Posts Tagged ‘ DVR ’

So many options when choosing a DVR for Surveillance Video!

Written By:
Thursday, August 27th, 2015

So, you’ve had enough of hoodlums and thugs stealing your Garden Gnomes and knocking over your mailbox. And those employees! OYVAY! They keep putting Metamucil in the coffee. Before you choose a security recording device for your home or business, you should educate yourself on the different types of recorders as well as the most important differences. Let’s take a look at the options available and under what circumstances they are best suited.


You basically have two options for wiring up a security system . . . CAT5/CAT6 network cable or RG59 coaxial with a power supply (AKA Siamese cable). If you already have the network cable installed you can pretty much quit reading this now and take a look at our NVRs because most people will agree that IP will give you the best images with the highest resolution! If you don’t have network cable installed, you’ve got enough other options to choose from so let’s take a look at them.

  1. Analog – The traditional Analog CCTV surveillance system transmits data over Coaxial Cable and back to the DVR where it is digitized and stored on a Hard Drive using a FIFO (First in First out) method. Make sure you have sufficient hard drive space so that you won’t have to worry about recording over older footage. You can still view live streaming video or you can access recorded footage, locate specific incidents, zoom in on particular images and save those to an external device to present to the authorities if you ever need to. Analog is being phased out by manufacturers and is already getting harder to find, so if you still have analog cameras and insist on keeping those, you might want to consider getting a Hybrid DVR that handles multiple technologies including Analog, CVI and even IP. Remember, while 960H is a huge improvement over previous D1 resolution, it doesn’t even hold a candle to 1080p megapixel security footage!

  2. HD-CVI – Developed and created by Dahua, HD-CVI is one of the newer technologies and stands for High Definition Composite Video Interface. It allows users to transmit video, audio and control over the same coaxial cable that was previously only capable of transmitting video. With an unprecedented transmission distance of up to 1,600 feet, HD-CVI technology gives you tremendous versatility when it comes to camera placement and distance from the recorder. Because of the ability to utilize the coax cable for control, you can use the OSD (on-screen display) to adjust a variety of settings for security cameras including exposure, white balance, back light compensation, day & night selection, motion triggers, blocking, etc. Remember, HD-CVI cameras ONLY work with HD-CVI capable DVRs and vice versa! Check out our DVR-CVI8M-1080-DH-V2 that can accommodate 8 HD-CVI cameras OR you can mix any combination of Analog, CVI or 2 IP cameras for under $399.00!  

  3. HD-TVI – This was created jointly by Hikvision and Techpoint and because it was released a little later than HD-CVI, it isn’t as popular but there are some benefits. Hikvision has opted for somewhat of an “open source” in relation to component manufacturing. This has opened the market to over 100 different manufacturers who have/are developed HD-TVI solutions and has created more competition. HD-TVI recorders are compatible with any HD-TVI camera on any channel! Overall, under optimal conditions where you have all of the same settings, are using the same type and quality of cable, and have the placement of the cameras the same distance from the DVRs, you shouldn’t notice a difference in image quality. Based on some independent tests, HD-TVI offers the longest transmission without signal degradation across both RG59 and CAT5 (with balun) cabling. We will be carrying the HD-TVI technology shortly under our PRIME designation.
  4. >Hybrid/Tribrid – A combination of different technologies that work together in one unit. We offer a variety of Hybrid/Tribrid combinations that help you integrate your older analog cameras with newer HD-CVI and IP cameras. This works out great if you feel like you’re constantly trying to keep up with technology and have older cameras sitting around that still work. Hook them up and purchase a couple new HD-CVI or IP cameras. Some of our Hybrid/Tribrids offer full use of 16 IP cameras AND even give you the ability to double that number with an additional 16 analog cameras! Others like our very reasonably priced TRIDVR-ELE16ME are capable of handling analog, CVI and up to 2 IP cameras.


There are numerous options, and many people who are familiar with the different systems have their preferences already. This is nothing more than an informational article to help you compare these different technologies and decide what will work best for you in your specific situation. My personal take on this is that the Tribrid DVRs are the best value for your money since they allow you to be flexible and give you the opportunity to sample the different cameras, try different functions, and decide what technology works best for you.

If you happen to own a Medical Marijuana Dispensary or need to meet the state law requirements for a retail establishment, we are I-502 and Amendment 64 experts and we can help ensure that you will pass your inspection! If you’ve already created a site plan (it doesn’t matter if it’s a professional CAD drawing or a sketch on a napkin), you can simply email a copy/scan to us and we will help get you the best setup and best placement of the cameras so you can pass your inspection. You can be rest-assured when you are setting up your Marijuana venture because we back up our products for your I-502 and Amendment 46 Inspection with a Certificate of Guarantee stating that the system we helped you choose has met or exceeded all of the specifications that are needed to have you pass your inspection.


