Which system for small hostel (in USA)?

EDIT: after many helpful comments here and elsewhere, might be leaning the NVR direction, if it’s feasible and doesn’t wreck my budget. Added a couple questions at the bottom of this post accordingly. Thanks for all the (fast!) help everyone.


Hey all, trying to narrow down to the best system for my new startup. We’re under construction now, and looking to order ASAP. We’re not even open yet, but the need for a good camera system is becoming VERYYYYYY evident, so I am looking to order literally in the next few hours if I get a little bit of feedback that reaffirms what I’m thinking.

I know that I need 5 cameras. From my internet research, I think I’ve narrowed down to: Nest, Arlo, Ring, and Wyze.

Here’s the features I care mostly about:

  1. reliability of live remote feed (presumably via app)
  2. reasonable monthly cost — I don’t mind spending decent $ upfront for decent cams, but can’t be burning through big $ on a heavy subscription. It looks like each of the above brands have services in the neighborhood of $75-180 per year. That’s totally fine.
  3. retention of videos — either or both of through a cloud or ability to download videos to server. It seems like some services (Ring) don’t have any 24/7 retention, only “moments” or wtv. Which means it DAMN sure better be sure to capture every moment. The use case that I REALLY need to have, is someone notices 2-5 maybe even 7 days or a few more days after something is stolen, and then they tell me, I REALLLLYYYY want/need to be able to go back and figure out who the thief is. I am completely capable of setting up a local server, if this feature is supported. I don’t really want to have to hack some shit to do this, would much prefer it’s supported. Not sure anybody does. If it doesn’t 60 days of retention does seem like enough as long as it’s reliable. Mostly I just really really really really REALLY want to be able to figure out who the thieves are.

Any suggestions? Or can I really go wrong with any of the above brands? Anything else I should know or seem to be missing?

Thank you!!!!

***edit to add the below:

In case a little more context is helpful, this is a legitimately SMALL hostel (16-18 beds). And budget, highly seasonal (peak is Dec-Apr). Basically a large house, and nbd to cover outside (atm anyways). Sortofff “rural” location. Under construction right now, and while I’m reasonably well funded, I am def being cost conscious. The live “remote viewing” is important to me for reasons beyond security, b/c I think it will help the hostel to run with fewer staff (facilitating weird hours check-in).

Anyways, so if I were to go with NVR, as seems to be the common consensus, it is still key that I have the live “remote viewing” capability… As I’m understanding now, the NVR camera system manufacturers would provide the software for this, but I keep seeing everywhere that I would need a Static IP address for this to work.

A static IP address, however, would seriously blow my budget. I’m sort of “rural,” but still somehow getting a solid gigabit connection for $90/mo on a residential plan. I’ve been near the expected usage for the hostel already, and am confident the residential service should hold up.

To go to commercial, which I think is the only way I can get a static IP from my ISP, and keep my bandwidth anywhere near my current 1GBPS would literally add like $500/mo. Not a reasonable expense — at this point anyways.

So, any solution here?

And, if my budget for cameras + DVR (but not counting hard drives, which I already have) were say in the range of $500-1k, any chance anyone would have a fairly specific or even narrowed down recommendation? Just feels like I’m drowning in substantially equivalent options here…

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