The Hikvision NVR (Network Video Recorder) is a feature-filled surveillance center that allows security managers to control individual cameras, customize recording quality, analyze intelligent video content, and lot of other functions that we will discuss below. The array of NVRs offered by Hikvision ranges from the basic entry level to the more cutting-edge high end series which allow end-users to select the right solution depending on their requirements.
Let’s start with hardware—the pillar of the system. Hard disk slots start at two (2) for HIDS76 series and a maximum of 24 slots for the high end series. The box also has Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches, and Ethernet port for Internet connectivity, RCA audio in/out, HDMI/VGA out and USB 2.0 ports.
The PoE ports enable the user to run a single cable to a compatible camera that can carry video, audio, power, alarm, and PTZ commands. With a single wire handling almost everything, this greatly reduces wires and cables being pulled, thus reduced costs for material and labor.
For most models, there is a USB port for mouse or flash drive. An USB mouse and virtual keyboard can be used for editing camera names, changing settings, adding/editing users, or entering passwords. The box also includes an IR remote that accesses menu options, playback controls and PTZ. This remote can be disabled though to prevent unauthorized people from accessing the Hikvision NVR.
Starting at mid-range level, the hardware is equipped with dual-lan – that is, the Hikvision NVR can be connected to two different networks. This allows the security network traffic to be separated from the normal corporate network traffic, so each network can do its job efficiently.
As for the software, we can begin with the live-view window which gives an at-a-glance overview of what is happening. There are also icons for almost all events, like Video Loss, Record, PTZ control, image setting and instant playback among others. Clicking the icon will open a pop-up window for further options. For instance, clicking the image settings icon, the camera menu will be opened to adjust the image. The icon system gives the user instant access to important features without having to navigate through menus.
There are basic choices namely, Continuous and Event. Continuous recording captures everything. Event recording is customizable, and conserves the hard-drive capacity by capturing footage only when something happens. The resolution will be dependent on the capability of the particular camera being configured. If a connected camera has audio capabilities, options include recording the audio or not. It is also possible to specify the hard drive to which specific channels are saved, and even have footage saved to multiple hard drives for constant backup.
“Event” is a term that can be described as a variety of triggers that will begin recording. It can be from the digital motion detection, or from wired external devices like door contacts. The pre- and post-recording time intervals can be adjusted to ensure what is needed is captured. For pre-recording, the Hikvision NVR stores a few seconds of footage in a buffer without recording it. When an event happens, it immediately saves those seconds before the event. The post-recording is the number of minutes or seconds the Hikvision NVR to record after an event occurs.
Many cameras, and most of Hikvision NVR, support multiple streams. This means that the same camera can send different feeds for different purposes with different configurations. For example, have a high-resolution stream for recording, and a separate medium- or low-resolution stream for live view. It makes sure every detail is captured, but saves the computer the workload of processing high-resolution feed for live viewing.
In case of footage review, one can search by day/date/time or events. If the Hikvision NVR is configured for different events, like motion detection, one will be able to further refine the search to event type. An option to trim clips, capture snapshots, and save clips with over-write protection is available. Another good playback feature is the ability to add customized tags for recorded files to “tag” similar events for easier and faster playback, saving, and backup. Clips can be merged to create a continuous file of multiple events for backing up or saving that can be played as a continuous file.
Hikvision NVR starts with a single Administrator account and password, and from there one can add more users, with individual access and passwords. In addition to more administrators, Guest or Operator choices are existing. Guest has a pre-set configuration of live view only, while Operator can be customized to specific functions and features. This will give permissions from as little as view-only to camera settings, recording settings, shutdown/reboot, and log search. This access can further be specified for local use and remote use. So an Operator user can have live view only for remote use, but more advanced permissions at a local level.
An exception is an event that doesn’t have anything to do with a camera or recording. When the Hikvision NVR detects one of these Exceptions, it performs an action. Types of Exceptions include HDD Error, Network Disconnected, Illegal Log-in, and Recording. These are all selectable, with actions like sounding audible alarms, automatically sending emails, and external alarm triggers.
Not only does it do everything you need your NVR to perform, many of the features and functions are incredibly customizable. This is a menu-driven system and with the OSD icons for many of the camera and recording functions, setting/changing/tweaking is quick and easy.