Do you remember when you were clueless about cctv and started with BI?

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In my life I've played with computers did some troubleshooting, and added hardware to them. I've had many hobbies and learned a lot and did well at them. So I believe I can figure this new adventure out but reading these forums on BI is bogging my mind. I don't know the lingo for one thing, and normally I just load the software and off I go. Not so on BI. If you were like me. What was your experience? Did you catch on quickly after actually seeing the program and hands on? How long did it take to have BI set up pretty much how you want it? I want maybe 8 cams purchased over maybe 6 months, and watch it beside my TV on a smaller TV. I'll start with one camera. I may not hook BI to the internet if that's possible. Or do you wish you would've just bought an nvr? But I read those aren't a walk in the park either.
 

wittaj

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I got into cameras about 12 years ago or so and started the all-in-one box kits.

So I have experienced the DVR, NVR and Blue Iris route. Many on this site run an NVR and Blue Iris. Some run just Blue Iris and love it. Some run NVRs and love it. Comes down to personal preference.

I have had whatever the NVR operating system is running on go out. TWICE. Got to buy a whole new NVR - TWICE

I have had the ethernet port go out on an NVR. Got to buy a whole new NVR.

i had the HDMI port go out on an NVR. Got to buy a whole new NVR.

An NVR is simply a stripped down computer.

So in my BI Computer, at least if the SSD goes out, I can just replace it. If the ethernet card goes out, I can just replace it. If the HDMI port goes out, I can just replace it. etc. You can replace computer components much easier than NVR components. And all NVRs are not created equal and once you cost out one that is capable, a used business class computer and Blue Iris is cheaper...

One of my prior NVR systems needed internet access for its app to work. They can be hacked as well.

You can certainly isolate your Blue Iris from the internet. You should also isolate your cameras from the internet. But you will want to dual NIC or VLAN your system so that you can OpenVPN back into it when away from your house, but if you do not care about that, then yea download the software and pull the ethernet cord LOL.

Personally, I have found the interface and ability to quickly watch playback much easier with Blue Iris. It was such a hassle with the NVR that I would only look at in a reactive mode because something happened.

With Blue Iris, I can literally in a minute scour my recordings for any activity in the middle of the night. So I can be proactive and call my neighbor and be like hey someone door checked you last night.

It didn't take me long to figure out Blue Iris. They offer a 14-day trial and I knew within hours (or even minutes LOL) that this was what I was going to move to.

Most of us here tinker with it. So I tinker much more with Blue Iris than I ever did my NVRs. Mainly because it is so much easier. But you can certainly set it up and forget about it too. Just disable Windows updates and Blue Iris updates if you leave it connected to the internet.
 
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I hate to admit it, but I've been fooling with CCTV since the analog, CVI days back in the 80's when I worked in the academic AV industry. Concord was the brand I worked with. Later, it was GBC when I got into security systems and customers wanted video surveillance. In fact, I just stumbled on a brand new GBC, CVI, camera still in the box when I was cleaning the basement the other day. It dates back to, probably 1985, and the lens is still in the factory sealed bag.

Fast forward 25 years and I made the same newbie mistakes we all seem to make before getting onto the BI train with decent PoE camers.
 
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2 more things. I haven't read this anywhere I don't believe. If my home computer is plugged into the same router as my soon to be BI dedicated computer how is one compromised and not the other? And is there an audible alarm in BI I can hear in my home?
 

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wittaj

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It comes down the security and firewalls you have established on your system. Cameras are notorious for having security breaches and never updated to fix (ironic isn't it) and the same for NVRs, which is why we say to isolate the cameras so that they cannot phone home. You either dual NIC the Blue Iris machine or VLAN it.

And yes you can hook a speaker to the computer (or use the internal if it has it) and have it play whatever alarm you want for whatever you want to be notified about...
 

samplenhold

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I started down this road in 2018. Bought some cheep cloud cams and had problems with them. Found this site while looking for answers to those problems and after about 2 days loaded the free trial of BI and then bought it the next day. Realize I was still using those cloud cams (LaView) in BI but then I read the Cliff Notes and checked out the WIKI (helped with terminology), looked at lots of threads here and ended up buying Dahua cams from @EMPIRETECANDY, like may others here.

BI was a little hard at first. But there are many videos that show you how to begin set up and other advanced options. Also, the help here is fantastic.

I have the same router as you. I do not have my BI computer DIRECTLY plugged into the router. But rather have it plugged into a switch that is plugged into the router. See diagram for dual NIC and photo below. The dual NIC option keeps the cams isolated from the internet.

Network Topology 4.JPG

DSC_4930.JPG
So in the photo above, you can see the router bottom left. Switch 3 (SW3) on the top of the rack is connected to the ISP supplied modem/router via the green cable. So anything connected to that switch is capable of connecting to the internet.

Switches 1 and 2 (SW1 and SW2) are POE switches that have cams connected to them along with the two NIC's, one in the BI PC and one in my office PC. This allows me to directly access any cam from either the BI PC or my office PC.

