Security Station Viewing PC

My security team is currently using a PC running a 55" 4K TV for viewing our surveillance cameras on campus. They’ve requested to add two more monitors…another 55" 4K TV and a 20ish" monitor. Our NVR software people (Exacq) say that you can only run 16-20, 3MP cameras on an i7 6700 computer. We currently run 46 3MP cameras and plan to up that count by around 10-12 over the next 4-5 months.

The only way I know how to accomplish what they want is by either using a single PC per monitor or by putting in a server class workstation and seeing how well it would handle the 2, 4K displays and possibly the 1080p display.

I don’t really know how one person can keep track of so many cameras, but they’ve requested it so I’m trying to get them a price.

Any ideas?

On the systems I’ve used, that’s handled by multiple PCs that each drive a couple of monitors but it’s all controlled from a single desktop. Do you have that option in exaq?

Doesn’t seem like they do.

They suggested just to run it all off of one computer, but weren’t too keen to give specs of a computer that would do that. It was either that or use a KVM switch to switch the keyboard and mouse between different computers running the separate display.

We use a different product and have 6 32" TV’s running off of one computer. I don’t think our manufacturer recommends this however I said yes before I looked into it that far… We actually have quite a few cameras prob more then 40 running at once and it took a little bit of work to get everything working well but we ended up building a computer with the following specs:

Intel Core i7-6700 Quad Core 3.4
HyperX Fury 16GB Ram Kit
Two Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB GDDR5 6M (6x MiniDP) (with Crossfire)
MSI | Z170A SLI Motherboard
256GB Intel NVMe M.2 Hard Drive

Some of the items above I chose because there where combo deals from newegg. The two video cards may be overkill (it’s also hard to find high performance cards with over 4 outputs) but our software is able to take advantage of GPU resources for rendering and I didn’t want to keep having the issues I was experiencing so I bought two. This setup works well for us.

If I had 3 monitors I probably would have went with one of the video cards recommended by our Camera Management Software which was an NVIDIA Quadro K1200.

Hope this helps!

Actually something I forgot about as well is when we added the additional monitors we started experiencing choppy video which we thought at first was the video cards or cpu resources but in looking at those resources we didn’t see an issue. The network bandwidth was low as well but what we found out was that we had to modify some of the settings on the NIC on our client and server that were creating additional latency and make the tx and rx buffers much higher then they where by default. This actually made a huge difference for us.

Another option if you decide to use multiple computers is this application called synergy. I have never used it for an application like this but i have used it to go between computers with different OSes and it worked great!

I’ve used Synergy for multiple desktops and found it lacking in ease-of-use and reliablity. I seem to be in the minority on that thought though haha. In any case, since all my stations were Windows, I used their free product: Mouse Without Borders. Download Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders from Official Microsoft Download Center

We have two Dell workstations running 4 screens each, displaying 100 cameras on Bosch BVMS.

I only have a handful of cameras and our needs are pretty simple so the Unifi Video cameras are what I went with and so far they do everything we want. For our welcome desk I wanted a fixed matrix of cameras that would be pretty much one touch and go - no dependency on a computer.

The Ubiquity NVR will rebroadcast cameras as RTSP streams - which a lot of other video solutions will do as well.

If your video solution will let you view your cameras via RTSP then just grab a Raspberry Pi and use the script in this thread:

It’s a drop-dead simple way to turn a Raspberry Pi into a video matrix viewer. Somewhere in the middle of that thread someone created a really nice caluclator where you put in the resolution of your display and how many cameras you want and it divides the screen up and gives you the screen coordinates to use for each of the omxplayer lines that display each camera.

It may look a little daunting reading the first post, but if you step through it the process really isn’t that bad.

I’ve since used the same script to show just one camera from our sanctuary in the cry room, and I’m getting ready to deploy another one for the nursery workers to see the sanctuary also - it’s pretty versitile.

I have the Pi’s teamed up with old monitors - I just got some inexpensive HDMI (from the Pi) to DVI (on the monitor) cables - they work perfectly ( to the rescue once again). If you are using TVs for your camera displays then regular HDMI cables work fine.

You can’t beat the price! If you wanted to rotate between different matrixes you could extend the script to loop and sleep between alternate matrix screen views. Lots of possibilities. What I really like about the script is it will automatically re-connect streams that drop for whatever reason - it sometimes happens.

The Intel 6700K or 6800K should be more than enough CPU to run the software (you may even be able to use the new AMD Ryzen at a much lower price point). For the graphics card, a quick google search seems to point people towards the GTX 980Ti or the Titan X. Supposedly it can run 3 4k displays when not being used for gaming. You could always grab two with SLi as well.

We ended up getting a used Precision T5600 workstation with 2, Xeon 2660s in it for about $500. I was able to load 84, 3MP cameras on it and hit only 65% CPU. The graphics card we’re using is a Quadro K4000. The total computer cost was under $1k.