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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Due to a few 'opportunities to discuss differing outlooks' between my neighbor and I, it has become advisable for the Fallschirmjäger household to install an outdoor security camera. I picked up the camera tonight and the video output goes to an "RCA" connector.

For those with knowledge or experience, would I have any problems using an "RCA to F" adaptor and putting the input to a TV Tuner card on a PC running Windows Media Center Software? My plan is to adapt an unused, older PC as my DVR and manage it through a network connection to erase outdated security recordings (anything older than 48hrs basically).


I'm open to just about any and all suggestions :)
 

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Adapting to an F connector will not work. That RCA jack means composite video... F connector means modulated signal or antenna input.

Get a capture card or device that has a VIDEO INPUT by way of RCA jack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
AV8R said:
Adapting to an F connector will not work. That RCA jack means composite video... F connector means modulated signal or antenna input.

Get a capture card or device that has a VIDEO INPUT by way of RCA jack.
My mistake, I'd was looking at three connectors on the same cable, the RCA is for optional audio, video goes through a yellow BNC connector.
Would something like this work? Laikeet.com
 

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A video capture card like that will be fine for virtually any CCD camera out there on the market....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just a Clover CR135 from Fry's Electronics. It seemed to be fairly reasonably priced and robust for outdoor use.


A little flat paint and it should blend into the background.
 

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4-channel standalone security DVRs have come down in price a lot (check tigerdirect.com and buy.com for some really inexpensive ones) and, while still a bit more expensive than installing a capture card in an unused PC, has a significant advantage in that their single-purpose architecture usually means improved reliability with fewer instances of unplanned downtime. A Windows PC used as a security DVR generally will have shorter mean time between failures (whether or not due to the installation of a capture card) that likely will require a manual reboot; dedicated security DVRs usually are programmed to restart (and automatically resume recording) as a result of any error.

I also have found that the video quality with a standalone security DVR often is better than PCs used for the same purpose. Not sure if this is a function of codecs, hardware or available storage, but I've had both PC-based and standalone security DVRs and the standalones always produce better video.

Additionally, in the event an actionable event should happen to be recorded, I think chain-of-custody may be easier with a standalone security DVR rather than a PC-based one. PCs can load tools to manipulate raw video files and programmatically have their attributes (date of recording, for example) changed whereas standalone security DVRs cannot.

Check out this article for some additional thoughts on this topic.

Finally, given the circumstances you described in your original post, consider installing a second camera indoors covering the area immediately inside the door being covered by the exterior camera. Should an altercation begin outside but then move inside (for example, if you were pushed back inside or forced to retreat) this would give you better coverage of the entire altercation. Consider capturing audio as well as video inside and out to improve the quality of the evidence captured.

Just my $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:righton: Handy advice, thanks!
 

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If decide to go the route of using a computer and not a standalone DVR I would recommend something like http://vitamindinc.com over windows media center. I used vitamin D for a while and it is pretty cool. The free version supports only 1 camera and is limited to QVGA (320x240) resolution, but the basic edition for $50 does 2 cameras and supports SXGA (1280x1024) resolution. Higher resolution does require a better CPU and more disk space.

The best feature of vitamin is that it will record 24/7 and retain everything for 48hrs (can make longer) but you can quickly configure trigger rules that recognize humans only & coming from certain areas of the frame, in certain directions, certain times, ect... It will store those triggered events until you run out of disk space. The trigger can also send you an email with a still frame photo and have it upload the video clip to a remote FTP server. You can also go back and review the recordings based on filters and you can even edit filters to apply retroactively to the video recorded in the past 48 hrs if you need to search for something specific. This system is way easier then trying to sift through 48 hrs of raw video for significant events.

Biggest cons for vit d are that it does not record audio, there is no built in way to remotely watch your cameras live (though you can use remote desktop), and it will trigger a lot of false positives if you camera is recording pitch black (false positives are otherwise rare once you get your triggers right).

In any case there is probably some comparable software that would be relatively cheap and way better than WMC. I know Logitech has Logitech Alert Commander but I have no experience with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Limited funds. I'm trying for a maximum outlay of half that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Questions for Security Camera Install,

Updated.
I've decided to go with a box rather than a card (mostly on the consideration of it requiring less overall space and because it's going to make the person who wants the security system responsible for watching the vids and keeping up with it :twisted: ) So, today I brought home a Q-See QC444


Input is up to 4 cameras, but it will require a SATA HD to record to if you don't have an external solution. The spare HD's I have laying around are all old drives, so it looks like a few dollars more for a small, possibly 500GB drive. At least the instruction manual is well done; glossy paper and full color illustrations give me the feeling they care about the product and its users.

The enclosure is 12x9 but the interior is pretty much just a 6x4 card; it looks a bit lost in all that space :? Maybe the SATA drive will help fill it up, I'll find out tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Camera ($79)and DVR ($114) - Fry's Electronics
500GB HD - Best Buy

I still have to find the most annoying place to put it up though :)
Getting access to the DVR through the internet took about 30 mins to set up while watching tv.
 
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