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  1. Just a brief update: Nx Witness did two different referrals to resellers asking them to respond to me, neither one did. The first one suggested I reached out to separately and no response. It seems clear they are not interested in people who want to use it on the cheap. For anyone interested, or if you think I need to look at these more carefully, here are some other windows products I tried. I finally gave in and decided I wasn't going to find something good (and cheap) on linux: - Genius Vision: really like a lot of what it does, but it was just too buggy. - Sighthound: even moreso like the way they approach motion detection, very powerful, but multi-camera playback just did not seem to work, period with a timeline, and it's "clip" approach was extremely awkward for reviewing the archive. - Luxriot: Limited to 2mp, didn't try. - AT Vision - could not get it to work at all, could not even get a camera to display, period. - Herovision: Like milestone, but very buggy, but more free. - Novosun Cyeweb - very arcane, but a nice set of features. A lot of stuff just plain would not work (e.g. motion detection masking would not show a preview even though the camera was working). UI was very obscure, and setup arcane. Could not figure out licensing only, and whether what I was running was free or very expensive. - Trassir - unable to get the "trial" to even run, kept asking for a license file, but no obvious place online to get one. - Milestone XProtect - this seems to be where I am landing. On the bad side the motion detection processing is very basic. On the good side it seems rock solid, no bugs have reared their heads, no crashes; in all the experimentation it just works. The multi-camera review (several ways) is quite fast, not as fast as NX Witness, but fast enough; the visibility of motion detection in the review is mediocre (no multi-camera timeline even in multi-camera review, so you can't see which cameras on the timeline had motion); no visualization or highlight of motion in (most of) the review techniques. But it seems reliable, the price is very right (free for and did I mention it seems reliable? If these sound wrong, and I need to look more carefully, please let me know. If I've missed some key ones to try, please also let me know. Oh... Avigilon was nice, but too expensive, so did not try. I'm really hoping to stay in the $20-30/camera range or under.
  2. I did find that B&H had the license for 4 @ $278.29, so yes, about $70 each. Comparable. My issue and it's an unfair comparison in some ways is I did the whole system on the cheap, using an old PC, doing all the wiring myself. I only have about $600 or so total invested in it. Buying $550 in licenses almost doubles my investment. If I were a more typical security consumer, having paid probably a few thousand for all the wiring and professionally installed cameras that's a minor increase in cost. For me it's double. Unfair standard perhaps. I'm hoping they return my contact and say "we love DIY'ers and would like to make a deal". I won't hold my breath though.
  3. Why won't you give me a rough idea of pricing? I might like a Lamborghini, but I don't test drive it because I don't want to pay that much. Not sure I should have for Nx Witness but it ran on linux. Seriously -- why is pricing a secret?
  4. Is there a free/cheap version? It's windows and I can't find any kind of pricing anywhere, and I've looked over the whole website without finding a trial version to try? Am I missing something? If it's expensive AND windows I have much less interest; if it's cheap and windows it may be worth putting up with windows if it's good. Why doesn't Avigilon put some useful information on their websites, like trial information, license cost or TCO estimators, or something?
  5. So while I wait to find out pricing, a bit of my observations in case it triggers some thoughts from others.... Despite being Windows (I hoped for Linux) I have been trying XProtect Essentials+, as it is free and last time I looked it had a 5 day archive limit, since removed. It's a bit less slick than the NX Witness / Spectrum product, but it seems to do all the same things pretty well. Scrubbing back and forth is nicely fast (not quite as fast), and the motion search looks pretty good. Haven't found anything significant either does the other lacks so far (among what I need). One's free. Unfortunately that one runs on Windows. I use windows on my main desktop, but am not a real fan for a sit-in-the-closet-and-run server. plus I run network management on linux on the same server, so if I go with windows I'll need to get some more memory and run a VM for linux on HyperV (the reverse probably doesn't make sense since the NVR will be the biggest workhorse). I'd love any insight people have on these two (or other similar ones, especially that run on Linux for the server side).
  6. Yeah, but it doesn't do Linux. I think I found that NX Witness is Digital Watchdog Spectrum in the US. Maybe. Or maybe it's branded more than one way. But the one place I found to sell licenses (without an installer showing up) is pretty darn expensive, about $80/camera, which is pretty pricey compared to others I've tried (infinitely more than Zoneminder ). Hoping I find out there are better ways to buy it, as so far I really like it, and it's running nicely now a whole 5-6 hours.
  7. I've been using Zoneminder for several years after trying various products, but wanted to look again to see if something better (better searches, more efficient archiving, etc.) Xeoma was attractive back then, even more interesting now, but their review process (especially with more than one camera) is horribly slow. I stumbled across NX Witness and had not seen it before. It has a linux version, it picked up all my Hikvision cameras quickly and well (even will change settings on them), but the most impressive thing so far is I can scrub back and forth through the video from 4 cameras (all I can do in a trial) with no delays, incredibly fast. It's own analytics of disk make it look very efficient (need to find out why -- might not be saving full resolution or something). Have yet to look at the motion detection and other features but am so impressed by the speed of archive review that it jumped to the top of my "check this out" list. Interested to hear if anyone has tried it, thoughts? Price (they are one of those who won't sell direct, have to go through a reseller, which may be a deal killer if they won't deal with a DIY'er and require someone to come "install", etc.)? Any problems over time?
  8. I apologize if I have confused -- I am not the original poster.
  9. Linwood