You can call our sales staff at 866-573-8878 Monday-Friday between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM EST and they will help you determine what will work best for you based on location, building size, existing lighting, etc. all while keeping you within your price range.


How to Back Up Your Security Camera Footage with Schedule Backup

Written By:
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015


We get many calls in the tech support department by people looking to keep an offsite backup of their DVR.  Unfortunately, all options are going to utilize valuable upstream bandwidth as well as tax the DVR system while it tries to record video as its primary duty.  Some businesses want to archive video records for various reasons, and the schedule backup solution is an excellent option.  If you need to have it offsite, it can still work because the software uses an address and login criteria to find the machine and access it for backup.  This is a very basic tool, and this article is only going to focus on the basics in order to get you set up and backing up some video to the computer of your choice at the time that you want.  First, you will need to download the Windows only program from our website at this location:  click here


Run the program and login using admin as the username and admin as the password.  When I upgraded to Windows 10, it gave me an error when I tried to run the program.  I right clicked on the icon, chose Properties, and then Compatibility where I was able to set the compatibility mode to Windows 7.  The program ran with no problem after changing that setting.  After you login, you will see the main Schedule Backup window where you can start to configure your backup.


Start by clicking on the Config button and select Device Manage so you can add your DVR or NVR to the software.


You need to add your IP address, login credentials, and give it a good name.  If you have more than one DVR or NVR to backup, it is a good idea to name each device by the location so you can track them easier.  If your computer is not at the site of the DVR or NVR, keep in mind that it will be using the upstream of the Internet connect to send high quality video to the backup computer.  Also consider that you will fill up your computer’s hard drive very fast with high quality video, so you need to consider have vast amounts of storage space to encompass large volumes of data.


If you select Config then Option, you can configure the default save directories by selecting up to five devices as well as how much hard drive space will be used until it moves onto the next device.  The amount used will be the amount of available space on the drive until it reaches the minimum free capacity amount. You can select the default option of Overwrite or Stop for when the drives are full.  On this screen you can click the ellipse next to the Download record file name rule to completely customize the naming convention for your files.


Our next step is to create a backup plan by clicking the Config button, and selecting Backup Plan.

When you see the backup plan box, click the Add button.


This is where you will create your first backup plan.  If you want to backup everything, you would need to click the Multiple-channel button and select all cameras.  Keep in mind that you will be taxing your DVR and bandwidth by requesting massive amounts of video footage to be sent via your upstream or internal network to the computer running the Schedule Backup software.  The Backup Plan period is the time when the DVR will backup the video footage.  The Record Period is the video that you want to backup.  Since the box defaults to Today, you have to choose yesterday since that video footage has already been recorded.  If you are using Multiple-channel, the Record Period will be the same for all channels.  If you want different channels on different time periods, then you need to create a Backup Plan for each channel.  You can be creative on what to backup and when.  The last step is to hit the Start button on the main screen, and it will change to a Stop button so you know it is running.


This tool is an effective way to back up some video footage that you want to save.  Most people do not need to save everything so this will do the trick.  If you need to backup everything, the most effective and fastest way is to take the hard drives out of the unit and replace them with fresh ones.  Moving all video from one drive to another is not practical since the video is already on one drive.  There will be too much stress on the DVR and the network, especially with the massive amount of gigabytes created from high definition video.  For a selective backup or important camera, the Schedule Backup is very useful.  Once you have the backup in the .dav file format, you can open them using the Smart PSS or the player that is available on our website.  The player is a smaller application, so it can easily be distributed with the video.  The files that are backed up will depend on how you are recording the cameras.  I am recording full time, so I have one file for each hour of recording.  That means each day will provide 24 files for each camera.  If you are recording motion, then each file will be one motion event per camera.  This means that you could have thousands of little files, and that will be what the schedule backup software places on your computer.  Full time recording is more manageable, but of course requires more hard drive space.

No matter how you decide to use Schedule Backup, give it a try as it is a free option available for testing.  If you need help setting up the Schedule Backup software, our tech support team can remote in to your computer and do that.

Here are some useful software links:

You can download the Backup Scheduler tool by clicking here.

You can download the Smart PSS Windows (2015) by clicking here.

You can download the Smart PSS for MAC by clicking here.

You can download the Video Player and Converter Downloads by clicking here.


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.


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.


Technical Support Might Be the Most Important Part of your Security Camera System!

Written By:
Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

If you’ve ever shopped for a security camera system you know there are a lot of options available. Do you go with an economical analog CCTV system or one that’s a high definition and state-of-the-art? Should you go with HDCVI or a Network IP setup? Analog cable, CAT5, POE switches, small hard drive or a large hard drive? There is a lot to think about if you want a solution that is going to work for you reliably and give you the quality and functionality you expect.

