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    0 How to choose the best hard drive for DVRs and NVRs

    How to choose the best hard drive for

    DVRs and NVRs


    A common question among security system users is, "How to choose the best hard drive for DVRs and NVRs"

    and now you can have an answer to that question... 



    They also have queries about the difference between a surveillance hard drive (HDD) and a desktop hard drive and are curious about the possible issues regarding setting up their camera to save footage to a USB-connected Hard drive.

    In this article, you will learn what are the factors to consider when choosing a hard drive for your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or Network Video Recorder (NVR).

    I've been working with professional security systems for more than 15 years and I can guarantee that using the correct surveillance hard drive is super important.

    Therefore, allow me to share my knowledge and insights and thus help customers choose the HDD that will handle the surveillance footage without problems.


    What is a surveillance hard drive?

    Surveillance-rated hard disk drive or security camera hard drive is used for 24/7 local storage of surveillance video footage. They are not regular hard drives.


    Most security camera hard drives may be pre-installed inside a network video recorder (NVR) or a digital video recorder (DVR). That's the common practice.

    Sometimes other external hard drives may be installed to an NVR or DVR.

    Either way, it's important to choose the correct hard drive that can handle the amount of data coming from the surveillance cameras to the disk and I must say, it's a lot of information pulled 24/7 to the hard drive with practically no intervals.

    It's important to learn how to choose the best hard drive for DVRs and NVRs.



    What is the difference between a normal hard drive and surveillance hard drive?


    OK, I'm glad you ask that question because it's pretty important to understand that a normal hard drive used in your computer or laptop is not good for your DVR.

    People are often misled by the assumption that surveillance hard drive is not much different from a regular desktop hard drive.

    A hard drive for DVR or NVR is specially designed  by the manufacturer


    In reality, an HDD or dedicated surveillance hard disk drive is more durable, advanced, and reliable than a desktop hard drive in a lot of ways.

    A surveillance hard drive spends more than 95% of its time writing.

    The hard drive firmware (software embedded in the chip) is designed to handle surveillance applications since its optimized for fast data writing.

    Hard drive manufacturers have especial products for the surveillance market and obviously,  they cost more than the traditional hard drives for a regular PC.

    This type o hard drive is very popular and recommended by technicians and engineers (including myself) who work with professional surveillance systems.

    So, now you will learn what factor are important in a hard drive for DVR/NVR.



    Look for the correct manufacturer


    The first thing to consider is the brand and exact model designed for surveillance.

    It doesn't matter if the hard drive is manufactured by big names such as Samsung or Western digital, if you buy an HDD for PC, it will not work properly for your DVR.

    Sure, at first it can start working, but later you will have a huge problem!  



    Here a list of surveillance HDD



    Western Digital (Purple)

    Seagate (Sky Hawk)


    Use manufacturer homologated hard drive


    You can follow the DVR/NVR manufacturer's recommendation or use the model that comes with your device. Since the recorders are usually tested with specifics HDD models, they are homologated to work 24/7.  


    Professional security cameras/recorders manufacturers have a list of hard drives they've tested with their devices, so you just need to check recommended models.


    Surveillance Hard Drive Recommendation



    Western Digital - Purple Surveillance Hard Drive



    Western Digital is a reliable company that manufactured more than 16 million WD purple HDD and is the choice of most of the biggest surveillance manufacturer devices when it comes to using a hard drive for their recorders.

    The WD purple HDDs feature a technology that optimizes 24/7 video recording while minimizing errors and avoiding losing important recorded footage.

    Even if some write errors occur during the recording process, those hard drives are capable of managing them by skipping errors and keep working.

    You don't want to playback your footage and have a choppy video just because your HDD can have the job properly done, right? That's why the WD Purple have a way to prioritize recording over reading and avoid losing video frames.

    Big surveillance equipment manufacturers that sell thousands of professional high-end (and expensive) security cameras and recorders around the world have a recommended hard drive list for their equipment which includes Western Digitals.

    As an example, take a look at the picture below which shows a recommended hard drive list downloaded from Hanwha Techwin's (former Samsung Techwin) website.


    This is an example of a professional security camera/recorder manufacturer that is not among the most public well-know companies because they target to a huge an expensive market that is far away from the regular cameras for DIY installation, and chances are you never heard about such a company.

    That's exactly my point. If a company like that that has huge surveillance projects (such as 13,000 IP cameras installed in Mexico City) trusts Western Digital HDD, why wouldn't you? 



    OK, enough of Western Digital. There are other good brands out there and they are also reliable for surveillance recording.


    The next one I will talk about is Seagate... let's dive into it.


    Seagate - Skyhawk Surveillance Hard Drive


    Seagate is also a reliable company that manufacturers HDD for computers and has a special hard drive named Skyhawk that was designed for surveillance devices. It's also recommended by big surveillance equipment manufacturers.