    Motion detection on camera or NVR

    Yeah, and in one "product" on Amazon, different sellers will sell English vs Chinese models, so it is very seller specific and you can't go by the answers in the question. Honestly I do not know how important it is -- I have 4 English and 3 non-English region units. I got the English versions from SafeGuard Designs and Netview, and they cost a bit more. Note that even if you get the legitimate retail US version, they may still be through grey channels and not supported by the manufacturer, but only by your seller. But one reason I bought from Amazon is it's easy to return at least in the first 30 days (and I did have one arrive, work for 8 hours, and fail completely -- no hassle whatsoever on return). I've got mine running on 3 different versions of the firmware and can't really notice. It probably is more relevant if you used camera control software (Axxon for example insists on trying to reprogram your camera, for example in ZoneMinder if you tell it to rotate 90 degrees it just rotates the image, in AxxonNext it reaches into the camera and tells it to change it). Oh... if you get them and want to know if they are US versions, don't go by the prtHardInfo to tell if it is really the US version, the hacked firmware also report English there. This is the best way I've found to tell (after telnet/sshe into the camera of course): VAR=`dd if=/dev/mtd5ro skip=1620 bs=1 count=1 2>/dev/null` ; if [ $VAR == $'\002' ]; then echo Chinese ; elif [ $VAR == $'\001' ]; then echo English ; else echo Unknown; fi Found that over on another forum and so far seems reliable.
  10. Linwood

    Motion detection on camera or NVR

    Perhaps my assumption was flawed (and remember I said I kept buying them). It is just that they are relatively cheap, and while expensive certainly does not equate to long life, cheap has a much stronger correlation to short life. But I hope you are right, and I am quite happy with mine. To the OP, if you haven't noticed, read up on firmware updates and Chinese models (all are made in China but some are for US markets and can be updated, some are China and need to be hacked to update; many of the cheaper ones are China variants hacked and if you try to update firmware they brick. Not that there's a need necessarily to update firmware if using on a VMS system especially).
  11. Linwood

    Motion detection on camera or NVR

    Thanks for your informative reply. I did run across the Hikvision dome cameras you mention, and they looked like a pretty good deal. Just a few years ago something like this would have pushed $300USD, now they are under $100. Sounds like the safe thing to do is put together an NVR computer, and then anything can be run on it, Linux, Windows, ZM, BlueIris, etc. I saw someone on Amazon mentioned that the Hikvision camera will dump to a NAS, but then that doesn't work very well for remote monitoring. Yeah, I saw dumping to NAS in their options but never tested it. I didn't address in-camera motion detection vs in the VMS. The hikvision cameras have pretty sophisticated motion detection (both line crosing and areas, with various fine tune), but making it compatible with VMS software is another issue. I looked briefly and think I could script something easily for zoneminder (in Zoneminder you can connect to a specific port and send a string that says "put this camera in alarm for X seconds with this comment"). Some like Blue Iris say they support "many" cameras motion detection natively but do not list which ones (that I could find). How much this helps I do not know. The transcoding, storage and playback (if you do live monitoring all the time) is a pretty hefty piece. I have followed the kiss approach so far and left it in zone minder. My cameras are outside, and frankly motion detection is more about "flag areas you might be interested in reviewing" than useful as any kind of real alarm -- everything from bugs flying in front of the camera at night, to an lizard walking across the lens, to lighting, to fast changing shadows to rain can trigger an alarm. I just do continuous recording and not worry much about it. Your main problem as you will see is a chicken and egg one, unless you just want to over-spec the system hugely. Some (Zoneminder) take huge amounts of disk, others do not. Some (Blue Iris, ZoneMinder) are more CPU intensive. And you can vary this a lot depending on what you need (e.g. lower frame rate). You might got into this thinking 4 fps is fine, and decide later you want smooth video at 24fps or so, and that can dramatically change your requirements (not just hardware, but you might have to shift from ZoneMinder to a product that natively records the stream). What I did was run for the first 2 months or so, as I added one camera at a time, was run in a HyperV VM and test different software, but also monitor resource requirements. It also lets you take snapshots of the setup at a particular point so you can roll back and try again without starting from scratch.
  12. I didn't do cameras myself but provided the networking, but a prior company had CNC systems for wood racks (we built all the racks for Borders for example), and building-sized paper shredders and balers. I suspect it is going to be less about keeping out debris (e.g. plexi shields) as keeping dust and debris away. Any surface nearby gets covered VERY fast with dust which is going to be a challenge to shoot through. I never thought to look at how the factory guys solved that problem (if they even had cameras there), I just fought with keeping the network gear from getting buried in dust; I don't have any proven solutions to offer but just thought I would add to your problems. Air jets across the surface of the shield (you probably have huge air compressors already for conveyors)?
  13. Linwood

