Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles ’ Category



Benefits of an NVR with a Built-in POE Switch

Written By:
Monday, August 17th, 2015

Many of our customers call us to ask why they cannot change the camera’s position when using a built-in POE NVR. The short answer to that is that it is not possible after the cameras are connected for the first time on the NVR. See, the NVR’s POE built-in switch is a separate entity. The idea behind this technology is to offer security, avoid broadcast storm, and in theory separate the traffic from the IP cameras and NVR completely. Also, the most obvious reason to use a built-in POE on these NVRs is to power the cameras from one unit, without using an external POE switch. This will reduce the cost of equipment in theory.

So, why can I not move the cameras to a different position after I plug them in the NVR? Well, the reason is that the MAC Address of the cameras “Sticks” to the port the camera is connected to, and the NVR will not release that unless the NVR gets defaulted completely.

What can I do if I want to change the position of my cameras then?

Ahh, that’s why I’m writing this article, to show you an idea I have that I think could help many customers that are frustrated with this type of setup.

NOTE: Although this article is solely to show a temporary fix to the way the POE works, it is intended to be used ONLY on those NVRs with POE built in. In the near future, a firmware will “fix” or add a different way to accomplish the following task. Any camera added to the built-in POE switch will not be accessible over the LAN interface. Instead, if you would like to access the settings of the cameras, you will then use the NVR’s web interface (EL SERIES IPC ONLY). For ONVIF cameras, you will need to be connected with a computer to one of the ports of the built-in POE Switch and either assign a static IP on your PC Ethernet card or simply get an IP address from the POE switch IP pool. You will then be able to change any settings on the camera.

The Following list will show you the NVR models numbers with Built-in POE:

4CH NVR-ELT-4-POE4

NVR-ELM-8-POE-8-DH

NVR-ELCE-16-POE16-DH

Lets begin by understand the settings on the NVR. The POE switch, like I said before, is a separate entity from the regular single LAN port. Normally the single Ethernet port of the DVR IP address is 192.168.1.108. The POE side is by default 10.1.1.1. You can change this by going to the network settings. For this article I will be using the web service interface of the NVR. Click on Setup, from the left options, click on Network then all the way to the bottom click on Switch.

POE Switch

Notice that the IP address and default gateway are in the same range, in fact they are the same number. If you planned to change this then you must have the same number on both the IP address and gateway. Also, the IP address here and for the NVR cannot be on the same range. An example is if the LAN port is configured 192.168.1.X where X is a random number from 1-255 then the IP address from the switch side cannot be on that range. You can leave the defaults as is and you will not have any conflict, or if you want to change it to something similar then you can use something like 192.168.x.x where the (x.x) can be any number different from your LAN IP Address.

The next step is to make sure you configure the essential settings for your NVR. Time, Date and DST are essential settings to keep your cameras in sync with the NVR time and to make sure the recordings have the accurate date and time in case an event happens.

Go to Setup>Setting>General and Date&Time. Adjust the date format and time format based on your liking.

Time Format

System Time

Go ahead now and connect the cameras to the POE switch of the NVR. For this demonstration I have 2 cameras connected with a short CAT5e cable. Allow about a minute for the cameras to show up on the screen of the NVR. NOTE: If for some reason the cameras do not come up on the screen, there is a chance that the IP cameras’ IP addresses are set to static and the NVR does not know how to change it to dynamic. Simply disconnect the camera and put it on a external POE switch and change the address using the config tool. You can download the tool here: CONFIG TOOL 2.0.

Assuming that all the cameras are set to dynamic, you should start to see the video streaming in the NVR. Also notice that you can tell when a camera is added automatically to the NVR by checking the LAN Icon displayed in the top left corner. This indicates that the camera is detected for that channel.

FullSizeRender

I have a total of 4 cameras connected on this NVR. Two of these are connected directly to the unit and two are brought from the network. The next thing to do will be creating a tour that will basically rearrange the cameras the way you want it. Ideally it will be easy for you to make a note of the IP cameras’ channel and what channel you want them to appear. For example, if camera 1 and 3 are not on the channels you want, then all you need to do is create the tour and select the cameras in the order you want them in the tour screen. If you want camera 3 on channel 1 then click on channel 3 first, that indicates the tour that the fist camera in the group will be #3. For this example I will choose camera 3 to go on window 1, camera 4 on window 2, camera 1 on window 4, and lastly camera 2 on window 3.