    The Skyhawk hard drives use ImagePerfect AI technology to avoid losing video frames. The company states that this is a "zero dropped frames"  feature.

    According to Seagate, among the benefits of this technology, there's powerful error correction and data recovery algorithm that assure no video frames are lost.

    Even if there are a large number of security cameras video stream, the HDD can handle the recording by using buffering and error correction.

    The Seagate hard drives are also in the list of the big guys of the surveillance industry. You can find recommended hard drive lists on their websites.

    The picture below shows an HDD list recommended by a Hikvision, a big surveillance equipment manufacturer.





    This is just an example of recommendation, there are also other manufacturers (such as Hanwha Techwin and others) that recommend the Seagate HDDs.

    Hikvision is a company that manufactures high-end professional surveillance devices and also cheaper cameras and recorders for the consumer's market.

    My point is, if Hikvision recommends Seagate hard drives, they must be good



    Which hard drive is the best for popular video surveillance systems?



    OK, I've talked about surveillance hard drives used and recommended by big manufacturers, but how about HDDs for popular (and inexpensive) DVRs and NVRs? Well, you can use the same hard drives...

    You can consider the previously mentioned HDDs as popular surveillance hard drives for DVRs and NVRs. Let us take a look at the Western Digital Purple 4TB surveillance hard disk drive as an example.

    This hard drive is designed especially for the NVR/DVR security system. It is compatible with surveillance cameras of different brands, Hence, including Reolink, Amcrest, Hikivision, Qsee, Zosi, Dahua and many more.

    Another great alternative for your NVR (network video recorders) and SDVRs (embedded surveillance DVRs) is the Seagate SkyHawk 4TB surveillance hard drive. It is also great for hybrid surveillance DVRs and surveillance DVRs. Including Reolink, Amcrest, and Hikivision.

    One important thing to remember is that you must make sure that the security camera hard drive you choose is compatible with your new or existing surveillance system. The best thing for you to do is to check with the manufacturers first before you purchase the product.



    Can I Install an External Surveillance Hard Drive to NVRs/DVRs?



    Yes, you can. As long as your recorder has support for an external hard drive.

    Some professional recorders have an i-SCSI connector for an external storage device or an extra Ethernet port that works with a NAS server.

    Besides the fact that people recommend other hard drives for NAS and external storage, please consider using surveillance hard drive since your DVR/NVR still will use the HDDs for video recording, right?

    Installation of the internal and external hard drives to a wireless security camera system with NVR and DVR security camera systems must be done properly. This is very important. Technical problems may occur if the internal hard drive is not installed properly.

    These technical problems may include:

    • Hard drive failure
    • Error in the Surveillance HDD
    • The surveillance hard drive stopped working
    • The system cannot detect the hard drive
    • There is no available HDD for recording

    Make sure you buy the recommended hard drive cables and they are firmly connected when installing the external surveillance hard drive units.



    What Should You Do When The DVR's Hard Drive is Not Detected.



    If you have a new security camera system with a hard drive, then it is likely to experience technical issues like:

    • Surveillance hard drive error; 
    • DVR hard drive not recognized;
    • No HDD available for recording;
    • Hard drive not detected.


    The most probable cause of this hard drive detection failure is likely to be a defective HDD. This means there is a loose connection of SATA cable inside the NVRs/DVRs.


    It also means that because of this loose cable, there is an insufficient supply of power to the DVR/NVR system. Also, the HDD is not compatible or homologated model.


    How do you resolve this then? When resolving surveillance hard drive not detecting the issue, try rebooting the NVR/DVR system first. This may be done by disconnecting the cables between the HDD and the video recorders NVR/DVR.


    If no error message shows up on the screen after you have reconnected the cables, then the problem is probably somewhere else. Check the SATA and e-SATA power cable connecting NVR/DVR Hard Disk Power Port.


    Make sure that it is not loose. Make sure also that the SATA power port is not faulty or damaged. Try to connect the cable to another port.


    Also, make sure that you are using the right power adapter for NVR/DVR system.

    If the problem persists and remains unsolved, format the hard drive on the device. Or you can also use a computer to format the HDD.



    Which One to Choose: PC-Based Storage or Security Camera DVR/NVR?


    People would normally suggest using a laptop or computer to record and store surveillance footage. That is, instead of a dedicated hard drive video recorder like DVR and NVR.

    The question remains, however, about which one should you choose: a PC-based video recording and storage or a dedicated DVR/NVR with a hard drive?

    Both choices have their advantage and disadvantages, their benefits and fallbacks. The correct answer to this question would be: depending on your needs.

    For instance, a PC-based video recording and storage is a good idea if you have more than two or three security cameras running on a round-the-clock basis.

    However, if you have four surveillance cameras, then a security camera DVR/NVR with a hard drive is the better choice.



    Can I use surveillance hard drive in my PC?


