Various viewing stations throughout a house?

Phil.g00

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Let me preface this by saying I am very much at a learning stage, so if I am off on a tangent, please let me know (gently).

Some context:
The goal is to have 3 to 4 viewing screens throughout a sprawling house. (Final view locations undecided, and future extensions of the buildings are likely).
The network cabling hasn't been done, and there are outbuildings involved. The network has to be able to extend from its furthest tentacles, not from the source.
Due to lightning, I want to fibre between buildings, but inside the same building, I'd use copper to satisfy POE requirements.

Having a big momma NVR ( Xi version) and 2-3 smaller NVRs (EI versions) is more convenient at this stage. I'd run a CAT cable from the nearest network switch and cherry-pick the relevant cameras per NVR and screen.
For instance, I want to see the gate camera from all locations, but certain cameras would be irrelevant to certain screens if I could look out of the window at that location of a particular screen.
I think the arrangement will suit me better than wiring an additional layer of HDMI cabling.

The big momma screen and NVR would be for after an event historical analysis. The smaller screens would be for a quick look at the time.
I'd run fibre to the outbuildings, then back to copper inside the respective outbuilding. I'd avoid Wi-Fi but consider P2P wireless if I had to.

So I have some questions about screens/monitors.
1. What specs should I look for in the big momma monitor? It will be in a dedicated small room where people generally do not socialize. I'd seek a sufficient spec monitor to utilize the camera's best capabilities whilst still on a budget.
2. I presume that TVs could double the monitor in rooms where people would watch a big flatscreen TV. So again, what TV resolution should I choose to be cost-effective?
3. I can see that there may be a requirement for a discrete smaller PC monitor screen, like under the bar, that one could keep an eye on whilst not making the monitor the focal interest in the room. What should the minimum specs be for a second-hand PC monitor?

Advice appreciated.
 

tangent

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Lots of options to display cameras including: computers, nvrs, fire tv stick / android tv devices, rPi, dahua intercoms. Some are more flexible than others. In the ideal case you might even have things automated such that when a particular event occurs a TV turns on automatically or switches to displaying cameras but NVRs aren't going to do stuff like that for you.

The main things that could trip you up in this sort of endeavor are network topology issues and bandwidth limitations. The cameras and nvrs generally aren't using multi cast so each client connecting to a particular device counts against the devices bandwidth limits. A lower end NVR might have a bandwidth limit as low as 80mbps.

In general, I wouldn't recommend pulling tons of long HDMI cables, but a few might be appropriate and some empty conduits. You might prefer to have an NVR or device that displays the cameras in a media cabinet within 30' (preferably within 15') of a TV rather than right next to the tv. If you do opt for longer HDMi connections, one option to consider is devices that send HDMI over Cat-6 cable. Some of these work over a single cable, some use 2 cables per HDMI and many of them work better with either STP Cat-6 cable or Cat-6a. Some of these are capable of distributing multiple HDMI inputs across multiple devices, there's potential to sue this sort of thing for more than just cameras. The quality isn't quite as good as an actual HDMI cable, but for long distance it's practical.
It sounds like you're under construction or maybe even still in the design phase. There are many things you can do now that are hard to do later.
 
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wittaj

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+1 on not installing longer HDMI cables - I think the longer runs burn out the HDMI ports. Maybe I have just been unlucky but every NVR I had would have the HDMI port go out within a year or so on a cable run of 30 feet.
 

Phil.g00

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Lots of options to display cameras including: computers, nvrs, fire tv stick / android tv devices, rPi, dahua intercoms. Some are more flexible than others. In the ideal case you might even have things automated such that when a particular event occurs a TV turns on automatically or switches to displaying cameras but NVRs aren't going to do stuff like that for you.
As the final design is unknown, I'd rather run a generic infrastructure that could be used for multiple purposes, so I think CAT cables and fibre fit the bill the best.
Yes, I'd like a TV turn-on to be event-driven, but unless it is an off-the-shelf solution, I am not interested.

