunch of time fighting problems that should have been fixed in version 1.0 and until they get more support techs, you are going to be on the phone for a while."
31 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Hawaii
Date:July 6, 2011

he's in jail

Pros: the best, inexpensive, no problems, super easy, # 1 over others, you will be happy
Model Number: "Defend and Deter"
"I have over 16 swann cameras and various recording harddrives...the swann Alpha "defend and Deter" is beyond an excellent system. I have almost 20 years experience in do-it-yourself surveillance equipment. some other brands were o.k., but swann cameras give a much more detailed picture, they run for literally years, day and night, and have NEVER given me any problems. Last March 12, my home was burglerized. They took 20,000 of my stuff. The Swann video allowed the police to make a quick arrest . State farm insurance paid me quickly because of the Swann indisputable video."
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Tucson, AZ
Date:March 15, 2011

I feel safe!

"We decided to invest in a security camera for our home as we live on a corner lot in a subdivision and get alot of traffic. To add to that, our backyard faces a very busy street. The feature I love is how you can regulate what area of the camera shot sets off the recording. The quality of the pictures both day and night are excellent! The whole system is easy to use, the installation was a breeze. The security that this system brings, is priceless! I had to contact customer service for both costco.com and Swann Usa and was DELIGHTED have had received phenomenal customer service. That is not easy to come by. Thanks Swann!"
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Gainesville, Va
Date:June 15, 2011

Not Mac Compatible

Pros: don't know returning to costco
Model Number: SWDVR-42550H
"No where on the outside of the box, or on the specifications does it say that the software is only compatible with Windows. Only when you read the manual that you find out that the software is not compatible with the Mac platform."
20 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Green Valley, Az
Date:June 3, 2011

Very, very, happy

Pros: best value out there!, excellant customer service., dvr and camera's are high quality., higher resolution then others i looked at (480tvl), wider field of view.
Cons: swann should include 100 ft cables instead of 60ft, manual is useless regarding web setup.
Model Number: Alpha D12C16, Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
"Installed this system over three months ago. It has performed flawlessly. I travel a lot and it has been a heaven sent to be able to watch the homestead while I'm gone. Installation was a easy. However I needed help with web and smart phone setup. Swann customer service was great. Quick to answer the phone and their tech's are very knowledgeable and friendly. I called twice, once for web set up and once for Iphone help. They had me up and running in no time. I recommend this system."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:WV
Date:April 19, 2011

Great Value - great price...only for a short while

Pros: good price, great images
Cons: instructions need to be more detailed, too many pros
Model Number: Swann Alpha
"This is great camera that offers terrific functions and features at an excellent price. I was not surpirsed when I saw that it was out of stock after I made my purchase, but then I returned to the costco website to submit a review and saw the price had almost doubled - supply - demand tactics eh!! :)
Anyway, this product is worth every buck and is comparable to other highly, top brand name cameras. I think the Internet viewing information should be more clear on how to access the camera admin page outside of one's private network/perimeter. The IP address you use at your house will not be the same as one you use outside of your home - you will have to use your external IP and then the cameras port number.
"
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:July 18, 2011

Had problems that Support help fix

Pros: long cables for cameras, mouse or remote control
Cons: dvr buttons seem cheap
"Purchased this for a small office. The quality in day and night video is fantastic for the price.
We had a problem where the DVR would reboot itself every 10 min or so. Called tech support and he had me connect to a wall insetad of a power supply, and reformatted the hard drive.
Functions as expected now.
I have it set up to work with a kvm switch to share a monitor with our server and it works great."
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date:June 11, 2011

Caught a crook!

Pros: easy install, great support, priced right
Model Number: Alpha
"There were roberies in my area and my wife insisted we buy a security system. i put this in with the help of a worker to help mount the cameras on the second story of my house. It all plugged together like a cable box and worked like a breeze. I connected it to TV's and a computer screen.
A couple of weeks later my across the street neighbor got robbed. We replayed the recorder about the time her alarm went off and spotted the robber's truck. Showed the pics to the police and they arrested the robber the next day and matched his fingerprints to the robbed house. Case closed! Thank you Swann."
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Grayslake, IL
Date:March 17, 2011

Great technology at a superb value!

