Here we’re looking at two products from the Far Eastern manufacturer Aver, a recorder and a camera.
The E5016H Recorder
The E5016H is a 16 channel hybrid video recorder with capability of up to 16 cameras of either analogue or IP format. Most of the connections are made at the rear of the product. These include two 16-way connectors for analogue cameras (loop-through), a 16-way audio connector, two network connections, VGA and HDMI monitor outputs, eSATA, RS485, alarm inputs/outputs, microphone in/out, a single USB port and an IEC socket for mains power. Connectivity to the front of the unit is limited to two USB sockets for mouse and archiving use plus there are LED indicators for power and recording status. The remainder of the front is taken up by four lockable HDD caddies.
The E5016H is supplied without any hard drives installed (a seemingly increasing trend these days) so these have to be specified at the time of ordering and installed as part of the configuration process. Up to four SATA HDDs can be supported internally and the eSATA socket at the rear provides for additional external storage. Installation is simplicity itself, open a caddy door, slide in the HDD, close and lock it.
Once the HDDs have been installed (in our case, two 1TB) and a monitor and mouse are connected, the recorder may be powered and configuration can begin. There is no installation wizard with Aver machine so the start-up process (which took around a minute) brings you directly to the login prompt. Upon entering the default username and password, you are presented with the live viewing screen (‘Preview’ on Aver products).
The Aver GUI is simple to navigate and provides three basic tabs: Setup, Preview and Playback. Under the ‘Setup’ tab, a windows tree appears on the left of the screen allowing access to all configuration elements, (system, cameras, alarms, maps, etc.) of the recorder. Under system settings, there are sub-menus for system configuration (language, time, date, firmware etc) network settings and storage. Having adjusted the time, date and network settings, next stop is to configure the HDDs within the storage configuration menu.
According to the reasonably detailed manual provided on CD, the unit recorder supports RAID 0 and RAID 1. However, we found that our unit also gave options for RAID 5 and the configuration menu varied slightly from that described, suggesting the hardware to be a later version than the manual referred to. Nevertheless, creating and formatting the storage array is a straightforward process.
With the unit basically configured and connected to our network switch, we were able to add some cameras to the system. Our testing took place with one of Aver’s own cameras and a third party ONVIF compliant product.
Both cameras were initially configured using their independent web browsers to set them to the correct network range and then ‘discovered’ on the network via the Aver recorder. This is carried out within the Camera Management menu under the Setup Tab. This provides a camera list (where each camera channel of the recorder may be selected for IP or analogue), a camera information window, search window and image preview window.
On operating the search button within the search window, both cameras appeared as available in the search listing. Highlighting a camera then enabled the camera information window, where camera name, manufacturer, model number, protocol type, and recorder channel information may be entered. Manufacturer/model/protocol information is filled automatically for the Aver product.
Expanding the Camera Management menu provides a list of cameras attached to the recorder and selecting a camera opens the configuration page for that device. In terms of the Aver camera product, this provides similar same configuration ability as the camera’s own web-browser. With the third party product however, configuration is naturally more limited and relates to recorder settings (resolution, frame rate etc.) rather than settings within the camera itself.
Each camera has its own recording schedule; allowing continuous, event (currently only motion), smart (continuous + event) or no recording to be selected as required. Whilst settings can be copied to any/all cameras from any one configuration page, no overall summary of recording schedule can be seen.
The live viewing or ‘Preview’ tab provides several multiscreen options, a snapshot facility and is easy to use. Recorded images are accessed via the ‘Playback’ tab and once again this is reasonably easy to use. Search options include time/date or by event (alarm input, motion or video loss). Video clips may be bookmarked for ease of playback later or backed up to external media via the USB port for playback on a standard pc. This process automatically includes Aver’s Qplayer software providing this option has been selected during setup. The player software looks and feels similar to use as the Playback mode on the recorder itself.
The FV2028-TM camera
The FV2028-TM is a true day/night vandal resistant IP mini-dome camera with built-in IR capability. It offers a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and is fitted with a 3-9mm vari-focal lens providing 121°-38° horizontal viewing angle. Connections are via a short flying lead and include an RJ45 network socket, BNC socket for analogue service monitor, 12VDC socket, a single alarm input/output and audio input/output. Internally, there is a micro-SD memory card socket for edge recording (supporting up to 64GB). The camera is ONVIF profile S compliant.
The camera comes with a silica gel bag cable-tied inside the camera and therefore we presume intended as a permanent feature. This seems a little crude and could possibly impede movement of the gimbal assembly when adjusting the camera view.
There are two manuals provided (installation and user) on CD together with Aver’s IP Camera Utility software application. The camera may be powered via a 12VDC supply or PoE (class 4).
For testing we used a PoE network switch and quickly discovered the camera via the IP Camera Utility from a networked PC. The camera network settings may be changed via the utility software if required. The camera web page may also be accessed from the utility or directly from your native internet browser using the cameras IP address.
Once logged in, the browser provides live viewing or camera configuration windows and is fairly comprehensive but easy to navigate. The camera supports H.264, MPEG4 and MJPEG compression at various resolutions and frame rates up to 30fps.
A smart streaming feature is provided enabling up to five regions of interest to be defined that can be streamed at a different resolution from the overall image. Both motion detection and privacy masking (three definable zones for each) are also supported.
General camera performance in both colour and monochrome was good. However, we did notice a level of reflection off the dome with the IR LEDs operating which significantly impacted the night time images. The IR LEDs are stated as 30m and certainly provided adequate lighting for images at zero lighting levels during testing although distances did not exceed 15m.
Both Aver products are of good build quality, easy to install and provide a reasonable level of overall performance. The software applications are fairly straightforward to use although they would benefit from an online help menu. The NVR appeared to readily accept ONVIF compliant third party product albeit configuration options are limited. The products are not particularly feature rich and provide no form of video analytics other than basic motion detection. Nevertheless these products constitute a perfectly usable imaging and recording platform suitable for many CCTV applications.
9 out of 10