Best Home Security Cameras

NVR with external alarm I/O?

Looking to upgrade an old system. It is located at a remote cabin – the current system is 4 channel analog. The DVR has external alarm I/O connectors that I have connected to PIR sensors.

Ideally I’d like to upgrade to an 8 channel NVR (and new cameras, obviously). I have an Amcrest system at home but the built-in motion detection is as bad as the DVRs were 10 years ago – tons of false triggers due to bugs, shadows, etc.

Searched around but I can’t find many NVRs with external alarm I/O inputs! Looks like some more expensive Hikvision ones have it, and there are some Hikvision cameras with alarm I/O built directly into the camera (which should then work with any Hikvision NVR, it seems).

Any others out there, though? Bonus if it’s Amazon Prime.

Can’t believe there’s no decent options for this. I’d really like to not do a PC with Blue Iris, for a couple of reasons.

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2 Thoughts to “NVR with external alarm I/O?”

  1. automate_the_things

    It doesn’t have alarm inputs, but Ubiquiti UniFi cameras come with free NVR software that you can install and run on basically anything with a hard drive. Unlike Blue Iris, the UniFi cameras themselves do all the motion detection processing, encoding, etc, so the NVR just needs enough disk IO to handle the input streams and that’s it. It uses next to no CPU (but about 2GB of RAM due to running in a Java virtual machine. I have mine running on an Intel NUC quite happily, with 11 cameras.

    OK, now on to the UniFi software. The motion detection on it has been improved quite a lot lately, and you can set a few options, such as cutting the image into detection zones, each with its own sensitivity. You can set motion detection event duration thresholds, so stuff like a moth flying past won’t trigger it, since it’d be too short an event. You can set how many seconds before an event to store, up to 30, and after the event ends, up to 240.

    Between all of these, on my front porch cam, for instance, which is on a corner street, with lots of very close foot traffic, reflections off cars, headlight glare on the brick exterior walls in plain view of the camera, etc, I get (maybe) a false alert per day. Basically anything short of a person walking up on the porch is ignored. Delivery guy coming up to the porch rail and dropping a large box over the edge, ignored. Walking up onto the porch himself and setting it down, captured. Overall it’s pretty solid for catching people but not much else. Very light on NVR usage, consequently, since only motion events are set to record.

    Out of the box, UniFi Video motion detection is acceptable at best. Fully tweaked with multiple zones, sensitivities, event duration, etc, it’s quite solid now (half these features are relatively new, so older reviews might really slam the motion capabilities because they were definitely previously lacking). It takes maybe half an hour per camera to really dial in the settings (which you can do remotely, if you have internet access to the cabin).

    I do not recommend buying their pre-made NVR as it’s just an overpriced micro PC running their free software. Instead get an Intel NUC or similar, install Debian and install the NVR software, it’s really easy, and you get more bang for the hardware buck. Intel NUC and UniFi G3 bullet cams are both available on Amazon Prime.

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