Pros: great technology at a superb value!, very easy to setup, costco price through 4/3/2011
Cons: made in china. sorry., iphone setup can be confusing.
Model Number: Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
"Ordering Process & Shipment Communications:
Placing the order on CostCo.com was a snap. A few clicks later and the ever important payment information, I had a message stating that my order was complete and that there three distinct steps that my order would follow: Order accepted, Order fulfilled, order shipped. At each of these stages, I received an email communication which clearly stated what had happened and what would happen next – along with a timeframe commitment. Very classy! When my order moved into the “your order has shipped” phase, a tracking number was included too.
Delivery:
The very nice FedEx man arrives and hands me my package. Looking at the shipping box, there is a model number and description of the contents written on the box. Marked very clearly was, “Made in China” (no surprise). When I opened the packing box, I was presented with 2 smaller boxes: DVR/Manuals/cables & 6-Cameras/cables/manuals. Each of these two boxes did not have any writing on the outside – clearly an effort by Costco to hold down the costs.
DVR box:
Unpacking the DVR box, I extracted the DVR, a power cable, a video/RCA cable, Ethernet cable, manual, remote and the ever important battery for the remote. I did also see a very small screw fall from the packaging which I recognized as a hard drive mounting screw. I also felt a slight “thump” within the DVR. Being careful, I realized that the quality control folks in China didn’t inspect this unit very well. 1 of the 2 HDD screws had backed out along with 1 of the DVR case screws. A minute or two later, the unit was back together.
I’ll also take a moment to comment on the inner workings of this unit. As you pop the case, there are a few video connections, power, HDD and the solid state motherboard which holds the operating system – I suspect this is a linux/Open Systems based PC. The metal case is a tad “cheap” feeling and the buttons on the front don’t have “that” expensive button feel. Not a show stopper.
Camera box:
6 cameras, 6 60’ cables, 1 power supply, 1 “6 to 1” power cord converter, mounting screws and an owners manual. Everything was exactly as I expected. No surprises. I would estimate that 98% of all installations should work with 60’ of cable. In my case, I have 2 cameras which I know will be over 150’ away. This is a pretty simple fix – just use a Female / female coupler and an extra long Siamese cable.
The setup & test drive:
The unit does not have a power button, therefore the moment you plug it in, it starts to run. Boot time is less than 20 seconds and the splash screen looks basic (not a drawback – just sayin’). After a few seconds, you are presented with a “quad” view containing all of the video inputs (weather they are sending video or not). Initial software setup is very intuitive with categories that are very easy to understand. I did find, however, some of the informational messages produced by the system are clearly poorly translated messages. For example, you change the name of the DVR and hit ‘Apply’. Instead of the system telling you that your changes are successful, it is a vague message similar to ‘Accepted!’. Another oddity from the DVR gui (not web GUI) is with user accounts and passwords. There aren’t any guidelines to the minimum length therefore as you enter the new password and confirm it, the message you get when you hit ‘APPLY’ is ‘Passwords do not match…’. Yes, they do. Later I find out in the Web GUI there is a 6character minimum & maximum for passwords.
Cameras
The cameras which come with the unit have IR night vision which performs very well. In a pitch black room, it was like the room had on all the lights. I have tested it the length of the inside of the house (about 15-20’).
General DVR performance
Features like motion detecting / recording & alarms via sound or email are outstanding features for a home unit, especially when you compare the price point for this unit to other professional systems. I was also happy to learn that replacing or upgrading the HDD is truly as easy as unscrewing a few screws, pulling a plug and adding a new HDD. The internal OS deals with formatting the new drive.
Web Browser access & Smartphones
What can I say – you follow the instructions and it works! With a little fussing (I’ll get to this in a second) I had the wifes iPhone viewing the live cameras. She also had the ability to replay recordings etc… Awesome. Ok, now the confusing bit. If you recall earlier talking about usernames and passwords. Well, the documentation isn’t clear at all when it comes to the authentication with the smartphones. The assumption is the credentials you created earlier are also related to smartphones viewing content. This is not the case. You only have 1 login which is defined under the smartphone section of the GUI. This is stupid.
Overall impression
I’m very satisfied with what I now own. Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes. $259 + local sales tax & no delivery – coupled with the very generous return policy for CostCo make this a home run.
This unit missed the 5th star because of the HDD being not exactly secure and the buttons on the front feeling "cheap"."
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Seal Beach, CA
Date:March 18, 2011

Great Value

Pros: ease of set up
Cons: so easy i now wish it had more cameras
"I've been looking at 4 camera systems for a little while and the value on this one was incredible. Can't beat the Costco return policy so I gave it a shot. Very impressed with the ease of set up. Have tested system in my living room to make sure it is working and have had no problems. Clarity is good and set it to work on motion detection only. Attached it to my network and can now view over the internet. I'm not very tech savy so if I can do it you can to. Have not tried on mobile phone yet, but from other reviews sounds like it works great. Have purchased extension cables from monoprice.com which allows me to place cameras where I want them. Awesome system, very happy."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Texas
Date:March 15, 2011

Very good purchase for price

Pros: great price, seems to be good quality.
Cons: internet explorer or their program only, cameras do not have microphones
Model Number: D12C16
"Overall this is a great system. Super easy to set up.
I only have a few complaints. One is that you can only view it with Internet Explorer or their program(which is a problem with my Linux setup).
These cameras do not come with microphones (though the DVR is capable).
You can not set it up so that you can choose which camera a certain user can see. This would be a great feature for sharing certain cameras with your law enforcement (I don't want to share all of them).
"
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:St. Louis
Date:March 15, 2011

Very Nice package for price.

