Network applications for security systems and remote monitoring: iVMS4000, NVR Server, Stream Media Server - powerful and free
Modern video surveillance systems have several characteristics that distinguish them from classical solutions. Today's network architecture eliminates the need to place the DVR in one room with the guard. The preview of the images can be performed using the network infrastructure. Remote access allows for configuration and management via IE or CMS. This solution is ideal for creating distributed video surveillance systems with practically unlimited number of subnetworks. Giving users different levels of access rights, the administrator of the system can control the flow of information and ensure its security. Assessing the quality of modern CCTV systems, it is not enough just to consider the technical parameters of the hardware. The key role is played by additional software. It is important to take into account its availability, performance and capacity. Another important feature is the possibility to expand the monitoring system by adding equipment from one or more manufacturers.
DVRs, CCTV cameras, and video servers from Hikvision have been known and valued in the world for years. They use one standard and can be handled by the same software, which also includes:
- iVMS4000 - client application for Ultimax and Hikvision-Ultimax DVRs, Ulticam and Hikvision cameras, Ultinet video servers
- NVR Server - video recording software program
- Stream Media Server - application for distributing video streams to multiple users
- Local Playback Software - application for playing archives from HDDs of Ultimax and Hikvision DVRs
- SADP application - tool for integrating CCTV systems based on Hikvision, Ultimax, Ulticam and Ultinet equipment
All these applications are free. The software library is designed for Windows.
This article presents capabilities of the library.
This article presents capabilities of the library.
iVMS4000 is the flagship application intended, among other things, to perform:
- live monitoring
- remote playback
- event and alarm handling
- configuration of devices connected to the network
- all the local functions and a set of additional ones
After installing the software on a PC, at the beginning the user will be asked to enter login name and admin password (twice). The administrator has all permissions in the program with no restrictions.
The user account window - the first user is the administrator (admin)
NOTICE: The account(s) of the program user(s) are different from the accounts of user(s) of the DVR(s). It should be borne in mind when assigning access levels - the access rights to peripheral devices have priority.
Before adding a device to the network, the administrator should set its local parameters for image preview, image capturing, and choose time synchronization option. It is important to specify paths for video recordings, still images, configuration file. Advanced settings include possibility of activating a set of startup options, as well as adjusting the length of the sound alarm triggered by events detected by the associated peripherals.
Adding an device to the list is very simple. If it is in the same local network, it can be found by SADP tool (more on this application in SADP application - tool for integrating CCTV systems based on HIKVISION equipment ). If the device will be connected via the Internet, the administrator must know its IP address or domain name. In both cases there will be needed the user name and password to the account previously created for the device. The default administrator account for each device is admin/12345 (username/password). If it is not possible to configure the device locally, it can be done via a web browser. The user account defined in the wizard will be the same for all users of the application.
The standard port used for communication between the computer and the peripheral device is 8000. In addition, Internet Explorer uses the default http port 80.
The list of added device is displayed in the box on the left side of the Preview window. In the case of using a single monitor, the maximum number of channels is 64 (1 channel = 1 connection = 1 camera). All network devices from Hikvision allow selection of the incoming stream: the main high-quality or the auxiliary, lower-performance one, with lower bandwidth requirements. In the case of a split screen with multiple image windows their sizes automatically become smaller, thus the difference in the quality of the images transmitted by the two kinds of the stream is insignificant, whereas the use of sub-streams significantly improves smoothness of the video.
Selection of the video stream from the first camera
During the preview, there are available buttons to record an event, make a screenshot, digitally zoom the image. If any alarms are defined with responses to the monitoring center, the information about them will be displayed in the bottom of the screen.
In the playback window the user can watch the recorded footage from up to 16 channels, from among the set of the installed devices. Depending on the version of the hardware and firmware, there is possibility of synchronous playback of video from several devices (channels). The user can use digital zoom. The video data from a given day can be searched by a timeline or by the type of the recording (schedule, alarm, motion, ...). The timeline covers 24 hours, the user triggers playback by clicking on a certain point on the axis. During the playback, the user can create desired time intervals, and download the corresponding files. Similarly, the computer's HDD can be used as a backup memory for any recordings stored in local resources of the network devices.
Remote configuration of network devices allows for full management of the system. The configuration menu is very similar for all devices. The user can configure display settings and video parameters, recording schedule, network parameters, as well as update the firmware. The list of the menu items is shown in the picture below.
iVMS4000 application is the basis for other software for Ultimax - Hikvision, Ultimax, Ulticam devices. It fully meets the requirements for modern applications of this type, having functionality compared to commercial products.
Minimum systems requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7; RAM: minimum 1 GB; processor: Intel Pentium IV 3.0 GHz; graphics card and monitor with minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels. Minimum upload/download bandwidth depends on the number of connected cameras and their bitrates.