Below is a picture what it looks like before enabling the tour:

FullSizeRender

To configure the tour, login to the NVR and click on setup>settings>Display>Tour.

Tour

Notice that the NVR has different views (Window Split). On this NVR (4CH NVR ELT) I only have View 1 or View 4. For this trick to work, you will need to uncheck all of the channels on the View 1 channel group. This will ensure that the tour will only display a 4 View Split. From the window split drop down select View 4.

Tour4

Now in this window, delete the current view of cameras then click on the Green + button to add your own. Like I said before I will click on cameras 3, 4, 2 and 1 to add the view on my screen.

TourNew

Click on Enable and click on Save. Now this is how my cameras are arranged at this point. NOTE: Due to the nature of the Tour, the screen will refresh every 5 seconds. You will see that the screen goes dark and comes back for a second. I will recommend you to set it to 120 sec so you don’t see the refresh of the screen often.

FullSizeRender

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of the tour is to arrange the cameras on the main screen. The arrangement of the cameras will not be displayed when viewing the cameras over the web service. Also, in the event of searching for footage, the camera arrangement will not be paired to the channel in the footage. An example of this is if camera #4 was showing originally on channel 1 prior to enabling the tour, then when searching footage for that camera you will need to select channel 1 since that is the original window of the camera in question.

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A Bit on Bit Rates

Written By:
Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Bit Rates

What are Bit Rates?

Let’s start with “what is a bit, and “why do I need to know?” A bit is short for “binary digit”, the smallest unit of information in computing. It takes 8 bits to make a byte of information. “Bit rate” refers to the number of bits of data transferred in a file over a set length of time usually measured in number of “bits per second” or “bps”.

Constant bit rate (CBR) and variable bit rate (VBR) are the main types of bit rate encoding. Scene complexity can vary significantly over several hours of recorded video, and the bit rate you select for recording will have an effect on image quality, bandwidth consumption, and hard drive storage. A complex scene with moving action, such as traffic on a city street, or a scene with a lot of contrasting colors, will affect image quality and bandwidth consumption more than a less complex scene, such as an interior room with very little action or movement.

Most NVRs and IP cameras let you choose either constant or variable bit rates for recording video, and this is why you “need to know” the difference.

Constant Bit Rate (CBR)

With constant bit rate encoding, a fixed bit rate and bandwidth is used throughout the entire encoded video file. With a constant bit rate, image quality may fluctuate over the course of the video stream because some scenes are more difficult to render than others. In order for the bit rate to remain constant, the video may be encoded with fewer bits in some places or more bits in other places resulting in inconsistent image quality. Since bandwidth consumption with constant bit rates does not vary, the file size is limited and more predictable than with variable bit rates.

You will most commonly use CBR to restrict the data flow to keep network utilization as low as possible. If you have 10 cameras set to 8000K (8 megabits) on a 10/100 LAN, you are using 80% of your available bandwidth. With CBR, you can set that bit rate down to 5000K and your utilization will be around 50%.

Pre-planning your security video storage requirements is easier with constant bit rate because the amount of data being recorded never changes.

Variable Bit Rate (VBR)

With variable bit rate encoding, a changeable bit rate and bandwidth is used throughout the encoded video file. The variability of bit rates allows for video to be recorded at a lower bit rate when the  scene on screen is less complex and at a higher bit rate when the scene is more complex. Complex scenes (such as moving traffic) require more data and greater bandwidth to maintain image quality  than less complex scenes such as a wall or hallway with very little movement or action. With variable bit rates, the quality of video is higher and more consistent throughout the video stream compared to constant bit rates, yet the file size is less predictable.

Image quality is better with variable bit rates than with constant bit rates, yet pre-planning your security video storage requirements is more difficult because the bit rate changes and more complex scenes will require greater bandwidth and storage.

Here’s a Quick Look at How Constant and Variable Bit Rates Compare:

Constant Bit Rates Variable Bit Rates
Variable video image quality Consistent video image quality
File size is predictable because bit rate and bandwidth consumption is fixed File size is unpredictable because bit rate and bandwidth consumption varies
Greater compatibility with most systems (compared to variable bit rate) Less predictable compatibility (compared to constant bit rate)
When to use: When you need to limit file size and the quality of video is less important. When to use: When consistent image quality is critical and predicting or limiting file size is less important.

