Viewing Station (another thread) for lots of IP cameras - 64 to be exact

Inphosys

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Hey there, BI Junkies!

Can you offer any recommendations for configuring a viewing station for my on-site staff desk? My objective is to display all of our camera live views, but also display the triggered cameras in a prominent way so that our on-site staffer that sits at the monitoring desk can have their attention drawn to the triggered camera (very prominently) so that they can react to the trigger event if necessary.

A little about my setup ...
  • 50 IP Cameras, headed for 64 (very soon)
  • Blue Iris "Server" specs ... (it's a beast)
    • OS: Windows 10 Pro
    • CPU: Dual Socket (both sockets populated) with Intel Xeon Silver 4210 CPU's @ 2.20GHz
    • GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 - Blue Iris and all of the camera settings have been configured to take advantage of Nvidia NVENC/NVDEC GPU hardware acceleration
    • RAM: 32 GB
    • NICs:
      • One - 10 Gbps SFP+ NIC connected to our switch stack (Camera VLAN) to collect the IP camera frames via ONVIF / RTSP
      • One - 1 Gbps NIC connected to our switch stack (Standard Network VLAN) so that I can access the OS and Blue Iris web interface
    • Storage: SSD RAID Array for active clips and HDD RAID Array for archive
    • 58 inch, 4K TV as our "viewing station" which is connected to the console of the Blue Iris Server via a SIIG 4K HDMI over HDBaseT Extender and Cat6 cabling.
      • Unfortunately, I can only get regular HD (1920 x 1080) from the 4K TV right now. This seems to be a limitation of the SIIG HDBaseT Extender and the distance of my Cat6 cable that's carrying the HDMI signal, it's 120 feet long and I can't do anything about the distance.

My current problem is that with 50 cameras (and 14 more on the way) the HD TV is getting tight on space for displaying all of the cameras since it can only muster up 1920 x 1080. If I could get the TV up to 4K then I might be in better shape for displaying all of the cameras. I've reviewed a bunch of the IPcamTalk forums and it looks like folks have wrestled with different solutions but none of them seem to strike me as a definitive / yeah that will definitely work / type of answer for my situation. The best idea I've read, but haven't tried, is using an Nvidia Shield Android TV Pro 4K and using the Blue Iris app, which would allow me to locate the 4K device right next to the 4K TV (solving my resolution problem), connecting the Nvidia Shield to my network via the gigabit NIC interface so that I have good bandwidth for it, and then purchasing the Blue Iris app from the Google Play App Store. Given my objective of displaying all of the cameras but also prominently displaying the trigger events, does this seem like a good solution? Should I use a 4K "PC" or Raspberry Pi device and auto-launch a web browser to the Blue Iris web server? Or, can you wonderful folks recommend a better solution for a viewing station?

With the Nvidia hardware acceleration running, I have no problem with CPU or GPU utilization when connecting to the Blue Iris web server, so utilizing the web interface via a browser or the Blue Iris app are both viable options, I just need some help to figure out the best tool(s) to utilize.

Thank you for your assistance!
 

DsineR

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Unfortunately, I can only get regular HD (1920 x 1080) from the 4K TV right now. This seems to be a limitation of the SIIG HDBaseT Extender and the distance of my Cat6 cable that's carrying the HDMI signal, it's 120 feet long and I can't do anything about the distance.
Which model is your SIIG extender?
If indeed rated for 4K, you should have no problem extending over CAT6 up to 300'. Cheaper models may have limits on their 4K range, but will handle 1080p upto 300' - check the specs.
Even with 4K res, 64 cams on a 58" TV = super small images. Consider dual monitor or larger TV.
 