NVR Server is an application designed for Windows systems to record video from Ultimax, Hikvision-Ultimax, and Hikvision DVRs, ULTICAM cameras, ULTINET video servers. It records the main video streams from the devices.
The application installs automatically. By default, the NVR and VOD listening ports are 8320 and 8554, respectively. It is recommended to leave these settings, along with other default settings -any changes are recommended only in the case of advanced users and network administrators.
After installation, it is necessary to allocate the disk space required to store data. This area has to be allocated by the program before downloading any files. It should be a separate physical disk or partition (it is not allowed to share the space with other disks/partitions because it will be specially formatted for the data from the cameras).
By default, after starting the application the server is running - it has to be stopped before entering setup menu.
After creating the disk group, the NVR Server can be restarted. The rest of the configuration is carried out through iVMS4000, locally or remotely.
The application minimizes itself to system tray
In an earlier section there has been described ad hoc recording of events during monitoring the video channels. NVR Server allows for automatic recording of video and audio in any mode, independently from the local recording performed by devices with their own storage media. The recording can be set individually for each camera. The application supports up to 64 input channels and 500 output channels.
The setup of NVR Server will be demonstrated for the DVR Hikvision-Ultimax 8108HDI-S M76080. The DVR is connected to the IP network (address: 192.168.0.167). NVR Server has been installed and run on the PC with IP address 192.168.0.165. iVMS4000 application for configuring the IP CCTV system has been installed on another PC, with address 192.168.0.166.
The components of the local network
After selecting "Recording Feature", we should enter "NVR Recording Setup". Clicking on "NVR Configuration" we can add a new server. We enter the appropriate port numbers, the IP address of the computer running the application and the server name. The new item will be visible on the list. Then we select this position in order to establish recording schedules for the channels.
For this purpose we should:
- select NVR server (there is only one in this example)
- indicate the device and a specific channel to be recorded
- choose suitable recording mode (a predefined template or own one)
- save the settings
Proper configuration is confirmed by an icon (film) beside the channel icon.
The NVR Server application window on the PC will be show the device, its IP address and port, recording periods. It can also provide information on disks (Disk Info) and other configured channels that are not recorded at the moment (Record Info).
NOTE: In the case of devices that do not have local storage capabilities, in order to use the NVR server for motion-triggered recording, the user must enable the option of notifying the monitoring center (in each of these devices with active motion detection and defined detection zones).
An example of configuration for ULTICAM K1441 camera.
Motion detection configuration - K1441
NVR Server shows the start and stop of recording.
Playback is performed in the same way as in the case of remote playback from the DVR. iVMS4000 automatically recognizes the channels that have been recorded on NVR and displays them in the tree in the playback window. It is possible to play synchronized video streams from the DVR and NVR simultaneously.
So, for each device with local recording the user has two sources of the recorded material.
Minimum hardware/software requirements: PC with Windows 2000, XP, Vita or 7; Pentium IV 1.6 GHz processor (or equivalent); 512 MB RAM; the necessary hard disk space depends on the number of channels, recording parameters and required archiving period - e.g. for 64 x 4CIF /25 fps channels and 7 days it amounts to around 12 TB (terabytes).
Stream Media Server is an application that allows many users to get access to the streaming devices. By default, Hikvision devices limit the number of connections to 18 main streams (1 stream = 1 channel!). In the case of a 16-channel DVR, it means that with parallel recording of all channels on a NVR, there will be only 2 main streams available for other purposes. It is not sufficient when the owner of the CCTV system wants to present the video on a website to a wider audience.
Stream Media Server can increase the number of connections up to 250. In the following example we will also use the Hikvision-Ultimax 8108HDI-S DVR.
Stream Media Server, due to the need for continuous operation, is installed on the same computer as the NVR Server. The application is working in the background. The default port is 554, but the user can change it. Before configuring, the service has to be stopped.
Stream Media Server can be used by iVMS4000 and NVR Server. The website preview is always available directly. For the web interface, we may choose the default auxiliary stream and only occasionally (usually in the case of an event) switch to the main stream. Mobile phones use auxiliary streams only.
After installation and initial setup of Stream Media Server we must configure iVMS4000 for the streaming devices. Having multiple devices connected, but only one that should be served by Stream Media Server, we must create a sub-area with the device and add the application there.
Every time a user connects with the system, the data will be received form Stream Media Server. The application can also be used by NVR Server. It requires to select this option in the configuration field of each channel.
In the configuration described above, Stream Media Server uses 8 connections out of 18 available, the rest of them (10) can be used e.g. for direct uploads to websites. The server can support more than one device.
Minimum software & hardware requirements: OS Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7; Pentium IV 2.8 GHz; 1 GB RAM; Gigabit NIC; network connection with bandwidth sufficient for the expected number of connected channels.
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