    There are also performance differences between HDDs for surveillance systems and desktop HDDs. 

    Then there is also the question about the usage of surveillance hard drive on a desktop/laptop daily use or for gaming. Can it be done? 

    The answer would definitely be “yes”. However, you might encounter issues regarding the read-writ speed, which can make an impact on how your computer responds.


    Final words.


    Most DVR/NVR camera systems come with a fan. This is to draw the heat out as the always-on surveillance systems will generate a lot of heats. 

    However, it is important to have the DVRs/NVRs box in places where there is good ventilation to prevent damaging the device.

    DVRs/NVRs store important surveillance footage. Therefore making it vulnerable to theft and damage.

    An NVR/DVR lockbox that mounts to the wall or a locked server cabinet is a good solution to avoid damage and theft on your security camera system.


    Also, you should think about  setting a cloud storage system to back up your footage to in case of theft or equipment failure


    That's all from us.

    we hope you enjoyed our post stay tuned for more 





    0 How to protect your home while on vacation

    Protect your home while on vacation is crucial to have peace of mind and enjoy life with your family, so let's dive in into the best home protection procedures.  


    01 Lock the doors, windows and other entry points

    This may sound obvious, but you really need to make sure everything is locked and safe. The idea is to close doors, windows and any other entry point that could be used by someone trying to get into your house.

    Make sure the lockers are working properly and check if they won't break easily when somebody forces the entry. 


    02 Don't leave belongings and valuables around

    Make sure you are not leaving valuable things around the house or in the backyard since burglars take what is easily available. 

    If you have money, important documents or jewelry at home just lock them up in a safe or take them to a safe place while you are on vacation. 


    03. Disconnect the garage door

    Technology can help a burglar to get into your house, especially if a tech-savvy one knows how to hack a garage door opener. 

    Some universal remotes can easily open your garage door, so the best way to protect this entry is to disengage the garage door opener.


    04. Don’t use a hide-a-key.

    Hidden key is used for many people and burglars know that, so don't leave your key hidden somewhere they can find it. You can take the key with you or ask a friend to keep it.


    05. Install a home security system

    Homes without a security system are more vulnerable to burglars and vandals. Usually, they try to break in into the houses that don't have alarms, cameras or something that makes their job more difficult. 


    06. Keep up your home maintenance

    Burglars watch the houses for unusual activities, so if your home regular maintenance changes they can realize that you are away.

    It's a good idea to keep the schedule to clean the pool, cut the grass and others activities that you usually have done, just hire somebody that can do that for you and keep your house safe. 


    07. Don't expose yourself on social media

    If you advertise your vacations on social media, chances are some burglar will have access to that information since most of them are smart enough to use new strategies such as checking people's profile on Facebook or Instagram. Don't give them a chance to have such information. 


    08. Simulate your presence at home

    You can use technology and automation to simulate your presence at home, just go shopping for some programmable timer switch to control your lights and other devices and turn them on and off while you are away. That will simulate your presence at home and avoid the burglars. 


    09. Let burglars know you have a security system

    Just place stickers or plates around your house to advertise you have a security system in place. You can place them near the doors, windows, garage and any other entry point and that will definitely make burglars think twice before trying to break-in into your house. 


    10. Take care of your mail and newspapers

    If your mailbox starts to pilling up letters and other stuff, people will notice you are not at home, so ask some family member or friend to collect your email regularly to avoid the mailbox to get stuffed.


    11. Install outdoor security lights

    Dark areas are the favorite spots for burglars, so you can illuminate any areas around your home to avoid having such spots.

    Just use some outdoor security lights that can be activated by timers or motion sensors and that can guarantee you will scare the burglars without breaking the bank with your electricity bill. 


    0 6 Best Security Camera Cables

    When it comes to selecting cable for your video security camera system, the process may not be as straightforward as one would hope. There are various types of cable that can be used with surveillance equipment. However, the specific type of equipment you have will generally dictate which cables you should consider. In this article, we discuss the 6 best security camera cables and what applications they are best used for. After reading this article, you will feel confident that you are selecting the right cables for your application.

    Pre-made Siamese

    Pre-made Siamese cables, also known as pre-made CCTV cable, are by far the most popular choice for analog CCTV cameras and HD over Coax type security cameras. The reason for this is because these cables come completely assembled with BNC connectors and cut to a specific length so that customers can use them right out of the box. On one end, there is a BNC Male video connector and a 2.1mm Female power input (DVR / monitor side). On the other side, there is a Male BNC video connector and a 2.1mm Male power output (camera side).


    Many of our customers are not experienced camera installers and do not know how to cut and terminate cable ends or fear that they may not be able to do so properly. These cables give those customers the confidence to install their new camera system themselves, potentially saving them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on professional installation.

