How to Choose Software

Tom Clark 2021/12/02 12:18

You basically have three options when it comes to software:

1) use your personal computer as the recorder;
2) use the camera manufacturer's software/firmware;
3) use a manufacturer's network video recorder (NVR) (aka the camera manufacturer's proprietary hardware recording unit); or
4) some combination of the above.

I opted to use my PC as the recorder, but let's go into options 2 and 3, this will allow me to explain why I rejected those options. To the best of my knowledge, you can connect to any IP camera with a web browser. When you do this you usually won't get a video signal, you mainly get the ability to change the settings in the camera. However, some of the cameras allow you download a browser extension and then you should be able to get the video that way. The problem with this is it's not really handy to view all of your security cameras on your computer's web browser. You'd need four instances of the browser going to view four different cameras. Also, this doesn't really record video to your computer. That being said, a lot of cameras will allow you to save video to a memory card inside the camera. You may be able to download video saved this way over the network somehow, but you might have to open up the camera and pull the memory card. I think it depends on the features of each particular camera. I think this is a viable solution if you only have one or two cameras and you make sure you can download the videos. You should be able to do so with the manufacturer's software which is often available for your cell phone. So if you want to use your cell phone to control your cameras and to view video from your cameras, then option 2 makes quite a bit of sense.

Now I don't want to access security cameras from my cell phone, but if you do you can do this and still use your personal computer or an NVR as your main recorder. Depending on the manufacturer and camera model, you should be able to access your camera locally with a PC and-or NVR, and remotely via cell phone. Shop carefully!

One of the issues with an NVR is that you may not be able to use another manufacturer's camera with the NVR. I know next to nothing about cameras and they aren't exactly cheap, so I didn't want to be locked into buying a certain brand of cameras. Also, I didn't want to be locked into using proprietary software. So maybe AMCREST has an NVR and it's great but the software features suck. Well, you might be stuck. To be fair, I'm not certain about the ins and outs of NVR, but I am pretty handy with a PC… so…

For myself, I have a pretty good gaming PC. It has a large 8TB hard drive in it and space for 3 more hard drives. I suspected it has enough power to handle monitoring four security cameras and play games at the same time, so that's what I am currently using.

Once I arrived at the decision to use a PC, then you do have choices for software. On the Linux side you have Zoneminder and Shinobi. I have used Zoneminder before and it is very technical to set up, but since I am using my gaming PC (a Windows PC) I decided to get Blue Iris. Now when I was on Youtube looking up Zoneminder information, it was often compared to Blue Iris. So in my mind, this sounded like software that would do the job. Also, some Youtubers that I follow also use Blue Iris. Since the program only cost $69, I pulled the trigger.

I have found Blue Iris to be less technical to get started than Zoneminder, but it is crazy in the amount of settings to look at. I'd be lost without Youtube to be quite frank. But I followed a couple of videos on how to get Blue Iris up and going and it's working out pretty well.

Blue Iris + Deepstack BUILT IN! Full Walk Through - Go from beginner to expert in one video.
by The Hookup via Youtube