The best of both worlds is when the device allows you to set VBR with a ‘Cap’ or maximum allowed bit rate.

Here is a handy ‘Quick Reference’ for setting a constant Bit Rate in bits per second.

Low Activity

Compression Frame Rate VGA/D1 720P/1.3MP 1080P/3MP
H.264 25~30 768K 2000K 3000K
15~20 512K 1500K 2000K
8~10 386K 1000K 1500K
2~5 256K 768K 1000K
MPEG4 25~30 1000K 3000K 5000K
15~20 768K 2000K 4000K
8~10 512K 1500K 3000K
2~5 386K 1000K 2000K

Normal Activity

Compression Frame Rate VGA/D1 720P/1.3MP 1080P/3MP
H.264 25~30 1000K 3000K 5000K
15~20 768K 2000K 4000K
8~10 512K 1500K 3000K
2~5 386K 1000K 2000K
MPEG4 25~30 1500K 4000K 6000K
15~20 1000K 3000K 5000K
8~10 768K 2000K 4000K
2~5 512K 1500K 3000K
High Activity or PTZ on Tour
Compression Frame Rate VGA/D1 720P/1.3MP 1080P/3MP
H.264 25~30 2000K 4000K 6000K
15~20 1500K 3000K 5000K
8~10 1000K 2000K 4000K
2~5 768K 1500K 3000K
MPEG4 25~30 3000K 6000K 8000K
15~20 2000K 4000K 6000K
8~10 1500K 3000K 4000K
2~5 1000K 2000K 3000K

In the bit rate charts above, you will see 1000K / 2000K etc. These figures can be loosely translated into ‘megabits’ per second.

1000K = 1Mb | 2000K = 2Mb and so on.

(In the computing world you would actually use 1024K = 1Mb and 2048K = 2Mb, but since most CCTV devices won’t allow those exact numbers, we just round them down to the closest thousand.) These figures are important to familiarize yourself with to manage your network load. For example – 1 camera running a high bitrate of 8000Kbps (8Mbps) is no problem on a 10/100 network. 10 cameras at that bit rate = 80Mbps. 80Mbps is 80% network utilization on a 10/100 LAN. This is enough to see visible slowdown on the network and may begin to cause problems.

Switch to a Gigabit LAN and that becomes 8% utilization. Always check the capabilities of the network you are installing on – this can save you from a lot of headaches. When using IP cameras, always use Gigabit routers and switches when possible such as this 8 Port POE Switch.  Also, make sure your NVR is connected to a gigabit switch. Plugging your NVR in to a 10/100 switch will limit your NVR to a 100Mb connection.

And finally – here is a “loose rule of thumb” for setting a bitrate:

[image width] x [image height] x [framerate] x [motion rank] x 0.07 = [desired bit rate]

Where the image width and height is expressed in pixels, and the motion rank is a number between 1 and 4. 1 being low motion, 2 being medium motion, and 4 being high motion (motion being the amount of image data that is changing between frames.).

So for instance, if we take a 1280×720 video at 24 FPS, with medium motion (movie with slow camera movements, not many scene changes…), the expected ideal bit rate would be:

1280 x 720 x 24 x 2 x 0.07 = 3,096,576 bps => approximately 3000 kbps, or 3MB

Remember – bit rates are not “universal” – different cams will give different results due to variations in encoding methods, hardware, and environmental conditions. Watch for artifacts like “ghosting” or “smearing” of moving objects.

Ghosting = when someone moving across the image may appear transparent, or may have a “ghost” following them. The “ghost” is not always transparent and may look like two people overlapped.

Smearing = when a moving object causes objects around it to change in appearance or starts to become pixilated.

Pixilated = When objects become unclear – may appear as a “smear” or slightly out of focus. In worst cases you will begin to see blocks of similar colors instead of the object itself.

If you see any of those symptoms, you may need to raise the bit rate. And always, if you have questions or just can’t figure it out, feel free to call our Technical Support line for assistance at 866.573.8878 option 3.