But one of the most over looked and under-valued components of any modern day security system is TECHNICAL SUPPORT! Without good technical support you might end up with a pile of expensive hardware that was not installed or configured property. Worst it might never get setup at all.


One company that realizes that quality technical support is just as important as the superior products they provide is In addition to all of the product information, product videos, and downloadable content, they also have live technical support for the life of the product. This means you will get FREE lifetime support for any security camera or recording device you buy from them.

Locations in the USA on the East and West Coasts allow for to have extended support hours. Live industry experts are available to help you with the installation, initial setup, system configurations, networking and remote viewing / mobile app implementation.

This support starts with the knowledgeable sales team. Whether you are a professional installer or just looking to secure your home or business you are sure to get all the help you need. Many of the sales team members are also experienced security system installers. This level of expertise ensures that the sales associates will be able to answer all your questions and recommend the best security system to fit you specific needs.

Security cameras

The sales staff can also help you plan your installation. They can help you choose the technology that’s best for you and they can help determine power requirements, what type of cameras you need, how much storage capacity you want and much more.

Once your equipment has been purchased you will have access to a U.S. based technical support team. As mentioned earlier tech support is Free for the life of the product. Here are just a few things a technical support representative can help you with:

DVR Settings: Including but not limited to the following:

  • Setting up your DVR time and Date format
  • Setting up Motion Detect for you cameras
  • Setup you cameras recording resolutions and recording stream settings
  • Setup motion masking and privacy masking on your camera
  • Setup text alerts
  • Setup storage management
  • Review recorded video
  • Export recorded video

IP Camera Settings:

Unlike analog cameras and DVRs, IP camera settings are usually stored in the camera itself. Each camera has it own IP address and they can be accessed individually or simultaneously through the use of an NVR (Network Video Recorder). IP cameras also use CAT5 cable instead of coax and can transfer power and video on the same cable with the use of a POE switch (Power Over Ethernet). Technical support can help you setup the IP addresses for your IP cameras and assist with your POE switch and network setup.

Remote Access, Remote Viewing & Mobile App Setup

Every DVR or NVR that sells has remote access capabilities and FREE remote viewing software or mobile apps. The Pros at can help you set up up remote access as well as get you set up on your PC, MAC, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone or tablet.

If you want to access your home DVR or NVR from a remote location, you must first connect to the IP address that was provided by your ISP. An ISP or Internet Service Provider is the company that provides your Internet like Comcast, Brighthouse or Verizon.

Once you have accessed the home IP address, your router needs to direct your connection to the home DVR or NVR, this is called Port Forwarding.

In addition to setting up your remote viewing apps the technician can also assist you with your router configuration and port forwarding to your recording device.

DDNS Account

One more thing to consider when accessing your DVR or NVR remotely as mention above is that you will need to know what IP address your Internet Service Provider has assigned to you. Once you know that IP address you can set up your software or app to go to that IP address (your home’s IP) and direct you to your Recorder.

One problem you may face is that ISPs often change your assigned IP address (unless your pay for a static IP address). If the IP address of you house changes, then your software or app will not be able to connect to your home’s router until you update the setting with your new home IP address. One way to avoid this is to sign up for a DDNS account (Dynamic Domain Name Service). Simply put, this is a domain name like ( that is aware of you current home IP and will always resolve to your home IP even if it changes.

The great news is that all DVRs and NVRs support DDNS and for each recorder you buy, will give you a FREE DDNS domain name. Better yet, one of the support representatives will be happy to get it all set up for you.

Even More Support


In addition to the Sales and Live tech support offers alternative methods of support including upward of 1000 high quality products, support and how-to videos. There is also an extensive download area where you can find the latest drivers, firmware, software and tools for your CCTV and security equipment.

Live chat for the sales and support department is available on the website Monday through Friday 9am to 8pm EST.

Last but certainly not least there is the CCTV Forum. This is the place to connect with experts in the industry, find answers to common problems and get help on your specific problems. The forum is a 24/7-support source for anyone in need of help regarding CCTV, Home Security, Access Control and more. This forum is constantly monitored by the support staff at and is sure to get you the answers you need fast.

As you can see there is much more to a quality security system then just top quality products. The support you receive is just as important and the equipment you buy and the experts at are there to give you both.


The Importance of Security Camera and Security Recorder Maintenance

Written By:
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Imagine walking into your business the morning after something occurred overnight, and you need the video that will help locate the suspect. You find out your system was not recording, or the equipment just turned itself off and failed to capture the event. Frustration understood. You bought the equipment for the specific reason to record when a wrongdoing occurs. Often, system failure is due to the lack of security recorder maintenance on your recorder or cameras. Equipment failures can happen and will happen if proper attention is not paid to the device over time.