    Motion detection on camera or NVR

    I'll share my experience as it may be similar. I ended up with 6 3mp Hikvision cameras, 5 of the dome (DS-2CD2332-I) and one bullet. I am running zoneminder on a 5 year old (+/-) I7 system. It was my personal desktop that I replaced about 2 years ago, and copes fine doing both recording and motion detection, with a bit caveat -- I'm only running 4 fps and only recording 2fps. But it manages fine at about 30% load. I did a lot of searching on software systems, indeed I am only partially settled on zoneminder. I wanted a manufacturer independent software because, while I bought all hikvision, I suspect they are on the "junk" side of the equation in terms of reliability and expect to replace them periodically if they fail -- and by then it might not be Hikvision. I did not want to get locked in. This eliminates many of the hardware NVR's and all the manufacturer free software including Hikvision. (My junk comment notwithstanding, I bought them one by one to gain experience, and continued to be happy with them so far, though I have little experience with other brands). The software side is really tough, especially if you want relatively low cost. The horsepower requirements vary widely depending on recording technique. Zoneminder grabs JPEG frames from the H.264 stream from these cameras, and saves the jpg itself, not the video (there is work being done to save video instead). This is somewhat costly in terms of performance, and very costly in terms of disk, but has some advantages later as accessing jpeg's can be done easier in some ways than a video stream (in particular systems struggle to access very recent video as it might be in the same physical file as it is still recording). Some programs now allow the video stream to be copied to disk without transcoding, this makes for very fast recording, though if you are viewing as it records you may still be transcoding -- some (Xeoma for example) allow you to view the substream from the camera while recording the primary (or vice versa). In my searching (limited to cheap or free) I frankly did not like any of them a lot, but my preferred three were Xeoma, ZoneMinder, and Blue Iris. Of these the latter was the most polished, the most plug and play while still having a lot of features, and well supported both by fans and supplier. It was however, a windows only system and quite CPU intensive, with no good way to separate client and server or otherwise spread the load. And I really wanted linux. Xeoma, a niche brand little known, was a big surprise -- it was pretty complete and simple, and had both linux, windows and android clients and server versions, and you could easily separate them. It was also completely packaged, meaning not much tinkering required to make it work -- well, more than that -- it does not let you tinker, it had almost no configuration options. It is very much a "trust me to do the right thing" product. Note I said configuration -- what drew me to it was it had an innovative and very powerful technique for setting up activity - motion detection, email, alerts, uploads, etc. Graphical and workflow oriented. Takes a bit to get used to but very cool. ZoneMinder, which is where I have spent most of my time, is tinker's heaven. Don't like something just reprogram it. There's a ton of stuff there, lots of contributed code and techniques. But it is also a typical many-year's-old open source project, with lots of old techniques and bad practices embedded deep, including lots of half-done migrations, so you find the same result in different places done in completely different ways (e.g. serving up one jpeg to the web). But, if you like to program, it works, it is free, and it is pretty easy to change things, especially UI things. Other interesting software I tried includes Xprotect GO (5 day limit on free version storage), AxxonNext (1TB storage limit), iSpy (arcane limits on remote access without $). All worth a look as well as Zoneminder, Blue Iris and Xeoma.
  14. That's probably ideal, but (most? all?) of the Hikvision IP cameras allow the frame rate to be set lower. If low cost/power is important the two best things you can do to reduce computing power requirements are lower resolution and lower frame rate. For most applications the latter has much less impact on usability. It will make motion jerky however as you drop below, say, 20 or so.
  15. I haven't tried this but it looks promising as software to drive it: https://wiki.videolan.org/Mosaic You need something to run it, but VLC is on lots of platforms. I have no idea whether something like a Raspberry pi could keep up or not, but if it would, that would be a great solution. A lot might depend on what frame rate you require. Most of the products (Blue Iris, Xeoma, Protect Go, Axxon) all can turn off recording, and give various modes of display. All have free trial versions so you can take for a test drive and try some various hardware to see which can manage your data rate with the least resources.