In our modern world, time is of the essence, and we want to be able to watch what we want when we want. Two huge markets that have taken off in the last decade are digital video recording systems (DVR) and Internet protocol (IP) cameras.
Digital recording systems essentially enable recording of a broadcast for watching at a later date, and can be for some reasons of convenience to security. For the home user, it’s usually convenience and with the rise of hundreds upon hundreds of television channels it’s become nigh on impossible to watch every show at the time of broadcast. A DVR enables a show, or even a whole series of shows to be recorded and then played back when convenient. DVR’s are relatively simple machines in that they record a live stream to storage media such as a hard drive. For this reason, a lot of satellite and cable operators incorporate a DVR with their decoding box to make the package more attractive. However, the only drawback can be the lack of tuners. Each tuner allows one channel to be watched, and so if another channel is being recorded it might not be possible to watch another at the same time. Fortunately, most manufacturers have overcome this limitation by adding multiple tuners and recovering the cost of the extra hardware and software development through either an increased cost of the physical equipment or an increased subscription.
Digital video recorders are also very useful if they constantly record live television as this allows the user to pause live television. Pausing live television can be extremely useful if viewing is interrupted, typically by mealtimes or a telephone call. Since the DVR is constantly recording, assuming the viewer has been watching the particular channel for a period, it’s also often possible to rewind or replay live television. This feature has become especially useful during key moments of a sports game both at home and professionally by referees.
DVR’s are now often built into televisions and will either feature their integrated storage or have the ability to accept removable storage media such as SD cards or USB sticks for recording content. While this is a very useful function, it has created some concern about copyrighted material as most DVR’s will record in an industry standard MPEG format, allowing playback on most computers and games consoles.
An area where DVR’s excel is in the arena of security. Being limited only by the capacity of their storage media, a digital video recorder can record huge amounts of surveillance footage. Some see this as intrusive, but it has been proven to act as a massive deterrent particularly in the retail sector.
For video to be recorded for the purposes of monitoring or surveillance, a camera needs to be connected to the recorder, and this can take the form of an IP camera. Monitoring and surveillance recording has become very popular recently with the increased access to fast internet connections. Video recording is notoriously bandwidth intensive, and uploading video requires a significant amount of upstream bandwidth, something that most home connections are not designed for.
Although most high upstream bandwidth Internet connections are expensive, the costs are usually offset by the benefits of having an IP camera in place. Many town centres and industrial estates will be monitored via a series of remote cameras, and this saves having to employ several people to patrol different locations. With the video being recorded it can also serve as evidence should it be required, which removes the element of opinion or doubt over whether an incident has actually occurred or not. For this reason, many insurance companies will now require a camera to be used on site and its video recorded for a certain period. Usually now many weeks, as is possible with the large storage capacities available.
IP cameras also have the advantage of being mobile, which is particularly useful for building sites, festivals and other events which can sometimes attract unwanted attention! With the rise of faster and more stable internet connections, high-resolution cameras, and larger storage capacities, IP cameras now offer excellent quality for a remote user.