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Why You Should Choose TechPro Security for Your Security Camera Installation

Written By:
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

You’ve Googled it. You’ve read every article you can find. You think you’re good around the house because you got the toilet unclogged! You’re confident that you can install that box of cameras packaged with an NVR and “Everything You Need To Safeguard Your Home”, because your wife told you that you’re “pretty darn handy”.  You can, but at what cost? Your sanity? Your marriage? Your masculinity? Choosing to do your own security camera installation can be a great hassle.

young-housewife2

You can go to one of thousands of retail locations and spend a few hundred dollars  on a boxed system sold by someone who usually works in the video game department or home appliances depending on what day of the week it is. You’ll pay what you perceive to be a fair price and you’ll get home, take it out of the box, and realize that it’s more complicated than you thought. You’ll read the directions and then spend hours running cable in your attic and forgetting that the insulation gives you a rash. Or, you’ll try to balance on that ladder while you use a staple gun to attach cable to the soffit. You’ll buy some special tools to make the connections at the end of the CAT5 or the RG59 Coaxial Cable and inevitably you’ll connect everything and it won’t work. At least not right. The picture might be blurry or there might be a line running through the image. Maybe the cameras all work but you can’t view them on your smartphone! Well, you can breathe easy because you can call the manufacturer and they will help you get everything set up..NOT!

Them – “For English Press 1, For Spanish Press 2”

You – “#1”

Them – SILENCE except for distorted elevator music

You – “Hello. Hello. HELLO!”

Them – SILENCE except for distorted elevator music

You – “Seriously! HELLO!!!”

Them – “Due to high call volume, your anticipated wait time is . . . 15 minutes. If you prefer to have one of our representatives return your call, please enter 3 and leave your name after the beep”

You – “3 . . . Bob Sch . . “

Them – SILENCE and then a dial tone

You  – “Hello. Hello. Bleeping! Bleep! Bleep!”

unhappycustomer2

After 2 more disconnects, 3 hours on hold, and your children hearing words some adults have never heard, you’re connected to someone in another country named John Smith who you can’t understand. You’ve had enough! You disassemble the system, take it back to the store and you’re charged a 15% restocking fee because you mounted the cameras. You get the refund back in cash and spend half of it drinking at the corner bar with someone named Porsha and getting a DWI a block away from your home! All because you didn’t leave it to the professionals!

Okay, so maybe that’s a little extreme, but if you own a home or a business you’ve probably tried some DIY project that you thought you could do and ended up making a mess. Come on, admit it. Don’t worry, you won’t lose your man card! WE are professionals and doing installations is how we started.

The Internet has done a great job of convincing everybody that they can be a super model, Bob Vila or Martha Stewart and all they have to do is go to You Tube to learn how. You can do the same with your security surveillance system for your home or business. You can check out our videos and get a pretty good idea of what you need, how to connect everything, and how to monitor it. All you need is a recorder and some cameras right? What about cable? You know there’s more than one cable choice right? Are you going to use RG59, RG6, RG11 or maybe slim RG59? Will it be shielded, double shielded, quad shielded? What about the connector? You know there are different connectors . . . don’t you? Will you use an F connector, N connector or a BNC connector? How will you connect the connector to the cable? You can use a molded connector, hex crimp or compression and you’re going to screw them on. Or do you want to push them on? You’ve got one of these tools shown below right? You’ll need one but, you knew that!

tool

So, you’ve now connected your NVR to your CVI cameras using RG6 cable and you’ve lost 5 pounds in water weight because the crawlspace is 120° during the summer. You’re hooked up and ready to test it. Nothing, you have nothing! You know you have to use IP cameras with an NVR right? CVI cameras can only be used with a CVI DVR but hey . . . it’s an easy fix. You can take the hard drive out of the NVR and send the NVR back or you can send the CVI cameras back and get IP cameras! Easy! But you used coaxial cable and you have to use CAT5 cable if you want to use an NVR! But, it’s okay, you’ll rebound. It’s Sunday night and you’ve got a whole week to recover.