It is smart to start with one good varifocal cam. That is what I did. It will help you to learn more about IP cams, what they can and cannot accomplish, and help you define your system and make your plan. My plan has evolved over the years and is nothing like my first plan. I now have 23 installed cams and three others waiting for install. While it was started for security purposes, it has become a hobby (obsession?) for me.

If you need help on the terminology, just ask.
 
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I started down this road in 2018. Bought some cheep cloud cams and had problems with them. Found this site while looking for answers to those problems and after about 2 days loaded the free trial of BI and then bought it the next day. Realize I was still using those cloud cams (LaView) in BI but then I read the Cliff Notes and checked out the WIKI (helped with terminology), looked at lots of threads here and ended up buying Dahua cams from @EMPIRETECANDY, like may others here.

BI was a little hard at first. But there are many videos that show you how to begin set up and other advanced options. Also, the help here is fantastic.

I have the same router as you. I do not have my BI computer DIRECTLY plugged into the router. But rather have it plugged into a switch that is plugged into the router. See diagram for dual NIC and photo below. The dual NIC option keeps the cams isolated from the internet.

View attachment 83216

View attachment 83217
So in the photo above, you can see the router bottom left. Switch 3 (SW3) on the top of the rack is connected to the ISP supplied modem/router via the green cable. So anything connected to that switch is capable of connecting to the internet.

Switches 1 and 2 (SW1 and SW2) are POE switches that have cams connected to them along with the two NIC's, one in the BI PC and one in my office PC. This allows me to directly access any cam from either the BI PC or my office PC.

It is smart to start with one good varifocal cam. That is what I did. It will help you to learn more about IP cams, what they can and cannot accomplish, and help you define your system and make your plan. My plan has evolved over the years and is nothing like my first plan. I now have 23 installed cams and three others waiting for install. While it was started for security purposes, it has become a hobby (obsession?) for me.

If you need help on the terminology, just ask.
Thanks for the pics! I tend to go overboard on hobbies also. I got into RC airplanes and ended up with $2000 in the plane alone, and that's cheap to some of my buddies planes. I went through a crashing spell and that was it for that hobby. The 2k plane found a new home, but others to the landfill. Thanks everyone for your replies.
 

IAmATeaf

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I did a lot of reading here and probably asked a load of question.

With BI I took a leap of faith on the basis that it was a standard Windows PC. Reason for this is I’ve had issues with my NAS and other network drives where I was frustrated by not being able to logon to the base OS and fix the issues. So for me an NVR was a no go and BI seemed the obvious choice.
 
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Got into cameras right about the time the 5231's were being dethroned. Ultimately, I wanted to build a system I could control without the need for subscriptions. The most experience I had prior this challenge was building a computer. All roads kept pointing back to ipcamtalk.

Spent a considerable amount of time reading and learning while waiting for that 4mb varifocal to finally break loose. This worked out, considering I am 'that guy' who has to read the manual first. Networking proved to be my nemesis on this journey (curse you Cisco). Lots of good info out there for setting up BI. Outside of that aha! moment on the scheduling, everything was pretty straightforward. I really like BI - complicated at first glance, until you realize just how much flexibility it provides.

I suppose the most difficult task is dialing in the camera settings. I don't think I'll ever feel like I have them at peak, and that's ok. I take comfort in looney's comments about factory settings being hot garbage.

The amount of user knowledge on this site is absolutely astounding. Props to all those who contribute to this addiction - I would not have been able to piece my system together without all of your insight.
 

wittaj

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I suppose the most difficult task is dialing in the camera settings. I don't think I'll ever feel like I have them at peak, and that's ok. I take comfort in looney's comments about factory settings being hot garbage.

The amount of user knowledge on this site is absolutely astounding. Props to all those who contribute to this addiction - I would not have been able to piece my system together without all of your insight.
And that difficult task of dialing in camera settings is there if you go the NVR route too. Well should be, but let's face it, outside of this forum, how many people do you know with NVRs that just plugged the cameras in and called it good! Too many people run cameras on auto settings - "hey I bought this kit at Costco and ran the wire and screwed the camera into the vinyl siding and plugged it in and I am in business." My neighbor was absolutely shocked when I showed him how he could get into the camera GUI of his Lorex cams and adjust settings to improve the quality of the night image (within reason of course LOL).

Yep - I would put the collective knowledge of members of this group ahead of just about any professional installer that you may find in your area. No disrespect to the professional installers that do it well, but many of my neighbors that paid professionals to have stuff installed and the crap they got is horrible. Or we get the occasional person come here posting a quote they got to have something professionally installed and the overpriced under-performing cameras that were proposed:banghead:
 
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Edcfish

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I would say I am still in the learning phase and I have been using BI for about 3 years. I setup an 18 camera system for a business and run a 7 camera system at home, both Blue Iris. I am also involved in a 30+ camera system at a business that is not BI.