    The Pre-made Siamese cables that CCTV Camera Pros supplies are high quality and compatible with standard Analog / CVBS cameras in addition to AHD, HD-TVI, and HDCVI HD Analog cameras. We have them available in 25, 50, 75, 100, and 150 feet lengths. If you are using an Analog camera with BNC connectors and do not want to cut and terminate your own cables, then Pre-made Siamese cables are the ideal choice for you.


    These cables allow users to add an external microphone or support a built-in microphone from one of their surveillance cameras. When using external microphones with AVP cables, we recommend using inline surveillance microphones as they share power with the camera and will not require any additional power supplies or cabling.

    The Pre-made Audio, Video and Power cables that CCTV Camera Pros carry are tested and approved to work with Analog / CVBS cameras as well as AHD, HD-TVI, and HDCVI HD security cameras. We recommend AVP cables to users who are using Analog cameras and wish to add a microphone to their system to record audio in addition to video. If you already have a microphone with a 3.5mm plug, you could use an RCA to 3.5mm converter to make it compatible with these cables.

    RG59 Siamese Coax Cable Spools

    RG59 Siamese Coaxial cable comes in 500 and 1000-foot spools and allows installers to cut and terminate their own cable. This is the best and most recommended cabling for BNC security cameras because of the superior gauge and materials used to manufacture them


    Unlike Pre-made Siamese cables, RG59 uses a much thicker 20-gauge cable core for video and 18-gauge cables for power. Being that the gauge is thicker, the can be run further (up to 700 feet of video when powering locally) than Pre-made cables (up to 200 feet) without interference. Furthermore, the shielding on RG59 is thicker than on Pre-made cables, making it more durable and longer-lasting. The biggest perk of cutting and terminating Coaxial cable is that users can choose to install twist-on, crimp-on, or compression styled BNC, RCA or F-Type connectors rather than trying to find a pre-made cable with their desired connectors. To learn how to cut and terminate ends to RG59 Coaxial cable


    The RG59 Siamese coaxial cable that CCTV Camera Pros supplies is available in black or white and has a solid copper core, 95% copper braided shielding, and 75-ohm impedance. RG59 cables with steel/copper clad cores made specifically for CATV (cable TV) should NOT be used for video surveillance applications and has been known to distort the camera image quality if it even displays at all.

    RG6 Coaxial

    RG6 is very similar to RG59 Coaxial cable except the copper core is 18-gauge instead of 20-gauge and the insulation and shielding are much thicker. However, this does not mean that it is the better cable for HD CCTV security camera system applications. In fact, we always recommend RG59 over RG6 as it is more suitable for transmitting surveillance video. Being that the core cable of RG59 is thinner than RG6, it can transfer lower frequencies and bandwidths with less resistance. On the other hand, because the copper core of RG6 is thicker it is better suited for transferring higher bandwidths and frequencies, such as Internet and Cable TV. When attempting to use RG6 for CCTV cameras, users will find that their video may be distorted, if it appears at all, especially at longer distances. This is because the thicker core of RG6 cable creates more resistance in which lower frequencies are unable to overcome. Therefore, it is always recommended to use RG59 over RG6 when it comes to surveillance systems.

    Cat-5e Network Cable

    Even if you are not a CCTV installer, you are probably familiar with Cat-5E Ethernet cable. This is the cable with the RJ45 connector that connects your Internet modem to your wireless router or your PC to your wired router/network switch. Cat-5E Ethernet cable is comprised of 8 individual, 24-gauge wires or 4 pairs. Each pair of cable is designated for a specific purpose, such as data transmission or power.

    Much like Siamese cable, Cat-5e can transmit both video and power over a single cable run. CAT5 is primarily used with network IP cameras in the surveillance industry. However, with the use of Video Baluns users can use Cat-5E cable for wiring analog CCTV cameras (CVBS) and HD BNC cameras  (AHD, HD-TVI, or HD-CVI). CCTV video Baluns work by taking the signal typically transmitted by Coaxial / Siamese cabling and splits it up into multiple pairs, 1 pair for data, 1 pair for power and 1 pair for audio, if applicable, so that it may be transmitted over Cat-5E cable.

    This type of configuration allows users to increase their transmission range from 700 feet with Coaxial to as far as 1300 feet with Cat-5E. The above image shows a CAT5 video baluns used to connect a camera and DVR. You can see on the left side of the cable run how the balun connects to the DVR and security camera power supply.

    The Cat-5E cables that CCTV Camera Pros supplies are of the highest quality with 24 AWG pure copper base wire and gold-plated 50u short body contacts, making them compliant with the National Electric Code TIA-568-C fire and safety standards. In addition, they are also UL Code 444 compliant. We have them available in pre-made lengths and in spools of 1000 feet.


