Setup Impressions

The PX2-300D NVR edition 'boots; directly into the Milestone Arcus VMS interface (i.e, accessing the IP of the NAS using a browser leads to the Arcus login page and not the NAS management UI). The setup process is trivial. Upon login (all user credentials set up in the main NAS management UI are retained for the Arcus VMS too), we are presented with a pretty barebones page with a certain number above the Settings menu on the top right. This number indicates the number of cameras auto-detected by the VMS that haven't been set up yet. Configuration involves entering the user credentials for the camera. The IP camera may support multiple codecs / resolutions and frame rates. In such a case, the Arcus VMS chooses some default values which can be altered, if necessary. Recording mode can be set to continuous, never and only when motion is detected. The number of days to retain the captured footage is also available as a configurable option. Motion detection can also be configured with finer granularity. It is also possible to set up IP cameras manually (though my efforts to get a Compro IP70 recognized didn't bear fruit).

After setup, the video streams from the IP cameras show up in the Arcus home page. Selecting a stream leads to an expanded view of the video. A menu at the bottom of the video allows us to go back and view archived footage from a timeline. It is also possible to export the archived video between any two timestamps. The exported file is in the MKV format.

Compare these with the UI from the Synology Surveillance Station below. In addition to recognizing the two Axis cameras, the add-on also had in-built support for the Compro IP70. The LiveView matrix in the browser interface as well as the controls / configuration options are better in Surveillance Station. An example of a useful configuration option available in Surveillance Station, but not in Arcus, is the ability to have fine-grained control over the recording schedule (say, a simple schedule to record only on Fridays between 11 AM and 4 PM).

The Arcus UI also doesn't allow users to view archived footage from multiple streams simultaneously in a synchronized manner. This is possible in Synology's Surveillance Station. However, a big drawback of the Surveillance Station is that the browser UI is heavily based on Java. I also found that Surveillance Station would drop cameras more often than Arcus. I let the NVRs operate for close to 30 days continuously and Arcus dropped the cameras only a couple of times (both times, I suspect, were due to the DHCP lease of the IP camera expiring. This could have been easily avoided by setting up the IP cameras with static IPs).

On the whole, setting up the PX2-300D NVR was a breeze. The browser UI is a bit bare and the VMS currently on the PX2-300D could do with some feature updates. However, the robustness of the system for straightforward configurations will definitely need to be appreciated. The firmware does have some memory effect in terms of not allowing re-addition of the IP of a recently deleted camera, but it was nothing that a reboot couldn't fix. In any case, I don't expect the average consumer to go about randomly deleting and manually adding cameras like I did during the review process. Let us now move on to the mobile scheme of things.

Introduction Mobile Apps: Surveillance On-the-Go
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  • Beany2013 - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Nnng. I've recently started looking at building semi-managed CCTV solutions for customers and have recently come across this semi-niche of devices.

    Commentards, er, I mean, esteemed commenters (sorry, hang over of forums, which are somewhat more brutal) - do you have any experience of these devices, and can you recommend me a device that can handle multiple 2+MP streams and a few sub-megapixel streams that won't crap itself after three months?

    No homebrew stuff - must be warrantied up and good to go out of the box with minimal (expected - I'm a sysadmin by trade so no fear) config...

    Also, long term reader, first time poster - do like a bit of AT. Keep it up, Ganesh and co....

    Steven R
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    Hi, most of the off the shelf stuff I've seen is sub-megapixel, although I haven't looked in a while.

    This is the first off the shelf system I've seen with megapixel IP cams.

    I know you said you want off the shelf, but I was pretty happy with my ZoneMinder setup, with a megapixel IP cam and a couple of SD cams.
    I dismantled it when I moved and haven't gotten around to setting it up again.

    We have a Swann system at work; cams are Coax, not IP, and resolution and quality is SD. It works OK, but I don't really think they're worth the money.

    Many of the megapixel IP cams are junk though.
    Axis has a good reputation, but I haven't seen one in action.
  • Ammaross - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    You're correct, Axis cameras have worked great for me (have mainly used their older models though). And as for multi-megapixel, you're looking more into the "homebrew" market of installing software such as Video Insight or the Pelco suite on a Windows server (or go the inexpensive route and use ZoneMinder on Linux [which is what I did. Worked great, except my first attempt was underpowered...]).
  • BryanDobbins - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    my buddy's aunt makes $87 hourly on the computer. She has been without work for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $17888 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here...
  • cuylar - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    D-Link DNR-322L & DCS-2230(WiFI) or DCS-2210(PoE)
  • Lord 666 - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    A little off-topic, but why go enterprise HDD when a single 1TB of EVO SSD is $650. I want to pick up a security system and lock the recording unit in my safe. Power is not that much an issue versus heat and noise.
  • Egg - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    I'm a little confused - how do you get networking into the safe? Do you drill a hole in the safe, or do you use wireless that's likely to drop out?
  • Lord 666 - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Rifle-sized gun safes are usually pre-drilled for floor post anchoring and dehumidifiers. Route the 12/2 wire along with cat5 through one or two of those holes. Now you have a hardened security system that is both tamper and fire resistant.
  • Dentons - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    Unless your system is entirely solid state and / or designed for zero airflow, you may experience extreme heat related reliability issues by placing it inside a safe.

    Almost every system is designed with some level of air flow in mind. If you're going to do this, you'd want to pull and push air though the system. Probably with ducts to force air past the system.
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    I agree about the heat problem, but adding ducts to a safe will ruin it's fire-worthy-ness.

    A better idea would probably be to get a locking rack-mount cabinet, and bolt it to the floor or a wall stud.

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