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Design help - to DVR or not to DVR...

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Like many first time posters have mentioned - I too have been lurking for a while trying to take in as much knowledge as I can. A wealth of info so thanks thus far! I'm at a bit of a stumbling block due to a fundamental question since I've got such little experience so I thought I'd tee it up to the community.


Here's the background:

I've got two rooms that I want to have cameras on - have 1 today and am adding the 2nd. I'll end up having a third for messing around with as a result of having an extra from another project. The current setup with the single camera is for live viewing only - we don't record anything. It's an unusual setup and probably rudimentary by comparison to the designs I've read on here but works pretty damn well - we have the camera plugged into a Slingbox and that is either feeding the TV or our smartphones. Video quality is shockingly good since it's a HD capable Slingbox. Adding the 2nd room is where the complexity comes in. My Slingbox device can't handle a 2nd feed so I figured a DVR is the way to go and just get rid of the Slingbox. I picked up an inexpensive ($80) 4 channel DVR but the display video quality was terrible. So then the search began and here I am.


The challenge:

Since recording isn't needed - but a really nice perk if I get it - do we even need a DVR and if not, what do folks use for multi-camera use without recording?


I quickly learned "you get what you pay for" but my assumption was if the codecs advertised were the same then the video quality should be decent or similar. Wow, was I wrong.... damn that thing was bad. It was Night Owl brand. My wife is not techy and she was commenting how poor the video quality was on the existing camera moving from Slingbox to the DVR.


The cameras use EFFIO-P DSP's, rated at 700TVL, and the pixel rating is 976x582 for PAL and 976x494 for NTSC. BNC is the output.


Thoughts? To DVR or not to DVR? Thanks in advance for the comments!

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There are several ways you can do this but you want to get it to a smart phone. In the early days, we would use a video switcher.or a combiner. I think the switcher would work better with the sling box. You put up to four cameras into the switcher, and then they rotate the signal output to the monitor, or in your case, the sling box.


I just threw one away so I imagine you could find one on the Bay pretty easy. You can also adjust the dwell time or how long it displays the image before moving to the next.


I still like a good dvr due to the functionality such as emailing or texting on motion, video loss alerts, etc. 80 bucks is cheap though for a dvr. Check out the Bay for a switcher.

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I agree about the DVR functions. While recording isn't a hard requirement for us, it sure would be nice but I got scared off with the DVR video quality. Another slingbox would run us about $150 so if there is a value option for a DVR I should look at I'm all ears. I can justify a few more bucks for features but I definitely won't be able to justify a thousand dollar DVR for a couple of rooms.


The switch idea you mention is a good idea though. I need to look into them and see how I'd remotely switch it.

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