    In the last few years, Cat-6 has become a very popular alternative to Cat-5E cable. While they are both 4 pairs of 24-gauge cable wrapped in a shielding, the cables of Cat-6 are more tightly wound and allow for faster data transmission. For example, Cat-5E can transmit up to 1,000Mbps, or 1 Gigabit, of data while Cat-6 can transmit up to 10,000Mbps, or 10 Gigabytes, of data. However, there is a limitation. Cat-6 can only transmit 10,000Mbps up to 165 feet. After 165 feet, Cat-6 will transmit at the same 1,000Mbps as Cat-5E for the remainder of the cable run.

    For security cameras, we recommend using Cat-5E cabling as it is not necessary to transmit more than 1,000Mbps, even in full 4K resolution. Cat-6 is mainly intended to be used as the backbone for large network infrastructures that transmit several Gigabytes of data per second.




    0 IP camera default password list (2019)

    Sometimes you have an IP camera just in front of you but have no idea how to get access to it just because you lost the default password.

    Believe me, I've been there and I know exactly how frustrating it is to see the message "invalid password" on the screen when trying to login into the camera.

    That's why I created this IP camera default password list, so people can use it.

    Due to security issues in the past, most of the new IP cameras don't have a default password and you have to create one during the installation. This password list is for old IP camera models or cameras which still have old firmware.

    Anyway, just trying using it.... Good luck.

    IP camera default password list

    Camera Manufacturer Username Password
    3xLogic admin 12345
    ACTi Admin 123456
    ACTi admin 123456
    Amcrest admin admin
    American Dynamics admin admin
    American Dynamics admin 9999
    Arecont Vision admin <blank>
    AvertX admin 1234
    Avigilon admin admin
    Avigilon administrator <blank>
    Axis root pass
    Axis root <blank>
    Basler admin admin
    Bosch <blank> <blank>
    Bosch service service
    Bosch Dinion <blank>
    Brickcom admin admin
    Canon root Model# of camera
    Canon root camera
    CBC Ganz admin admin
    Cisco no default <blank>
    CNB root admin
    Costar root root
    Dahua admin admin
    Dahua 888888 888888
    Dahua 666666 666666
    Digital Watchdog admin admin
    DRS admin 1234
    DVTel Admin 1234
    DynaColor Admin 1234
    FLIR admin fliradmin
    FLIR admin admin
    Foscam admin <blank>
    GeoVision admin admin
    Grandstream admin admin
    GVI Admin 1234
    HIKVision admin 12345
    Honeywell administrator 1234
    Honeywell admin 1234
    IndigoVision BX/GX Admin 1234
    IndigoVision Ultra <blank> <blank>
    Intellio admin admin
    Interlogix admin 1234
    IOImage admin admin
    IPX-DDK root Admin
    IPX-DDK root admin
    IQInvision root system
    JVC admin Model# of camera
    JVC admin jvc
    Longse admin 12345
    Lorex admin admin
    LTS Security admin 12345
    LTS Security admin 123456
    March Networks admin <blank>
    Merit Lilin Camera admin pass
    Merit Lilin Recorder admin 1111
    Messoa admin Model# of camera
    Mobotix admin meinsm
    Northern admin 12345
    Oncam admin admin
    Panasonic admin 12345
    Panasonic admin1 password
    Pelco admin admin
    PiXORD admin admin
    PiXORD root pass
    Qsee admin admin
    Qsee admin 123456
    QVIS Admin 1234
    Reolink admin <blank>
    Samsung root 4321
    Samsung root admin
    Samsung admin 4321
    Samsung admin 1111111
    Sanyo admin admin
    Scallop admin password
    Sentry360 Admin 1234
    Sentry360 admin 1234
    Sentry360 admin <blank>
    Sony admin admin
    Speco root root
    Speco admin admin
    Speco admin 1234
    StarDot admin admin
    Starvedia admin <blank>
    Sunell admin admin
    SV3C admin 123456
    Swann admin 12345
    Toshiba root ikwb
    Trendnet admin admin
    Ubiquiti ubnt ubnt
    UDP root unknown
    Uniview admin 123456
    Verint admin admin
    VideoIQ supervisor supervisor
    Vivotek root <blank>
    W-Box admin wbox123
    W-Box admin admin
    Wodsee admin <blank>
    0 Hikvision DVR won’t display channels (solved)

    Sometimes you have to figure out what's wrong with a DVR that you even didn't configure yourself. So it's better to be prepared to fix different types of problems, like channels that don't display on the screen for no apparent reason.



    In this article, I explain how to fix the issue with the Hikvision DVR that won't display the channels on the screen. (In fact, it's just a configuration detail).

    As you can see in the picture above, the channel 1 is not available on the menu, which indicates that's just a configuration that was done by somebody else.


    Check the channel

    I know you probably did that already, but just to make sure everything is OK, check the DVR channel that is not showing up to guarantee it gets a video signal.

    Go to the Camera management > OSD and select the channel you want.