Ah, the weekend is here again and you’re pumped and ready to finish what you started last week. Oh that’s right, you have to get the car over and get an oil change and tires rotated, mow the lawn and go see Charlie’s soccer match, but hey, there’s always tomorrow! Oops, you forget about the wake for your wife’s cousin and a get-together celebrating her life at Aunt Rose’s house. That was tomorrow? So, four weeks after you started and you’ve already spent hours of time ordering, reordering, running cable, patching the hole in the ceiling that you made with your steel toe work-boots (that you bought just for this job). You bought some special tools for the cable that you’ll never use again and your wife refuses to talk to you until you do something to make the outside wiring look better!

cable-clean-up-01

Is it really worth the headache? Do you need to add another “task” to your honey-do list? If you’re anything like me, you value your free time and could find better uses for your time than climbing around in your attic or digging a trench around the house JUST to run cable! Do yourself a favor and go check out the Security Camera King Installation Service online and let us help alleviate the stress of doing it yourself! Have you ever watched a professional do something and said “Self, how do they make it look so easy”? They make it look easy because they do it every day again and again and again! Repetition creates habit and here at Security Camera king, we have a habit of installing surveillance security systems that fit your needs and budget!

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What is a Subnet?

Written By:
Monday, August 3rd, 2015

When configuring IP devices such as IP cameras, NVRs, and DVRs, you need to set up IP addressing so each device can communicate with the other devices. If you don’t understand how IP addressing works, this can be a frustrating experience.

“Are You on the Same Subnet?”

You may keep hearing this question when you call a Tech Support representative. If you don’t understand what that is and why it’s important, then you have come to the correct place. A subnet refers to the IP address range that a computer ‘lives on’. Every device that is connected to a network has a unique address on that network. That device can only connect to another device that is in the same subnet or address range. To be able to see any other range of IP addresses, you must connect through a router or similar device that is performing NAT (Network Address Translation). A NAT device allows you to view other subnets, like Internet Addresses.

So, What is a Subnet?

A subnet is determined by your ‘Network ID’. Your Network ID is determined by a couple of factors:

1. Your router. Your router settings will determine the initial Network ID when you set up it’s LAN address (Local Area Network).

2. Your ‘Subnet Mask’ determines what range of addresses in your subnet your computer can see and communicate with.

Lets look at an IP address and break it down –

An IP V4 address consists of a group of 4 sets of numbers separated by a ‘dot’ or period. example = 192.168.1.100

Each number is limited to an integer between 1 and 255 – you’ll never see an address that contains a number larger than 255. If you do – it’s wrong.

Each ‘set’ of numbers is called an ‘Octet’ (from the Latin and Greek ‘octo’ meaning ‘eight’ – each number is an 8-bit value)

When you connect to a LAN (Local Area Network), the router will assign your computer an IP Address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, and DNS Server(s)

IP Address = the unique address of your computer on the LAN.

Subnet Mask = Determines what segments of your Network ID your computer can communicate with.

Gateway = Usually your router. Your router is the ‘Gateway’ to another network. (The Internet is another network = WAN (Wide Area Network)

DNS (Domain Name Service) Server = This is the engine that translates a DNS name into an IP Address. When you type in www.google.com, the DNS server translates that name to an IP Address = 74.125.30.103  (Computers use IP Addresses, not names.) The DNS Server looks at constantly updated tables to convert the name to the actual IP address so you can connect.

Your router usually performs NAT and DNS for you as well as other functions such as DHCP and IP Masquerading.

If you plug into a LAN and you get no IP Address or Gateway, etc. it usually means one of two things:

1. You do not have a good connection. (bad cable, defective port, or other hardware issue)

2. There is no DHCP server on the LAN. (Dynamic Host Control Protocol). A DHCP server automatically assigns an IP Address, Gateway, etc. to a device that gets connected to the LAN and is responsible for keeping all addresses it assigns unique between devices. The DHCP server is usually your router.

So, What Does it Mean to be “On the Same Subnet”?

Let’s say your computer has a LAN address of 192.168.1.100.
Your computer has a standard Subnet Mask of 255.255.255.0.
With that Subnet Mask, your computer can only see a device where the first three Octets match exactly. You could not connect to a computer or device with an address
of 192.168.0.xxx because the third Octet is different. Your computer is limited to 254 addresses that it can communicate with. (255 possible, minus your computer = 254)

The only way you can ever connect to another network is if one of those remaining 254 addresses is a Gateway performing NAT. (Network Address Translation).

