Setting up PC-based video surveillance

PC based video surveillance is a simple budget system, built without the use of hardware video recorders. The computer itself is reliable, functional, and most importantly, it is already in stock.

All that remains is to choose suitable cameras and configure the required software.

cctv, cameras, computer

Pros of using a computer

The hardware of a personal computer is used as a recorder, so there is a need to buy additional equipment, for example, a hard disk.

The computer, as a rule, is already connected to the Internet, so setting up remote viewing of cameras does not cause any problems. It is enough to download the free mobile application and set up the connection. The recordings themselves will be stored on the hard drive of the computer, and the mobile application will allow you to view them remotely from anywhere in the world.

PC configuration requirements

To provide the possibility of organizing video surveillance, the computer must meet certain requirements. Unfortunately, not every system unit or laptop that comes to hand is suitable for this. Let’s consider the basic requirements for PC configuration for organizing a small home video surveillance system:

  • Fast processor. The video signal is received and processed in the computer through the central processor. The more video cameras are connected, the higher the load on it. Very weak laptops or very old system units simply cannot cope with the load. The video will be recorded with a jerk, possibly even the program freezing. I select a computer for video surveillance in advance with a performance margin. To connect 2-3 cameras, an Intel Celeron or Intel i3 processor will be enough.
  • Sufficient RAM. For the video surveillance system to work, you need to launch a special program. It is this program that will process and record the video signal, as well as manage the entire system. The program takes up additional memory, so the computer must also have a certain fund of RAM. Usually 2-4GB of memory is enough.
  • Large enough hard disk space. Videos take up a lot of space. The more cameras and the more recordings you need to store, the more hard disk space is required. If there is little space, then the storage time of the records will be limited. Sometimes, to save the hard drive, a slow recording speed is set (12 frames per second instead of 25). In the program settings, you must specify how much free space it can use to store records. But if there is no free space at all, then you need to free it up or connect an additional disk to the computer.
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Cameras for video surveillance via PC

The principle of operation of any video surveillance system is reduced to receiving a video signal and transmitting it to a recording or viewing device for subsequent digitization and storage. The recorder can be a recorder or, as in this case, a computer.

There are many types of video cameras. And almost all of them can be connected to a computer.

Let’s consider the main types of cameras that can be connected to a PC:

  • Analog video cameras;
  • IP cameras (including wireless)
  • Web cameras.

Video surveillance based on video capture cards and analog cameras

Analog Wired Cameras Most common in CCTV systems. They are simple and cheap equipment that has a wide range of applications: outdoor, indoor, anti-vandal, miniature, etc.

An analog video surveillance camera can be selected to solve any problem of organizing a security system. However, special hardware is required to connect them to a computer. video capture card.

Video capture card for analog cameras

The principle of operation of this type of video surveillance systems consists in broadcasting an analog signal from cameras to a video capture card. This board serves as a DVR. It digitizes the signal, which is then displayed on the monitor as a broadcast in the online mode; in parallel, video is recorded from cameras to the PC hard drive.

4, 8, 16 or 32 CCTV cameras can be simultaneously connected to one such board. This is the number of connectors provided on different types of standard boards. To scale such a video surveillance system and include more cameras in it, it is enough to install one or more video capture cards in the PC system unit.

Auxiliary equipment are power supplies, power cables and cables through which the signal is transmitted.

It is worth noting that it is impossible to install a video capture card in a laptop, since K. There is simply no place in it.

Surveillance software is provided to the purchaser complete with boards. All Windows operating systems are compatible with PC-based video surveillance software. Windows OS is intuitive for all PC users and has many functionalities, so the operator of such a video surveillance system will simply figure out how to view video in real time, access recording archives and control cameras.

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IP cameras for connecting to a computer

In the case of video surveillance via a PC, IP cameras are most often used. Here they differ from analog ones only in that they transmit a ready-made digitized signal. It remains only to write it down.

There is also a huge number of types and types of IP cameras, from which you can choose suitable for solving any task.

Consider the advantages of digital cameras for organizing a video surveillance system through a computer.

  • It is NOT required to pull a separate cable from each ip camera. The transmission of the digitized signal is carried out over the same computer network to which the computer is already connected. IP cameras can be combined into groups, and then transmit a common signal over one cable.
  • The ability to use wireless cameras. Many models of ip cameras are wireless. Which makes their use very convenient at home, where it is impossible to lay a cable.
  • No extra wires. There are models of ip-cameras, which are connected with just one cable, through which the signal is transmitted and power is supplied to the video camera. This technology is called Power Over Ethernet, or PoE for short.

Using web cameras

In the case of creating a simple budget video surveillance system through a computer, the best solution is to use ordinary web cameras, which are connected to a computer via a USB connector.

Webcams are affordable, easy to use, and often include a microphone.

Another advantage of web cameras. they are often in stock too. In this case, you can install a video surveillance system almost free of charge.

The only drawback of such cameras. this is a short USB cable. Therefore, the webcam should be placed close to the system unit or laptop itself. USB cable can be extended using passive or active extenders.

Webcams are the ideal solution for creating small, mini and even micro (1 camera) video surveillance systems.

Video surveillance programs

Whatever types of cameras are used, but the system requires software. The program runs on a computer and performs the following functions:

  • Record video signal to hard disk;
  • Viewing video archive;
  • Video surveillance system management;
  • Providing remote access.
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In the case of video capture cards, the software is supplied in the kit. In all other cases, you need to install the program separately. Video surveillance software is divided into three classes:

  • Completely free.
  • Free with limited functionality or limited validity period (trial period).
  • Paid.

Examples of free software: iSpy, ZoneMinder, Veyesys Rapidvms, OpenALPR.

Read more about programs for video surveillance in our review of programs for ip-video surveillance.

Myths about PC-based CCTV systems

  • Poor PC performance compared to hardware DVR. Perhaps this problem could have arisen 10 or more years ago, when the processor power and the size of the RAM were insufficient to ensure the normal operation of specialized software and digitize and record video from several cameras simultaneously. Correctly selected modern PC hardware components are able to ensure the smooth operation of a large-scale video surveillance system.
  • Windows OS is less suitable as a platform for video surveillance systems than Linux OS. This misconception arose from the fact that Linux is used on a hardware DVR. In fact, Windows is more functional and easier to use than Linux platforms.
  • Smaller scale of PC-based video surveillance systems in comparison with the topic, where a separate recorder is used. Any number of cameras can be added to both types of video surveillance systems (both with the use of video capture cards and with DVR), but it is much easier to do this on PC-based video surveillance systems. Install one more video capture card in the system unit. Technically easier and cheaper than adding another separate DVR to the system.

Personal computer, laptop or powerful server. it is an important and functional part of a video surveillance system. On the basis of the PC, you can create any complexity and size video surveillance system. here is one camera, up to several tens or even hundreds. The computer has a wide range of functionality, which is not available for the recorder:

  • Recognition of license plates of cars, faces;
  • Video analytics (visitor counting, hazard analysis)
  • Integration with other security systems (barriers, security and fire systems).

If you need to install a video surveillance system through a computer, please contact us! We offer a wide range of equipment and carry out installation and configuration.