    If you see that the channel is working you are good to go to the next step.


    Fix the configuration

    The Hikvision DVR allows you to select the channels you want to display on the screen and hiding the ones you don't want to. It's just a question of configuration.

    To change the configuration open the Configuration menu. 



    Click on the "Live View" button to open the next screen.



    Check which channels are being displayed.

    The picture below shows the Channel A1 icon with the yellow color. That was after I click the channel to enable it (It was white before).



    Look at the Channel A2, which is the same thing. The icon is yellow which indicates the channel is active and being displayed. The same happens for the other channels.




    You can also check if all the channels are being displayed in different layouts.

    The picture below shows all the cameras enabled for the 2x2 layout.




    Check the result

    After changing the display configuration, just come back to the main screen to check if it's working. As you can see in the picture below, all the channels available now and you can select any of them to display on the screen.




    Sometimes a quick configuration is all you need to solve a problem.


    Obviously, there are other problems related to cameras that won't display on the screen, but in this specific case there's no issue related to the cameras, cables or something else, so be careful to not try to fix a problem that doesn't exist.


    I hope this article helps you to solve your "problem".





    0 How do security camera systems work !

    A surveillance system sends the videos from the security cameras installed in different places to a monitoring center where it is possible to monitor everything in real time and record the footage to have evidence.

    It works in different situations, from home monitoring to applications with thousands of cameras installed in cities, factories, hospitals, schools, laboratories and any other environments that require monitoring and recording, whether for safety or process control.

    With security camera surveillance systems, operators can watch what happens in front of each camera and react if something goes wrong.


    The evolution of the surveillance systems

    Below a quick description of the surveillance systems used over time, from the basic analog cameras and recorders to the modern digital  IP systems.

    1. Analog system with Time-Lapse recording

    The cameras generate analog signals and send them to an analog recorder (VCR) that stores the information in an analog format, this technology is very old and no longer used in new surveillance projects.



    2. Hybrid system with computer recording

    The cameras generate analog signals and send them to a computer that uses a capture card and software which converts the signals from analog to digital and record on the hard drive.


    4. IP system with NVR (Network Video Recorder)

    The cameras generate digital signals and send them to a digital video recorder which converts the signals to digital to store the information into a hard drive.



    0 Understanding Security Cameras With Optical Zoom

    “How much optical zoom do I need in a security camera? Is 5X optical zoom okay?” These are some of the questions that most customers ask when choosing a security camera for their business or property surveillance needs.

    Security cameras with optical zoom can close in on their frame to see key details at longer distances, and can also maintain focus as their focal length changes. Unlike digital zoom, this doesn’t compromise the quality of the image.


    How Optical Zoom Works


    Optical zoom is achieved by the actual adjustment of camera optics, such as moving or rotating different lenses inside the security cameras. Think of it as looking through a pair of binoculars. If you’re buying a security camera with X3, X4, X5, or higher optical zoom, that number represents the exact amount of magnification that the security camera zoom lens is capable of performing. The higher the security camera optical zoom, the better.


    What is Digital Zoom?


    Digital zoom expands the size of pixels in a digital image, making it appear bigger. At some point, you’ll actually be able to see the pixelation, making the image look “blocky”. It’s far better to optically zoom into an area of observation first for the highest quality footage. You can always apply a digital zoom at a later point if you’d like.


    Types of Optical Zoom Security Cameras



    Manual Optical Zoom - These security cameras have to be adjusted manually to achieve the desired zoom level and viewing angle before you set them up to start recording. Once installed, and you need to re-adjust the zoom, you’ll have to remove the camera housing to adjust the varifocal lens inside the camera. This can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you have installed the cameras in places like high walls or ceilings. This option is no longer viable in most cases.

    • IP Security Cameras with Motorized Zoom - With these security cameras, you can simply zoom in and out with the on-screen self-monitoring controls on your security camera client PC software or mobile app. The motorized camera lens helps maintain focus when the focal length changes.
    • Security Cameras with Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) - PTZ security cameras are the ultimate option when it comes to optical zoom security cameras. These cameras offer all-around surveillance and protection for your home, business, or other property with excellent zooming capabilities at different angles. Some of these PTZ cameras can offer 90° tilt, 360° pan, and higher optical zoom. This means you can get as many details as you want when monitoring your property


    One of the biggest benefits of optical zoom security cameras is the fact that you won’t experience image quality degradation. Even at a long distance, you’ll still enjoy sharp images. While you can’t add optical zoom after a surveillance video is recorded, optical zoom security cameras are a great choice for many applications where capturing quality images and as much detail as possible is a top surveillance priority.

