Some network video cameras, such as the D-Link Home Network Camera DCS-942L have slots for SD cards that enable you to record footage straight onto the card. Others can be set to record to a network attached hard drive, which can also be used for backing up your documents and other common NAS tasks.
The Compro RS-2104 Network Video Recorder is a NAS drive designed solely for the purpose of storing your network camera's recordings, but is it something we actually need?
While there are alternatives, the Compro RS-2104 Network Video Recorder has a number of things going for it that make it worthy of consideration, especially if you take your home security seriously.
Compro has a fine pedigree in network cameras, with the Compro IP70 being a particularly well-built and easy to use network camera.
If you've already got a Compro network camera then you can expect it to play nice with the Compro RS-2104 Network Video Recorder, much like D-Link's cameras work well with the D-Link Network Video Recorder DNR-322L. Only Compro cameras are officially supported.
The Compro RS-2104 Network Video Recorder can take hard drives up to 3TB in size, which should be enough for a couple of weeks' worth of footage, though you have to supply the hard drive yourself. It also provides the means to back up the footage to another USB device, should you need more space.
A pared-down Linux operating system powers the device, with features for simultaneous recording for four cameras, snap shots and event notification though email or text message. This last feature can be set to alert you if one of the cameras detects motion or sound, of if someone has tampered with the camera.
It's a very handy feature for when you're away from home and want to be alerted if anything happens. You can also schedule alerts. While this is a nice feature, some network cameras include similar features.
The always-on internet connection - presuming you connect it to your modem or router - means you can watch live video footage or play back recordings through a web browser, with an easy to use web interface. All of the features can be set reasonably quickly through a web interface as well.
Without a hard drive included, and support for Compro cameras only, the Compro RS-2104 Network Video Recorder is a useful device - just not as user-friendly as D-Link's competing network video recorder, the D-Link Network Video Recorder DNR-322L, and aimed more at small businesses than home users.