The main things that could trip you up in this sort of endeavor are network topology issues and bandwidth limitations. The cameras and nvrs generally aren't using multi cast so each client connecting to a particular device counts against the devices bandwidth limits. A lower end NVR might have a bandwidth limit as low as 80mbps.
I am aware of NVR bandwidth restrictions, and this issue can be considered dealt with.

The option of HDMI cabling seems to be out by unanimous consensus. - No argument here. Local HDMI cables between end devices only


It is correct to assume things are a work in progress.

But back to my queries, I would really like to know the recommended specs for the monitors. (Regarding 1080p, 720p, 4K, at various screen sizes or whatever else is available today).
 

TonyR

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Just a general observation, which certainly depends on availability of certain makes and models of TV's in Ireland:

Since 2010 I've owned 4 different "smart TV's" from Sony, Vizio and Element (a Best Buy store brand) and they all displayed an annoying trait if you were expecting to turn the TV on and have it come up displaying the last input (say "HDMI 1" for example) but instead would come up in some menu to select the app you planned to use (like YouTube, Google, NBC Peacock, etc.). This was true of TV's with O/S from Google and Fire TV, can't comment on Samsung, LG or others.

I wound up buying the largest "dumb TV" I could get, a 43" Element 1080p from Best Buy. It has 3 HDMI inputs and NO apps, no Wi-Fi, etc. so that when you turned it on...BANG...there it was, displaying IMMEDIATELY my cams on HDMI 1 input...no wait, no annoying menus, etc.

I bring this up in case it's of importance or didn't come to mind to you or others reading this thread. :cool:

.
 

Phil.g00

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I wound up buying the largest "dumb TV" I could get, a 43" Element 1080p
That is a valid point. I have seen this issue on smart TVs.
Do you have a comment on sufficient resolution and screen size?
I think the larger the screen and the further away the viewer, the less resolution you can get away with.
Although it appears that 4K screens are the order of the day now, anyway.

Most of my cams are 2Mp, with a smattering of 4Mp's, a couple of 4K's and two 12Mp fisheyes.
 

The Automation Guy

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I use BlueIris which has an web server built into it. Therefore I can simply direct any device with a web browser (phones, tablets, smart TVs, media streamers, computers, etc) to it's ip address and I can view the camera feeds that way. If your NVR system has a web server built into it, you should be able to do the same thing. I have several tablets around my house that sit on wireless charging stands that show the BI camera streams by default (screen always on). It's sure easy to pick on up to look at the feeds or check alerts, clips, etc. Then you just put the tablet back on the charger when you are done.

If the only way to view the camera feeds is from the local video output of the NVR (probably an HDMI port), then you can still view the cameras across your house, but it is going to take a lot more planning and running wires. You can get an HDMI splitter to take the output of the NVR and split it into however many screen you want to view the cameras on. You will then have to run cabling from this splitter to each screen location. As people have already mentioned, HDMI is fine for short distances, but quickly falls apart and becomes unusable at "longer" distances. To be on the safe side, I would not plan on using a HDMI cable that is longer than 20'. You might be able to get away with 25' or even 30' if you are lucky, but at those distances it is probably a 50/50 chance if it will work (depending on things like how "powerful" your NVR HMDI signal output is and the quality of the splitter you are using, the quality of the cable, etc, etc, etc).

If you need to send the signal farther than 20', you will need to convert it to another transmission type. There are two primary ways to do this - via Cat network cable or SDI cables. SDI cable is a type of coaxial cable. Hopefully everyone knows about network cables but keep in mind that transmission distances is dependent on the class of Cat wire - so Cat5e works generally, but Cat6 sends signals reliably a father distance, etc. Plus if you go with Cat wire, be sure to use shielded wire. I find that converting HDMI to Cat network cable can still be a crap shoot however. There are several different standards to do this (not all convert the signal the same way) and some are more reliable than others.