    1 Keep an Eye on These Areas of Your Apartment Complex


    When you own or manage an apartment complex, security should always at the top of your list of concerns. There’s no better way to ensure the security of your residents and your apartment complex than to install a high-quality security camera system. A well-planned and professionally installed security camera system can not only help reduce crime and vandalism around your apartment complex property, but it can also help ensure the safety of your residents in common areas and help protect you from frivolous lawsuits. Here are just a few of the essential areas of your apartment complex that can benefit from a professional security camera system.



    Crime prevention

    If you’re a property manager or apartment complex owner, you know that criminal activity can have a significant impact on your community. A good video surveillance system not only helps deter criminal activity, but it can also make your community more sought after.

    When it comes to crime, convenience and ease are key. When a potential burglar or vandal knows that an apartment community is being monitored by a security camera system, they are less likely to target your tenants. Additionally, when a crime does occur, you can turn your security camera footage over to police as evidence to help catch and prosecute the culprit.

    Unfortunately, burglars and thieves from outside your community aren’t the only people you have to be concerned about. If you constantly receive complaints about a particular resident or have recurring issues in a specific apartment block, a security camera system can help you determine who is at fault.

    For residents, knowing that the common areas of the apartment complex are being monitored may keep them from doing anything that could violate their lease – like bringing in an unauthorized pet or moving in an additional person who isn’t on the lease. Security camera systems can help bring peace of mind to all of your residents and prevent the bad behavior a few bad apples from ruining the community experience for everyone else. to explore more ways that a security camera system can help improve the safety of your apartment community.


    Mind parking lots

    Parking lots are a common source of pain for many apartment managers and owners. From vehicle accidents and break-ins to slips and falls, training an eye on your parking areas can help save you some serious headache down the road.

    When someone falls in your parking lot or takes a spill on a sidewalk, it’s human nature to want to assume that the story you’re hearing is the truth. However, personal injury lawsuits are one of the most common types of frivolous lawsuits that small businesses have to deal with each year, including apartment complex communities. If a tenant or visitor falls on your property, it’s often a matter of he said-she said, but security camera footage can provide a clearer picture of the facts.

    With over 50% of lawsuits targeting small businesses, a security camera system can go a long way to protect your complex and your residents who suffer legitimate injuries. For outdoor areas like parking lots, be sure to select weatherproof IP cameras that can withstand even the coldest temperatures and strongest storms.

    Keep common areas safe




    mmon areas like pools, fitness centers, laundry areas, and secure mailbox areas are a luxury that many apartment complex residents have come to expect. Without on-site security or security cameras, some residents may be hesitant to visit these areas alone or after dark. Keeping your residents safe in these areas, especially at night, is essential to providing the best living experience in your apartment complex.

    Pools and fitness centers can often be magnets for injury and nefarious incidents. Ensuring that residents and their guests know that the area is being monitored by a security camera and that the footage is reviewed can help reduce the number of complaints and issues you have in these areas significantly. For example, residents will be less likely to use the pool outside of posted hours or to engage in non-sanctioned activities in the pool area. Check out Security Cameras for Swimming Pools for some of our tried-and-true tips for keeping your pool safe and secure.

    For mail areas, security cameras provide an added sense of protection during the holiday season for package deliveries. In laundry areas, security cameras can pull double duty making residents feel safe from nefarious actors and protecting their clothing and other property they may leave behind as they enter and exit the facility. Offering more amenities to residents allows you to charge a premium on rents and attract higher quality tenants and installing a high-quality security camera system helps you protect that investment.

    Work smarter not harder! 

    Being an apartment community manager or complex owner is demanding and stressful enough without having to spend extra hours sitting in the leasing office reviewing security camera footage. Remote viewing options allow apartment owners and managers to keep an eye on their property at all times from anywhere in the world.

    0 Are PTZ Cameras Right for Your Business?

    In the world of security camera systems, few cameras offer as many options and features as the Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera. With the ability to monitor large areas with ease, zoom in on events in real time, and fully remote control options, PTZ cameras are a popular and viable option for businesses across a variety of industries. Read on to explore more about PTZ cameras, their most popular features, and why you may want to choose a PTZ camera for your business.

    What is a PTZ camera?

    PTZ refers to a camera’s ability to move its lens and refocus in real time. Featuring a lens that can rotate on three axes, PTZ cameras offer users complete control over the field of view. Utilizing the software on the system’s Network Video Recorder or on the remote viewing app, you can rotate your camera in any direction while zooming in or out in real time. PTZ cameras offer the unique ability to view a large area, while also keeping an eye on even the smallest details.

    Monitor large areas




    Imagine being able to reduce the cost of covering large areas of your business or worksite without sacrificing resolution or image quality. The multiple features of PTZ cameras allow them to be used for both wide-area monitoring and zooming in to provide more details.

    While fixed cameras are able to cover only a narrow area, PTZ cameras enable business owners to cover large areas with fewer cameras. For outdoor-based businesses, like construction sites or gravel pits, PTZ cameras offer an efficient option for monitoring large worksites, while also allowing users to zoom in on-site visitors, potential thieves, and others. PTZ cameras can also zoom in to help identify license plate numbers of vehicles that visit your site after hours.