Pros: quality video nice cameras, very reasonable price for what you get.
Cons: easier onscreen menu and better instructions
"Easy to set up. Some basic knowledge about portforwarding if you want to view over internet (Phone, or other computer). Picture quality is great both during the day and at night. Camera's were of quality material.
Android app is nice, but no functionality to playback saved video, just Live Viewing.
Setting up Motion Detection was a little tricky, but that could be the user. (Me)
No mention of IPV67 in the manual that comes with the camera's. I belive they are waterproof, based on what was on the item description by costco. But not in the specs listed in the Documentation.
Overall i am very pleased with the product. May even be looking at a Pan Tilt Zoom unit in the future."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 14 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 21, 2011

Awsome Cameras

"I had another brand camera system that cost 3 times as much as this one, I was hesitant to purchase this system at such a low cost. I thought it would be very poor quality (get what you pay for right) not the case with this system, WOW beats my other system hands down. The features you get with this system can't be beat. I am able to view the cameras on my I touch with the swan view software and view and adjust the settings remotely via Internet Explorer. Tech support is awesome. Note: If you are running Internet Explorer 9.0 with a 64 bit system you will need to right click Internet Explorer and choose run as administrator to play the video back remotely. Highly Recommended."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Washington
Date:August 11, 2011

Horrible support!

"Worked ok at first after calling tech support several times. Most of my initial issues could have been solved with better instructions/manual. After a few weeks 2 of the 4 cameras stopped working. After finally getting ahold of tech support and doing all their silly tests it was determined that the video input card was bad. - DUH! That was several weeks ago and I still have not seen a replacement unit. I email and call them every few days and still NO return contact!"
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:VB,Virginia
Date:March 17, 2011

Satisfied

Pros: pricesatisfaction. user friendly., can buy extras for system at radio shack
Cons: can only connect up to four cameras
Model Number: Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
"Just received it yesterday and hooked it to make sure it worked. It worked perfect. no flaws yet. I still have to install it.
Look its not the top of the line system but for 260 or what ever its well worth the money.
you can only hook up four cameras. there are ports for sound. very user friendly. for your inhome securtiy camera works great.
your not gaurding fort knox.
After I install the defend and defer system Ill post my final comment about the system"
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date:September 18, 2011

Easy setup

Pros: easy to install and setup, esay to access via intranet and internet
Cons: none
"I installed this items for a friend who has a law firm. I easily set it up with his iPhone and give acces to his emloyees to review some critical cameras for an extra safety mesure.
It was done and installed in a few hours with some extra 360 cameras.
in summary , ultra easy to install very very good preformance for the price."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 18 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:California
Date:March 16, 2011

Great Product, Great Customer Service

Pros: great price excellent product great cust srvc.
Cons: none
Model Number: D12C16
"We purchased the Swann Alpha Defend & Deter 4 Channel System and are very happy with it. Received it 1 day. It has a great picture, is easy to set-up and easy to use. Customer Service has been great. They helped me set up ipod, ipad and laptop for remote access, so I can watch my property while at work. Worth every penny."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 19 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:St.Louis MO
Date:August 17, 2011

awesome device

Pros: great unit
Cons: instructions could be better...
"it does just what it says it does...
its a very inexpensive security system that does what units costing 1000.00 do.
We dont have the internet at work yet but when we do i have a smart phone ready to use. Im about to upgrade to the 8 camera and use the 4 camera at home...
"
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 20 for Swann Alpha ‘Defend & Deter’ Security Monitoring System
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:MARYLAND
Date:March 20, 2011

BEST TECH SUPPORT EVER

Pros: great tech support, great doing buisness with huw, system is user friendly
Cons: none
Model Number: FOUR CHANNEL H.264 DIGITAL RECORDER
"I HAVE HAD ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING AND ENJOYABLE TECH SUPPORT EXPERINCES TODAY FROM A GUY THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY IN AUSTRALIA THE TECH GUY HUW PATTINSON WAS FRIENDLY,SMART, PATIENCT,VERY HELPFUL. SHOULD BE MORE PROS LIKE HIM."
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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