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  • PC base Vs. Stand alone Video Surveillance

    I am trying to setup a 9 camera video surveillance in a privte estate. My hope is to find a system that is very friendly when accessed from a computer in the a local LAN system. My question is whether a PC base system would be more flexible and user fliendly or a stand alone DVR would better? We have a budget for the DVR of about $2,000. Any suggestions?

    Geraldo

  • #2
    Originally posted by Geraldo View Post
    I am trying to setup a 9 camera video surveillance in a privte estate. My hope is to find a system that is very friendly when accessed from a computer in the a local LAN system. My question is whether a PC base system would be more flexible and user fliendly or a stand alone DVR would better? We have a budget for the DVR of about $2,000. Any suggestions?

    Geraldo
    Is that budget for the DVR alone or for the entire system? You can get the Everfocus EDVR9D1/1T for $1,875.00. It's a good, cheap, system. You really aren't going to be able to go that much cheaper.

    I would go stand-alone rather than PC based because of the reliablity issues- if your computer goes down and causes you to miss video of an incident, you're screwed, and PCs go down on a regular basis as we all know.
    The CCTV Blog.

    "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Geraldo View Post
      I am trying to setup a 9 camera video surveillance in a privte estate. My hope is to find a system that is very friendly when accessed from a computer in the a local LAN system. My question is whether a PC base system would be more flexible and user fliendly or a stand alone DVR would better? We have a budget for the DVR of about $2,000. Any suggestions?

      Geraldo
      Before I can make a recommendation on PC based DVRs vs. Embedded based DVRs, lets consider the pros and the cons between these different platform DVRs.

      I will restrict my discussion only for first tier major manufacturers based DVRs.

      PC Based DVRs.

      PROS

      PC based DVRs always come with more features and functions than Embedded type of DVRs. They are mainly based on Microsoft or Linux operating systems and reside on the hard drives for all their activities (exceptions are few models from some of the manufacturers whose OS and the applications reside on flush memory devices).

      Majority of such features and functions are overlooked by many, as the basic function of the DVR is to record, playback and to be viewed remotely… Some have more functions integrated into their software allowing special record and playback techniques, special scan of areas to trigger recording, special RAID configurations, special external hard drive requirements, etc… Some come with CD burners, some come with DVD burners. Most come with very extensive search capabilities, some better than others..

      Above all, they all come with at least 3 years warranty!

      CONS

      PC based system require a lot of maintenance. Here are some of the typical events that must take place with this type of DVRs.
      1 Operating system updates – this is a must, as newer changes are required to close such OS vulnerability against virus attacks, spyware attacks, hackers attacks, etc.
      2. Hard drive maintenance – scheduled defragmentation scan disk utilities must constantly defrag the files (Microsoft specially) in order to maintain and preserve the integrity of the stored video and scan the hard drives to mark defective sectors, so that data is preserved being stored in a good sectors.
      3. Anti-Virus software is a must to catch and to disable any virus infections.
      4. Anti-spyware software is also a must to catch and delete spyware, worms and junk that gets piled up overtime due to its exposure to the Internet and the OS requirements in general (Microsoft generates to many TMP files that stay with the systems until you delete them manually).
      5. And many more…

      Embedded DVRs.

      PROS

      These type of DVRs are based on proprietary in most cases or sometimes MS or Linux OS systems that reside on flash memory. Having said that, you do not ever need to update or upgrade either OS or the DVR application, unless there is a very specific reason (this occurs only when you want to upgrade the DVR software to the next level, which then will require to run special utility that will erase the content of the flash memory and install the new).

      These systems are very simple to operate and they do not come with all the bells and the whistles that PC based systems contain. Rather, it is a workhorse that works 24/7 without much of any intervention. All the video content stores on the hard drives (which are easy to replace or to add new). Some of the come with CD burners, some with DVD burners and other with Compaq flash inputs to extract video of your choice. Some of the systems require proprietary remote view software and some use standard MS IE for remote viewing.

      In general, such systems start operating right out of the box.. and require only few changes – I.,e. Date and time, record modes and installation of IP information for remote viewing... They are mostly very easy to use and operate and does not require “computer expertise” to install and manage such hardware.

      Above all, they all come with between 3 years to 5 years warranty!

      CONS

      These are basic system similar to VCRs that you plug and play... Without knowledge of computers hardware, it will be difficult to upgrade such systems. Most do not come with typical screen shots of a computer, so there is some getting use to before you can use them. Most do not come with keyboard or a mouse... and some come with remote IR controller.

      Upgradability is not easy, unless you have some computer skills... Many of the manufacturers may insist that any hard drive upgrades must me done at their plants. Internal computer components do not use the latest and greatest parts and it will be difficult to find such parts in the open market.

      All in all, I prefer Embedded systems. Video quality is as good and in some cases better than PC based solutions. In many cases we were able to increase hard drive storage capacity much higher than manufacturers may recommend. I like the ones that come with IR remote controllers that makes it easy to program or to view video content 10+ feet away or with repeaters, extend the viewing station further away from the DVR.

      Embedded systems normally cost less than PC based systems, as the licensing costs are very little and sometimes non-existent and this is compared to PC based systems that always cost more not only because of the parts they use, rather the costs associated with license fees.. MS licenses (various types from OS to database), anti-virus software license, anti-spyware license, most likely C++ software license or license to another database software manufacturer, etc... They all operate side by side typical to standard computer and they all come with all the inherent problems that we know of such computers.

      Bottom line – if you want many features that PC based systems are known for, then that is your choice to stay with such platform.

      However, if you want a system that works 24/7 without any need of maintenance or updates, rather record and playback video locally and remotely without any special requirements, then your obvious choice is Embedded systems... Your pricing of $2,000 does call for various solutions that are commonly available from major manufacturers.. and they all must come with at least 3 years warranty (in case of Mitsubishi, it comes with 5 years warranty).

      The manufacturers for Embedded systems that will comply with your price range are as follows:

      1.American Dynamics - Three years warranty!
      2.Bosch - Three years warranty!
      3.Mitsubishi - Five years warranty!
      4.Sanyo - Three years warranty!
      5.CBC America - Three years warranty!

      Hope this helps.
      http://www.cctvshowroom.com
      http://www.everythingcctv.com

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      • #4
        Very good post Levon. Lot of good basic information.
        www.midwestsecuritycameras.com

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        • #5
          Thank you
          http://www.cctvshowroom.com
          http://www.everythingcctv.com

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