Honestly converting the HDMI signal to SDI and using SDI cables is the better choice. While SDI isn't used a lot in residential settings, it has been the standard for broadcast video distribution for decades. While HDMI to network cable conversion is kind of a crap shoot IMHO, SDI simply works and works well. BlackMagic Design makes some inexpensive HDMI/SDI converters but there are lots of options out there.
 
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Phil.g00

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If the only way to view the camera feeds is from the local video output of the NVR (probably an HDMI port), then you can still view the cameras across your house, but it is going to take a lot more planning and running wires. You can get an HDMI splitter to take the output of the NVR and split it into however many screen you want to view the cameras on. You will then have to run cabling from this splitter to each screen location. As people have already mentioned, HDMI is fine for short distances, but quickly falls apart and becomes unusable at "longer" distances. To be on the safe side, I would not plan on using a HDMI cable that is longer than 20'. You might be able to get away with 25' or even 30' if you are lucky, but at those distances it is probably a 50/50 chance if it will work (depending on things like how "powerful" your NVR HMDI signal output is and the quality of the splitter you are using).
I want a solution that doesn't dedicate dedicated cabling for a specific purpose.
I also want something that is "plug and play" without needing to know too much.
I found it complicated enough to record a TV program whilst watching another channel from a top box on a VCR.
( I could never remember what was tuned to what).

My understanding is that multiple NVRs can subscribe to a single IP camera. This will allow a network cable to a smaller NVR and a local HDMI cable between the NVR and the monitor.
It will also mean that a local switch can multiply the local wired network connection for other local uses.
The big momma NVR will subscribe to all cams, direct all the IVS rules and record a full history.
I don't need to view all cameras from a satellite screen, only the gate cam and PTZs.
Spotter cams can call the PTZs to duty, but I don't need to see spotters from the distributed screens.
Likewise, I don't need a camera to see what is happening outside the window where that particular screen happens to be.
ANPR cameras are also after-the-fact recordings and won't be viewed on satellite screens.
No HDMI splitting will be involved.
The satellite NVRs will only subscribe to a cutdown number of relevant cameras and be local to its monitor.

This question is about which are the best value monitors to fulfil the various satellite settings.
 
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Phil.g00

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Have you considered a couple decent sized tablets instead of a display?
All options are open.
I want to work with screens I know I will have already, though.
There will be a big flat screen in a communal room. There will also be a decent-sized TV in my bedroom and possibly a smaller one, high in a kitchen corner.
The bar I am unsure of, I am old-school and I don't like a TV in the bar.
A tablet that can be mobile say in the garden, is a good suggestion, but in reality, it'll be a phone (which I also will already have) that'll be with me in those situations.
 

actran

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@Phil.g00 If all options are open, instead of multiple NVRs, use Blue Iris v5 VMS.

@The Automation Guy mentioned Blue Iris above. That is what I use as well. I have a number of tablets (and some TVs) around the house to view cameras using a browser pointing to BI5 UI3 web interface. No HDMI/cat5 cables are necessary to tablets, all done via wifi, easy to move if initial locations were not ideal.

With Blue Iris, you can define different groups of cameras, so different display devices can display different groups of cameras, no problems. And clip playback is easy to do via touch on a tablet.
 
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Phil.g00

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The BI route may be on the table.
These are my present thoughts on the subject:

There are hardware requirements for both. I think dedicated PC + tablets will be cheaper than the NVRs, but the savings will be fairly insignificant against the overall cost of the cameras.
The more resilient system will be distributed NVRs, which won't have a single point of failure.
I don't want important systems reliant on Wi-Fi.

However, these are not redline issues for me, swings and roundabouts.

My greater concern is that BI seems to have a learning curve.
If I need to, I will begrudgingly take the time to master it.
Can I expect family members or someone who may inherit the system to do the same?
I expect these cameras to be around long after I'm gone.
Can I hand over the system over to another custodian in my dotage?

I don't know BI; many people like it, but there seems to be a fair amount of "How do I do this in BI?" questions.
With my eye on a future custodian. I need a set-and-forget solution already preset that won't need firmware upgrades, software releases, or to deal with expert forums, subscriptions or cloud websites.
 