Here is where the Subnet Mask is important – you can ‘unmask’ more addresses and expand your Network ID range.

With an address of 192.168.1.100 – change your Subnet Mask to 255.255.0.0.

This will ‘unmask’ the third Octet from your computer and open your Network ID to 192.168.xxx.xxx.

Now you can see a device with an address of 192.168.xxx.xxx (where x = any number between 1 and 255)

Here is how your Subnet Mask affects your Network ID.

IP = 192.168.1.100
Network ID = 192.168.1
Mask = 255.255.255.0
The first three octets must match for communication.

IP = 192.168.1.100
Network ID = 192.168
Mask = 255.255.0.0
The first two octets must match for communication.

IP = 192.168.1.100
Network ID = 192
Mask = 255.0.0.0
Only the first octet must match for communication.

This last subnet mask allows you to see a lot more devices than the standard 255.255.255.0 mask = 254 x 254 x 254 = over 16 million devices instead of only 254.

What You Should Have Learned Here

Look at the Subnet Mask to determine your Network ID.
The number of times you see ‘255’ is the number of octets that must match in the LAN IP Addresses of your devices.
Those matching numbers are your ‘Network ID’.

This is an over simplification of Subnet Masking. It provides a very basic ‘rule of thumb’ for setting network addresses.
There are other numbers you may see on a subnet mask such as 192, 224, 240, 248, 252.

If you see these other numbers appear in your Subnet Mask, consider them a ‘red flag’.

If and when you see this, STOP what you are doing. I guarantee there will be an IT person on site that you will need to consult. Only an IT person (or Network Administrator) will be using those numbers on a LAN and you have no choice but to involve them in the process. (Unless you are an Information Technology person or Network Administrator and you understand how those other numbers can limit the usable IP addresses available on the LAN)

In short – if you see anything other than ‘255’ in your LAN subnet mask this is a strictly managed network and your chances of casually breezing through your installation have just ended.

Call the on site Network Admin for advice before you do anything else.

There are other ranges of IP Addresses that you may encounter on the LAN. Don’t be afraid! They all work the same way.
A LAN will always use what are called Private or Internal address ranges. These addresses will never be used on the Internet, they are reserved for use on the Internal LAN.

AddressClass

If you look at a DHCP LAN address on your computer and it does not fall within one of the private ranges shown above, there is a problem.

There is one more range of addresses you may see, but they usually indicate a network issue. These are ‘Zero Config’ addresses.

The ‘Zero_conf’ addresses start with 169.254.xxx.xxx Range possible = 169.254.1.0 to 169.254.254.25.

This address range is what you will find on a ‘Windows’ PC that can not connect or cannot find a DHCP server.

You will see it on a Windows PC as an ‘Autoconfiguration Address’. When you see a 169.254.xxx.xxx address, you are probably not connected to a network.

Any other address range is not considered ‘Private’ and can cause complications when you try to connect outside of the LAN. (like to the Internet.)

This is because almost all other IP Addresses can be used publicly as Internet Addresses. Since your router is performing NAT, your computer can ‘see’ that expanded range of addresses.

This presents the issue of IP Address conflicts. (Remember that all devices must have a unique IP address.)
If your LAN IP Address range is not within the boundaries of the private ranges shown above, there is a good chance that an Internet site may have the same address as one of the devices on your LAN. You will try to access a device on your LAN and end up connecting to a porn site in Brazil or something crazy.

So just be sure when you set up a LAN, you stay within those Private Address guidelines.

For more assistance with you network range when setting up your security camera equipment, feel free to give our tech support department a call at 866-573-8878 option 3 or check out our Networking Forum on our website.

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What are all These Ports on My Security Camera DVR?

Written By:
Friday, July 31st, 2015

When you receive your Security Camera DVR you might be wondering what some of the ports are for. This article will explain some of them, the reason they are their as well as a little bit of history.