A DVR/NVR is an apparatus for security, and it is important to keep it running at optimal performance. Security Recorder Maintenance will prolong the life of the unit and reduce potential for future operational anomalies and failures.

When the system is initially installed, generally there is no documentation providing recommended maintenance for the equipment. This article will give you some general insight, and suggestions, on how to maintain your security system and cameras. Of course, not even the “master of maintaining” can control the “other” factors that also cause the same failures. For example, power outages, storms, lightning, brownouts, circuit trips, alien invasions, etc.

Here is a little bit about EOS/ESD, dust and humidity, specifically.

EOS and ESD (electrical overstress, electric static discharge respectively) are the most common causes of failure for any electrical device. The odds are greater in that a random power surge, lightning strike, failing power supply, or lasting brownout will occur more often than the very slow, progressive, deterioration caused by dust and humidity. Therefore, we should understand the device’s power source and incoming voltage to the system. It is common knowledge in the tech world that ESD are those tiny little rascal lightning bolts that discharge when you come in contact with something after rubbing a balloon on your head or feet against the carpet. Yep, those can damage a circuit board also known as the PCB (Printed circuit board), in a heartbeat if there is direct contact to the board. Of course, the probability that the mainboard would be on the outside of the chassis is about none, but it is still good to know about the effects of ESD when you are maintaining the system.

EOS is another form of over-voltage. EOS can be a momentary event or can cause damage over a course of time. Unlike ESD, where the electricity is dispersed immediately at higher voltages and amperes, EOS is defined as the voltage throughout that exceeds the specified limitations of the device. If the incoming voltage is beyond the specific limitations of the device, EOS will cause localized high temperatures in materials used in the device’s architecture affecting the whole device. You can help prevent EOS by incorporating proper grounding and shielding of lines and receptacles, and only using the correct power supplies.

Examples of damage caused by EOS:


Dust is everywhere and humidity may be present as well. Both of these environmental factors can cause issues with any electrical device. When dust collects on electronic components, it eventually interferes with the flow of electricity through the PCB. Over time, the accumulated dust becomes an insulator, potentially overheating circuits and increasing the chance of failure in capacitors or other vital parts of the PCB creating functional anomalies, random shutdowns, inconsistent operational issues.

Examples of Dust:

enough said

Humidity also has a part to play in this. PCBs can suffer from a variety of problems if the surface is covered with electrically conducting materials, like dust, and combined with moisture, this results in a lowering of resistance and eventually can lead to corrosion of metals. Protect the equipment from humidity by using a bit common sense. Do not install your system in a rain barrel. Some installations are required to install the security equipment in a separate building or a secured shed with no climate control. In these unique circumstances, there are products available that are air tight with ventilation. Luckily, improvements have been made in manufacturing. PCB makers will generally apply a conformal coating over the PCB to help reduce the impact of this natural nuisance!

Examples of damage caused by humidity (rust):

Side note: ANY variation of system overheating, whether it be caused by poor ventilation, dust, humidity, overvoltage, etc. wears down the system circuitry, decreases performance, and increases system instability.

Now that we have covered some of the basics in “high tech equipment nuisances 101,” here are some suggested practical measures to follow in taking care of your security investment.

– Blow out and clean all case fans with compressed/canned air
– Perform a search of footage, varying dates. Doing this checks HDD recording performance.
No footage = Possible HDD issues

Three Months
– Repeat Monthly maintenance
– Look for any video footage anomalies that may indicate a failing camera. This includes camera images that do not look focused and clear, rolling vertical/horizontal lines, diagonal lines, wavy image, color/lighting fluctuations, really bright/dark images (without manual adjustments) etc.

Six Months
– Repeat 3 month DVR maintenance
– Open the case and blow out the system (while unit is turned completely OFF) with compressed/canned air. Make sure to clean out all components, including the power supply (if power supply is mounted inside the unit).
– Run a Hard drive check from the System Main Menu (not available in some models)
– Test UPS battery backup by pulling the plug from the wall. UPS is a highly recommended accessory to have for surveillance equipment.

– Repeat 6 month DVR maintenance
– Meter the UPS and/or Line Conditioner for proper voltage. Also meter the incoming voltage at the wall to determine your raw power conditions.

Of course you can create your own maintenance schedule if you choose. There is no set procedure that needs to be followed. Just keep in mind that the goal is to inspect the equipment and keep it clean. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. A happy recorder is a trustworthy recorder. Hypothetically speaking, if the system is stellar, the camera system may even capture a real ghost using motion detection! In broad daylight! Give yourself a gold star for that! Watch out Ghost Hunters, the mother of maintained surveillance equipment is here!