Inphosys

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Which model is your SIIG extender?
If indeed rated for 4K, you should have no problem extending over CAT6 up to 300'. Cheaper models may have limits on their 4K range, but will handle 1080p upto 300' - check the specs.
Even with 4K res, 64 cams on a 58" TV = super small images. Consider dual monitor or larger TV.
It looks like I'm using a SIIG Model # CE-H23E11-S1

20201006_170749.jpg20201006_170816_resized.jpg

Which says it's good for 60 meters, but after a lot of Google searches and trying to interact with SIIG tech support, the 60 meters is only for HD 1080, not 4K. Oh, this is interesting, I was just googling the model number and now the SIIG website spells out the limitations! (it didn't when I bought it over a year and a half ago) And the related products section is now showing a new CE-H23F11-S1 (one letter different) that is good for 4K at 70 meters (230 feet) that's only $50 more expensive. I guess I'm buying that one, unless you can recommend a better HDBaseT extender? My Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 is connected to the SIIG HDBaseT extender via a 1 meter DisplayPort to HDMI 4K cable and I have one or two more DisplayPorts available on that card, so I could go multiple TV's with multiple extenders. If I use the Nvidia GPU software to override and push 4K, I end up losing the HDCP light on the front of the SIIG, like it's unable to negotiate HDCP between the two endpoints. Ultimately, I don't have enough wall space for multiple 50+ inch TV's, I'm going to have to see if my boss will let me spring for something in the 70+ inch class and stay with a single display.

I also wouldn't mind getting away from the HDMI over Cat6 and going a different direction ... RPi 4 with auto-launch web browser and a case with built-in fans, or the NVidia Shield with Blue Iris app. That would let me get back to using my network cabling for what it's really intended for, networking. It would also allow me to have multiple viewing stations in different parts of the building if I ever ended up needing that. My biggest concern with whichever solution I move forward with ... How do I make triggered cameras be a prominent event in front of a person's face? I need to make sure someone sees that trigger and reacts to it if necessary and doesn't just ignore it. The desk clerk is doing other things, answering phones, typing emails on their computer, and the TV displaying the cameras is above their computer monitor, so within view, but I need something to draw their attention to it during triggered events.

Thanks again for the assistance! I completely agree, 64 cameras is a lot to squeeze onto one screen, I'm just limited on wall area to hang screens.
 

DsineR

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SIIG makes decent CAT extenders, I also like Crestron, Extron, Atlona for HDMI extenders over CAT cable - all which are geared toward the pro AV market. But as you discovered, check the specs on the cheaper models pimping 4K - distance may be limited.
Regarding HDCP, this is not be an issue with BI. There is no 'content protection' in BI, the dark LED on the SIIG box may just mean the content has no HDCP.
I recommend using a direct HDMI feed vs. viewing cams thru a browser. You will have better resolution, refresh rate, FPS, etc vs. streaming - especially at 4K res (even thou your cams are probably not 4K).
Regarding maximizing windows when events are trigger during events, not sure how to make this happen within BI. I know you can have the frame change color during an event, but not sure on the window size.
 

Inphosys

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Regarding HDCP, this is not be an issue with BI. There is no 'content protection' in BI, the dark LED on the SIIG box may just mean the content has no HDCP.
I recommend using a direct HDMI feed vs. viewing cams thru a browser. You will have better resolution, refresh rate, FPS, etc vs. streaming - especially at 4K res (even thou your cams are probably not 4K).
I agree with you, there's definitely no HDCP content in the window, but at 1920x1080 I get a steady on/off blinking LED for the HDCP light on the SIIG. If I try to push the resolution up to 4K I lose that blinking LED, goes completely dark and I can't seem to get it to sync back up. If I bring the TV to where the BI server is located and try it over a short cable, I still get the HDCP LED and I can push 4K on the resolution, so I feel confident it's the length on the cable.

As for HDMI vs. browser viewing, that's a bummer. I definitely understand why, I might even try an RPi 4 to see how it does, but with recording, re-encoding, serving it up through the web server, then displaying it, there's definitely going to be some lapse in quality and even latency at the viewing station, even with the viewing station being on the same gigabit switched network. If I look at my bandwidth utilization across my network, I have tons to spare, and I know with that huge Nvidia Quadro that the server could easily take more abuse. The RPi 4 might be an interesting test just to see how it performs ... I'm pretty sure I have a spare one around here somewhere.

Thanks again for the insights and wisdom!
 

bp2008

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Yeah, there's enough power from the HDMI ports. These cables actually have both fiber optics and conductive wire, so they don't electrically isolate your components like a fiber optic networking or TOSLINK audio cable would. The main benefit is longer range and thinner cable compared to what you could achieve with conductive wire alone.
 
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