USB = Universal Serial Bus

usbUniversal Serial Bus is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s to replace the slower serial and ps2 communication ports on a computer.  The purpose was to be able to attach devices like a mouse, a keyboard, disk drives, network adapters, portable media players, and other devices that help qualify the word Universal in the name of the port.  It has become such a standard that it has evolved over the years as USB 1.x, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and USB Type-C.  The DVRs and NVRs continue with this trend by offering USB ports for connecting a mouse and flash drives or hard drives to the unit by using one of the available ports.  Unfortunately, USB keyboards are not supported by the operating system and only the online keyboard is available for entering data.  DVRs and NVRs are very similar to computers, so the device needs to be supported in the operating system.  This matters especially when connecting drives in the sense that you could try to use a USB drive that is too new for the unit.  A DVR or NVR manufactured during a certain era will only support flash drives and hard drives with sizes appropriate to that era.  For example, you will not find a 64GB flash drive or a 6 Terabyte hard drive in 2007.  There is no harm plugging in a USB drive to see if it is recognized since the port is plug and play.

Ethernet Port

ethernetAn 8P8C (8 position 8 contact) modular connector, often called RJ45 (Registered Jack 45), has become an extremely important plug since the world wide web is connected with this standard Ethernet port on all kinds of devices.  Our DVRs have one Ethernet port so that they can connect to a router for access to the unit from the world wide web.  Our NVRs have the same port, and may also have power over Ethernet ports (POE) for cameras to connect to it for power and video data transmission.  You can buy an 8 channel NVR, for example, that has a built-in 8 port POE switch that allows you to plug 8 IP network cameras into the back of the unit.  You can also buy an 8 channel NVR that does not have any built in POE ports, so the video data would need to be networked back to the NVR.  This can congest a network if you have other computers and devices using the same routers and switches, but there are ways to design your network topology to reduce or separate traffic.

BNC Connector

The BNC connector derived its name from Bayonet Neill–Concelman, which is a combination of its bayonet mount locking mechanism and its inventors, Paul Neill and Carl Concelman.  The BNC connector is a quick connect radio frequency connector commonly made in 50 and 75 ohm versions used for coaxial cable.  This connector has become the heart and soul of the analog and HD-CVI DVR because of a quick plug and play connection option.  Many people like to use existing coax cable and continue to use it with new technologies like HD-CVI rather than mess with a complete overhaul to an IP technology system.  While IP may be the future, this connector has found new legs with new technologies and should remain viable for years to come.  As long as coax cable still exists, the BNC connector will remain the default option.

RCA Connector

An RCA connector is designed to carry audio and video signals, and received its name from the Radio Corporation of America in the early 40s when it was designed to be an internal connector in home radio-phonograph consoles.  This port has evolved over the years to encompass video in the famous red, white, and yellow composite video.  Our DVRs and NVRs use the connector for audio-in and audio-out primarily since video on our DVRs is covered by the BNC port and NVRs use networking to transmit video.

HDMI Port

hdmiHDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and it is a proprietary interface designed for sending video and audio to and from HDMI compliant devices.  The video is uncompressed and the audio can be compressed or uncompressed.  Our DVRs and NVRs have this port as a connection option to a TV or monitor for viewing the live video or playback, as well as adjusting the settings of the unit through the menu options.  The main improvement of this port over VGA, for example, is the ability to do high definition without video loss, which allows us to see higher quality video.  This means that we can see more cameras on the screen at one time clearly and see more detail.

In Summary

There were many ports used in the past that are now likely on the way out.  Most notably is the RS485 connector that is used to control the PTZ cameras.  With Ethernet IP camera and HD-CVI camera technologies taking off, connecting a PTZ is now done over the one cable with no additional cables needed for PTZ control.  They should still be present on hybrids and tribrids, but anyone buying a new system should opt for one of the new technologies since video surveillance is about protecting assets.  VGA should hang around a little longer, but HDMIs ability to handle high definition video without video loss and audio on the same cable, make it very convenient.  RS232 / Serial, PS2, LPT, are all in the port graveyard, but there are likely still some machines out there that have them.

No doubt that new standard ports will come, as they are always being invented or improved.  The research and development teams at all technology companies are working towards the next big thing, so that they can create a new standard port for years to come.  DVR and NVR companies will incorporate any new port into their system that is useful as it grows in popularity.  For example, if a port replaces USB 3.0 for connecting external hard drives, that would become a standard very quickly.  Security Hard Drives happen to be the most important component of an NVR since they are used to record the video footage.  This is an area where the technology needs to improve.

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