Help: searching a video server that meets my requirements

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by heikens, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. heikens

    heikens Guest


    I hope this is the right newsgroup to post this message, but I am
    looking for a (lowcost) video server device that has 1 or more s-video
    inputs and streams the video over IP. It is also very important that
    it streams according to standard protocols so that I can watch it
    using e.g. VLC or Quicktime.

    Reason for needing this; I'm a software engineer and currently writing
    a security surveillance application that must be able to show multiple
    video streams simultaniously. A requirement is that I can only use
    analog camera's with s-video output.

    Kind regards,

    heikens, Jan 9, 2008
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  2. heikens

    Paul Guest

    It shouldn't be hard to find something. When it comes to
    surveillance and CCTVs, the search engines are awash in

    Paul, Jan 9, 2008
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  3. heikens

    V Green Guest

    They make multiple input capture devices, and
    used to have some programming examples.

    Not sure what they have now.
    V Green, Jan 10, 2008
  4. heikens

    heikens Guest

    Paul, Green,

    Thanks for your reply. Searched a bit further on the internet on the
    things you mentioned.

    A problem that I found during my search is that there are a lot of
    video server/capture devices out there, but most of them provide their
    video stream via a webpage generate by the server. Viewing the video
    via VLC or quicktime is not possible. You can only find this out by
    reading the user manuals.

    Found another video server from AXIS though. After consulting with the
    sales deparment, it seems that the video stream can be viewed using

    heikens, Jan 20, 2008
  5. heikens

    Paul Guest

    Did you check the price ? Anything that mounts in a rack, is
    bound to have a high price. (Because business users have
    infinite bank balances, apparently.)

    If this is for personal use, and not a corporate/business
    application, you can probably build your own server device
    (use Linux as the OS), and make your own server. That way,
    it'll stream in whatever format there are open source drivers
    and software for. That could end up being cheaper than a
    ready-to-go rackmount solution. It all depends on cost
    versus time tradeoff.

    I'd probably pick up some cheap BT878 based cards, with
    composite input connectors, and put something together
    that way. The BT878 has drivers around for it.

    For basic composite capture, Ebay (Hong Kong sources) has
    capture cards. What you see here, is five chips. Four *could*
    be BT878 chips (640x480x30FPS per chip). The fifth chip
    is a PCI to PCI bridge chip, so there aren't four loads and
    bus stubs from the BT878 on the computer main PCI bus.

    Those cards also appear as "16 input 4 chip" versions, but
    they don't capture well from all 16 inputs at the same time.
    They "time sample", moving from camera to camera. That
    is why, the above PCI board with only four connectors, is
    closer to a "real time on all channels" type device.

    The above card will saturate a PCI bus, with its 133MB/sec
    bus transfer limitation. That is because the cheap capture
    cards don't use compression. Which means, you cannot buy a
    motherboard with five PCI slots, and have 20 camera capture
    capability in the same computer. If you want a better
    density solution, then the capture card would need to
    use compression first, to reduce bus traffic. That
    drives up the capture card cost substantially (as the
    above card should be well under $100). It also complicates
    the driver issue, if you wanted to use Linux.

    In any case, if you were building a Linux box, you'd
    want a hardware card that has Linux drivers available.

    There are USB composite capture devices. Which would be
    another way to get capture into the box. If uncompressed,
    there would still be bandwidth limitations (60MB/sec
    per USB2 root, shared over all motherboard ports). The
    USB capture devices I'm aware of, use some form of compression.

    Adding USB cards to the computer, increases potential USB
    bandwidth, but some OSes have limits as to how many
    USB chips they'll support (so check that first). This
    is an example of a PCI Express based USB2 card, which
    would allow a PCI Express motherboard to be used.

    SYBA PCI-Express USB 2.0 5 Ports Controller Card Model SD-PEX-NEC5U - $30

    (Note - 60MB/sec per card limit. Four ports at 15MB/sec each max.
    Should not be a problem for a compressing video capture device.
    PCI Express is not the limitation here. The limitation is the USB2 chip.
    But because PCI Express slots are independent, you can use more than
    one card, without old-style PCI bus saturation.)

    The USB capture device you used, would also need a Linux driver.
    Since I'm lazy, this isn't the best one, merely the first device
    I could find. Device has hardware compression inside the box.
    This product would likely be discontinued, due to the analog
    TV tuner inside, so you may not be able to find this particular
    one soon. (I did find a list of other similar devices though.)


    Hauppauge WinTV USB 2 (em2820/em2840) [2040:4200]
    Notice in the list here, a large number of USB2 alternate designs.
    Video 4 Linux (V4L) driver of some sort.

    PCI Express is a great solution in terms of breaking
    the bus bottleneck. Trouble is, nobody seems to be
    latching onto the opportunities. You could place
    a lot more capture chips on one card, as each PCI
    Express slot offers independent bandwidth. Even a
    PCI Express x1 slot offers 250MB/sec, which would allow
    at least four cameras per slot without complaints. (And
    *close* to eight cameras could fit. I'm not sure of
    the percentage overhead on PCI Express, to work out an
    exact number.)

    But I don't see a "Hong Kong" card in the current Ebay
    lists, to do that. It should be dead simple for them to

    Conexant has a capture chip with a PCI Express interface
    on it. I think Hauppauge has a card based on that chip.
    But the Hauppauge card only captures one camera, so if you
    filled all available PCI Express slots, you would not be
    much further ahead in terms of server density.

    Just a few ideas,
    Paul, Jan 20, 2008
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