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DVR /PVR / CCTV on linux ,help ?

3 replies [Last post]
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Joined: 2006-02-23

Hi
I want to make a DVR (digital video recorder) or CCTV setup hooking upto 16 cameras on a computer ,some of the cameras will be motion sensitive ie only record when it is trigered for a set period of time,and some will be recording in a continous loop ,for 2 months the last day gets written on
I have already seen such a system in a shop but it is running windows xp
I have seen some dvr cards on e bay where u get software free as well ,but that only runs in xp
I have googled around and found some sites for PVR setup
I dont think i need expensive tv cards
Any help in the right direction would be appreciated ,what kind of software ,hardware would i need

Thanx in advance

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17

I dabbled in this a bit and posted a lot of what I found on comp.os.linux.programming.misc, I believe. You can google for CCTV in there if you go to groups.google.com.

Here's why I got interested in it. If one can do this cheaply, you can make a good bit of money here because it's an underserved market for people who want inexpensive high quality. For instance, a 12 camera CCTV system has an average price tag of $20,000 USA dollars. If you come in at $10K, then you might have some appeal.

There are a few angles here for your approach:

OPTIONS

1. Purchase a series of USB web cams, then use USB to CAT6 converters to route this over large distances such as 100 feet. Connect it all back on a USB hub. In Linux there are several drivers available on the web for connecting the USB web cams. Next, get a command line program that retrieves the images from the web cam. These are available for free on the web too. Use crontab and web pages to run all this through.

2. Purchase multi-port MPEG cards. Then, connect a bunch of bubble MPEG cams on long MPEG cords. There are some cords where power is included in the same cable. Then, at the server end of it, the cable splits and you plug the inverter powerpack into regular electric power. You then use MPEG drivers and MPEG image retriever command line tools to bring this all into a set of web pages.

3. Purchase a Linux-based web camera. It's a camera with embedded Linux inside. Connect these together on a high quality 1GB LAN hub and write wget or curl scripts to snag the images into a central source. Serve up with web pages.

4. Purchase a pre-built Linux kit and then OEM and/or improve it with their permission. There are some embedded Linux solutions for this you can find on the web. These are extremely hard to find, but they exist. And if you get a good price and think you can improve upon what they already offer, you might have a market niche here.

Unfortunately with options 1 and 2, what you'll find is that the drivers aren't fast enough and are designed to snap up photos one at a time from one camera, rather than multitasking across all the web cams. You'll probably desire to download the C code and tweak this to accommodate your needs.

With option 3 and 4, it becomes too expensive and you'll be looking for ways to cut costs, such as volume licensing, etc.

Most people I hear about who have pulled this off went with option 3 because the drivers were a little better than the USB web cams when we're talking rapid photo snapping across multiple cameras.

I tried to build an inexpensive USB cam option because I found that I could purchase the camera bubbles and a way to mount the USB cam inside to make it look like a high-end solution. I also found the USB to CAT6 extenders on the web using a small, inexpensive adapter on each end. That could permit me to run this over a long distance. However, I was frustrated with the driver. I managed to get 2 cameras working fairly well, but clearly saw that it takes an extremely fast server, USB 2.0 (minimum), a good amount of RAM, fast SCSI drives and probably a bus-mastered SCSI controller. Beyond that, I think I would have to try to learn C and make the driver and or image capture programs work a lot better. What this meant is that there would be cost increases to pull this solution off. It's a matter of playing with the pricetag to see how this can be cost-effective for you.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
"supermike" wrote:

2. Purchase multi-port MPEG cards. Then, connect a bunch of bubble MPEG cams on long MPEG cords. There are some cords where power is included in the same cable. Then, at the server end of it, the cable splits and you plug the inverter powerpack into regular electric power. You then use MPEG drivers and MPEG image retriever command line tools to bring this all into a set of web pages.

MPEG is patented.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

This might also be useful for you: CLI Magic: Getting into Motion

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