Simply put, for the cost of the PC hardware and software, BI is a no brainer for most situations.
It works with a large number of cameras, is amazingly customizable, has a great support community (this site is amazing!), has a responsive (not instant, but still good) developer, and the feature set is huge.
The non-BI system i am familiar with is really 2 16 port NVRs, and now they want 8-12 more cameras and are contemplating buying a 3rd NVR. doh! I gave my input. :)
The UI of the system compared to BI's UI is terrible. People sometimes complain about parts of BI's UI, in my opinion those people have never really used a truly horrible baked in to the device UI.
 

Smitty Blackstone

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Been only dabbling with BI for a few years, never able to devote the time to do more than scratch the surface. But I keep three properties under surveillance pretty well. Without this forum to ask questions, I'd be lost.
 

Broachoski

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I started using BI a couple years ago and it was mind boggling. The forums here were a godsend. I am happy to say now that my system with about 20 cameras is running flawless and requires no attention for maintenance. At this time I see no need to chase updates as the system does what I want it to do. I value the software MUCH more than measly $57.99 that it is being sold for.
 
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I started down this road in 2018. Bought some cheep cloud cams and had problems with them. Found this site while looking for answers to those problems and after about 2 days loaded the free trial of BI and then bought it the next day. Realize I was still using those cloud cams (LaView) in BI but then I read the Cliff Notes and checked out the WIKI (helped with terminology), looked at lots of threads here and ended up buying Dahua cams from @EMPIRETECANDY, like may others here.

BI was a little hard at first. But there are many videos that show you how to begin set up and other advanced options. Also, the help here is fantastic.

I have the same router as you. I do not have my BI computer DIRECTLY plugged into the router. But rather have it plugged into a switch that is plugged into the router. See diagram for dual NIC and photo below. The dual NIC option keeps the cams isolated from the internet.

View attachment 83216

View attachment 83217
So in the photo above, you can see the router bottom left. Switch 3 (SW3) on the top of the rack is connected to the ISP supplied modem/router via the green cable. So anything connected to that switch is capable of connecting to the internet.

Switches 1 and 2 (SW1 and SW2) are POE switches that have cams connected to them along with the two NIC's, one in the BI PC and one in my office PC. This allows me to directly access any cam from either the BI PC or my office PC.

It is smart to start with one good varifocal cam. That is what I did. It will help you to learn more about IP cams, what they can and cannot accomplish, and help you define your system and make your plan. My plan has evolved over the years and is nothing like my first plan. I now have 23 installed cams and three others waiting for install. While it was started for security purposes, it has become a hobby (obsession?) for me.

If you need help on the terminology, just ask.
I purchased a pc off Ebay yesterday and now it's time for more hardware. I just want to hear what I think I know. I don't have an endless budget. The switch from the modem/router and the switch after the pc both need to be managed switches. Right? Or does the switch from the modem have its own address is what I call it? I've been reading and just wanted to be sure. Which variable focus camera did you start with? I love opinions also.
 

wittaj

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Order another network card so that you have two - and then you have a Dual NIC system which will keep your cameras off the internet.

Then go into the one NIC and assign it an address that is different than your home LAN IP address range. This will then be the IP address range as you will assign your cameras.

Then go into each camera and manually assign it an IP address in the range you just designated for the cameras.

You do not need a managed switch this way - either a POE switch or POE injector is all you need.

Most here will start with the 5442 series varifocal.
 
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Order another network card so that you have two - and then you have a Dual NIC system which will keep your cameras off the internet.

Then go into the one NIC and assign it an address that is different than your home LAN IP address range. This will then be the IP address range as you will assign your cameras.

Then go into each camera and manually assign it an IP address in the range you just designated for the cameras.

You do not need a managed switch this way - either a POE switch or POE injector is all you need.

Most here will start with the 5442 series varifocal.
I got it now. I was thinking the assigning was to be done in the switch. I probably read that somewhere and you just said it a little differently.
 

wittaj

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Having a managed switch is a way to do it if you go with VLANs and that route, but most find the Dual NIC to be the easiest and fastest way to deploy camera isolation.
 

samplenhold

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As @wittaj stated, you don't need a managed switch if you go the two NIC route as shown in my diagram in post #6. Managed switches are more expensive than the non-managed ones. Some motherboards come with two NICs. If yours doesn't, then you can buy a PCI-E one. For the one in my BI PC I got an Intel EXPI9301CTBLK which back in 2018 was $30. My office PC has a dual NIC motherboard.

The cam I started with in August of 2018 was the Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, which was the go to cam for low light in the prosumer line at the time. It is a turret 2MP on a 1/2.8" sensor with a 2.7-13.5mm varifocal lens. It is a good cam, but technology has surpassed it now. As stated above, the 5442 series is the go to cam in the Dahua prosumer line. The T5442T-ZE is a turret 4MP on a 1/1.8" sensor with a 2.7-12mm varifocal lens. So the lens does not go quite as far as the old 5231 ZE, but in most residential settings folks don't push them out that far. The difference in color night video is much better. It does run about $30 more than what I paid for the 5231 ZE in 2018, but it is a better cam and it is over two years ago.
 

opus too

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These were indispensable for me. I do much better watching than reading when trying to learn something new. They are for an older version but still relevant.
 
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