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wittaj

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You can set BI to be a set it and forget it. Turn off auto updates and good to go.

As someone that has both, I find BI easier to pick up and to show a non tech the basics like playback and export.

Now all of the questions you see "how do I do this in BI" is because BI is more robust and customizable and feature rich, so lots of us tinker.

But if you want to just initially set it up to do what you want and not touch it, that option is available as well.

I haven't updated my BI in almost two years because my system was stable and didn't have a need for any of the improvements.

Many here are still on version 4 as well.
 

Phil.g00

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Well, that makes me happier about BI.
My cameras are "AI-rich", and the "big Momma" NVR will be the "AI-rich" NVR 608 64 XI.
(If a cleverer one becomes available in the meantime, it'll be that later model).
My goal would be to ensure a system over time that never generates false positives.
In other words, minimal future maintenance.
I envisage just playback will stretch future custodians' technical limits.

So, why would BI be the clear preferred alternative instead of just an alternative?
 

hikky_b

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Seconded on the advice to learn BI or similar - will you give you a lot of flexibility when routing cam feeds, groups etc. I understand why this might be daunting at first.

Another suggestion for your HDMI routing is to use an HDMI over IP solution such as Best AV over IP Solution for Your Home & Business Use . This could mean that you can have your various NVR's in a central location, decluttering space around the various monitors/tvs and being able to pick up the feeds anywhere within your LAN. Not a cheap method but works reliably.
 

Phil.g00

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Seconded on the advice to learn BI or similar - will you give you a lot of flexibility when routing cam feeds, groups etc. I understand why this might be daunting at first.
I can subscribe to any cam I want to be on the network via any NVR, then I have the group I want to at the screen I want to see it on. This fits the bill already, features that I won't use are irrelevant.

Another suggestion for your HDMI routing is to use an HDMI over IP solution such as Best AV over IP Solution for Your Home & Business Use . This could mean that you can have your various NVR's in a central location, decluttering space around the various monitors/tvs and being able to pick up the feeds anywhere within your LAN. Not a cheap method but works reliably.
I have been living with a box or two next to a cathode ray tube TV since the days of Betamax VCRs. A slimline NVR in the proximity of a flatscreen isn't a concern.

However, one thing that a local NVR will allow me is local control. In other words, I could have a nine-camera overview and click to maximize a particular single camera locally.
I am sorry I didn't mention this earlier. It is also a requirement to have this sort of intuitive viewing control.
Again, this can be done with alternative technology, but why?
 

The Automation Guy

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My understanding is that multiple NVRs can subscribe to a single IP camera.

The big momma NVR will subscribe to all cams, direct all the IVS rules and record a full history.

The satellite NVRs will only subscribe to a cutdown number of relevant cameras and be local to its monitor.

This question is about which are the best value monitors to fulfil the various satellite settings.
The screens are really the least important element of this. Buy whatever you want really.....

While your idea of using multiple NVRs with one at each screen will certainly work, it is really overkill. Yes you would gain some redundancy this way, but the expense and ongoing management of all of those systems would be a real problem IMHO. I would really recommend that you get one NVR that is large enough to handle everything you need and includes a web server built into it. Then just like BI, you should be able to login and view cameras from any local device that has a web browser. That seems 1000% times easier than trying to manage multiple NVRs in multiple locations around your house.

You say you don't want to run a bunch of wires around your house, but if you put a NVR at each screen location, you are going to need at least one network cable at each location and you will need a HDMI cable from the NVR to the screen (in addition to power and enough physical space to be able to put the NVR hardware). If you use the web browser technique, you can connect devices over Wi-Fi which means you don't need even a network cable at those locations. You could easily put up a "smart TV" and have nothing but power connected to it. Or perhaps you take a "dumb" screen and plug a media player (like a Amazon Firestick) into it. Again the only thing you would need is power making these installations much "cleaner" than a screen with a NVR below it with wires connecting everything.
 
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