    Narrow your focus

    PTZ cameras combine the ability to cover large areas with the option to zoom in and focus on details in real time. Instead of having to cover an area with multiple cameras with different features, your PTZ camera enables you to get both a high-level and detailed view of your worksite or business.

    One of the most popular applications for PTZ cameras is in parking lots. When you’re dealing with claims of vehicle damage from carts, slip and fall injuries, or hit-and-run incidents in your parking lot, the ability get a view of the entire lot and zoom in on specific incidents to get more detail is invaluable.

    Remote control

    Thanks to the software on your NVR or remote viewing app, you and your security team can have full access to your PTZ cameras anytime from anywhere. Instead of relying on a network of cameras to catch parts of an incident, remote control access of your PTZ camera allows you to catch all the action from one camera unit.

    With the ability to pan, tilt, or zoom in on the action in real time, PTZ cameras are a popular choice for monitoring large car dealerships. By allowing you to keep an eye on both all of your inventory at once and keep an eye on any suspicious individuals who might enter the lot after hours, your PTZ camera can provide you with the security of an entire system at a fraction of the cost.

    Another popular use for PTZ cameras is in schools and on university campuses. In traditional school settings, security and office personnel can keep an eye on large open areas like the playground or entryway, while also monitoring and tracking potential bullying incidents and deploying staff to respond faster. On university campuses, PTZ cameras can be utilized outdoors on the quad or at sports arenas and fields to provide additional layers of security for students and visitors.



    0 The US is reportedly considering blacklisting Hikvision — A Chinese surveillance tech giant

    The United States Government is considering placing limitations on the Chinese surveillance giant Hikvision’s ability to buy American technology.

    The U.S. Commerce Department would place Hikvision on an “entity list,” which requires American companies to get government approval before they conduct businesses with any foreign company listed. These limits would effectively place the company on a United States blacklist for potentially posing a threat to national security and privacy.

    Hikvision products enable their clients to track anyone around the country by using technology that can analyze their facial features, body characteristics or gait. The emergence of new technology like artificial intelligence, speech monitoring and genetic testing is making monitoring networks, like the ones used by Hikvision, increasingly effective. The latest technology can also be used to monitor activity considered unusual by officials, such as people running or crowds gathering. Though useful for government officials to monitor its citizens, such technology can easily provide opportunities for these products to be intrusive on their customers’ privacy. Because of the economic, technological and geopolitical threat this could pose, the U.S. government is cracking down on technology companies like Hikvision and Huawei. 


    The fear of backdoors

    After an investigation by Amazon on expensive servers that were installed for a company called Elemental by Super Micro Computer Inc. (commonly known as Supermicro), tiny microchips that weren’t a part of the boards’ original design were found nested on the servers’ motherboards. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shock-wave through the intelligence community. After the ensuing probe, investigators determined that the chips, which were disguised as signal conditioning couplers, allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered motherboards. These chips incorporated memory, networking capability and sufficient power for an attack. Essentially, anyone with access to the hidden backdoor could gain access to your private network — which includes your surveillance system.

    These servers were discovered inside the data centers operated by dozens of other companies. As soon as these servers were installed and switched on, the microchip could alter the operating system’s core so it could accept modifications. This secret microchip also had the ability to contact computers controlled by hackers in search of further instructions and code.

    Surveillance in China

    In China, the surveillance industry is being used extensively to keep tabs on its own citizens. Their government is using surveillance technology, including facial recognition via CCTV cameras, to target certain ethnic groups who have accused the government of discriminating against their culture and religion. China has built what amounts to a police state in the country’s northwestern region — Xinjiang — which includes extensive surveillance powered by companies like Hikvision.






    Chinese surveillance firms have also began exporting this technology to other nations like Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, who also wish to monitor their citizens in a similar manner.

    What this means for Hikvision customers

    Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter in the surveillance industry. Due to the recent limitations and developments, American companies who currently supply products to Hikvision may have to receive government approval first. In the immediate future, businesses and individuals will still be permitted to buy Hikvision products. However, it is likely that over time these regulations will become stricter due to the threat that their products could pose to national security. Which means if you’re using a Hikvision system, you may lose support and the ability to buy replacement products from them in the near future.

    Avoid Chinese knockoffs

    We specialize in Geovision surveillance equipment, which is one of the most highly revered brands in the industry. With the growing interest in workplace security from companies throughout the nation, it’s important to consider where you’re getting your equipment. When you buy your equipment from untested or unreliable distributors, you’re taking more than just a security risk. Less reputable brands are infamous for advertising higher resolution than their cameras can output. Not to mention the features they advertise — like motion detection, facial recognition, infrared sensors and remote access — often don’t perform as well as they make it seem.





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