DVRs: The Workhorse of the Hybrid Digital Video Surveillance

The video surveillance market has never been hotter. The challenges placed upon locksmiths and video system dealers are greater as the diversity of applications widens and end-user expectations increase.
The good news is that video technologies are both creating the demand by presenting more functionality, and meeting the needs with more products at lower cost.
The bad news is that the industry is experiencing an upheaval in which conventional wisdom may place a locksmith at a disadvantage, and the new technologies make it essential for security professionals to learn the new video sciences.

Certain brand names which stood for decades as benchmarks for reliability and performance are being suddenly supplanted by a market driven by price. The performance of video systems has always been somewhat subjective as to what exactly constitutes good video.

The market is now filled with new technologies, each of which claim to be the best and some which are totally unproven.

Locksmiths and their customers do not always have the luxury of time or budget to gain a full appreciation of which products and techniques actually represent the best value for their application.
Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is a generic term for a device that is similar to a VCR but records television data in digital on a hard drive as opposed to a VCR tape.To facilitate adoption of DVRs by the market place, DVRs are designed to look like VCRs and have all of the same functionality of VCRs (recording, playback, fast forwarding, rewinding, and pausing).

To say that a DVR “does more” than a VCR is an understatement. The SPECO DVR-4TN we evaluated for this article includes numerous functions and features which far surpass those possible with the VCR.
These days, the influx of imported video and security equipment is no less than a tsunami which threatens to flood the market with unknown entities. Because video equipment has become a mass produced appliance, the video market has become price driven, and competition is fierce.

When you select a piece of video equipment, you are also selecting a partner. You are investing your time and money buying and learning how to use the DVR and putting your reputation on the line with your clients. The DVR manufacturer becomes the locksmith’s partner and ongoing resource, so selecting wisely is critical.

SPECO is an established name in security electronics, offering much expertise and experience and an extensive lineup of DVRs and cameras. Their web site (www.specotech.com), documentation, product attributes and software are informative and up to date. Software updates and sales and technical tutorials are constantly updated and enhanced. Tech support is live from Long Island, N.Y.
The SPECO DVR-TN series is a versatile video recorder which is easy to learn and suitable for a wide variety of applications. It is versatile because most features are user-configurable so the unit can be readily adapted for a variety of situations.

The SPECO DVR-4TN accepts output from virtually any camera which uses coax or UTP, including P/T/Z. Camera input ‘loop thrus’ allow custom configured systems using multiple monitors and recorders.
The system is supplied with SpecoRemote, a remote viewing and configuration software which allows the user to view live or recorded video images via the Web, and enables remote DVR configuration.
Initial configuration: EZ Set-Up: makes for a for quick installation

Scheduling: EZ Record: set the number of days you want to record and the DVR takes care of the rest.
Outputting video: EZ Copy: auto copy onto a CD/RW or USB flash drive.
EZ connectivity: SPECO supplies a free DDNS server for use with dynamic IP addresses. Both local and remote monitoring, recording, playback, change system settings and dome camera control via Ethernet and/or Internet are supported.

EZ Archiving: To maximize storage capabilities, SPECO uses MPEG-4 high quality compression.
EZ Operating: The SPECO offers Triplex operation enabling simultaneously view live or playback while continuing to record & network transfer.

Additional features include:

•           Recording Rate: Up to 120pps
•           1 Channel in out for audio recording
•           1 Optical drive + up to 3 internal HDD
•           IEEE-1394 for extended external storage
•           Built-in CD-RW or DVD+RW for video clip exporting
•           USB 2.0 port for video clip exporting, supports USB thumb drive.
•           Easy software upgrade via Network, USB Thumb Drive, or CD-RW
•           Configurable normal and event recording frame rate & picture quality per channel or globally via EZ record
•           Automatic camera detection (Plug & Play)
•           Email notification of alarm events

Central Management Software is a remote application program for Speco Technologies’ DVR-TL, TN, TS and TT Series of Internet- ready DVRs installed on a PC that is connected to a LAN or Internet connection to remotely access, view and configure up to 16 DVRs simultaneously (that’s 256 camera views - can see 64 thumbnails at a time)!
The Digital Deterrent™ System has been created by Speco Technologies to prevent crime, not just record it. Speco Technologies new Digital Deterrent™ System is available in Speco PC Series and TN Family DVRs. Once motion is detected by a surveillance camera networked to a DVR, an alarm is triggered and a custom audio/visual warning is automatically projected, so the perpetrator believes he is actually being watched.

Q&A: Lou Bellock
To the latest and most accurate details on SPECO’S rapidly evolving digital video recorder products, Locksmith Ledger interviewed Lou Bellock, Director - Product Management, Digital Video, for Speco Technologies. Following are Ledger’s questions and Bellock’s answers.
What differentiates SPECO’s products from the rest of the crowd?
What differentiates Speco from the crowd are features and functions not found on other DVRs that are specifically requested by our customers. For example, we have Digital Deterrent®, EZ-features, many standard features and features to come in 2008 like self-contained POS system, self-contained access control system, touch-panel interfaces, graphical and color GUIs, IP camera support, etc.
What’s the warranty?
We have a three-year warranty on all DVRs except the PCPro, which is two-year. The warranty is bumper to bumper, parts and labor.
Which model is suited for which application?
Our DVR-TL series is targeted for entry level users needing price and competitive performance. TL can be used for residential and light commercial applications.
DVR-TN series is targeted for entry level users and advanced users needing robust performance and features. TN can be used for commercial chain store applications, government, schools and other municipalities.
DVR-16TS/TT series is targeted for entry level users and advanced users needing real time video; specifically for banking and casino applications.
DVR-PC8/16 series is targeted for entry level users desiring a PC computer GUI and superb video quality. PC can be used for residential and commercial applications.
DVR-PCPro 8 and 16 is targeted for advanced users needing enterprise-level features, real-time and high resolution video at a competitive price. They are specifically targeted for corporate, banking, casinos, etc.
Can the installer provide his own HDD if an upgrade is required?
Yes, on all models with a removable, key-locked, HDD slot. We do not authorize the opening of any DVRs on site for HDD replacement unless they are equipped with a key-locked HDD slot.
Can a DVR be connected directly to a DVR with a crossover cable and be controlled/viewed and share Internet access?
That functionality, called “clustering,” will be available on our PCPro.       

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