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What is a DVR Video Capture Card

A Video Capture Card is a PCB that fits inside a PC to allow it to take analogue video signals and convert them into a digital signal for viewing on a PC. These can sometimes include TV and Radio tuners too. Most often the term Video Capture Card infers a single channel video input with TV or Radio too.

The abreviation DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. Typically a DVR card has a minimum of 4 analogue video inputs and may have as many as 16 on one card.

DVR cards are usually used for Security and other such applications where you need multiple video signals to be recorded e.g. in a security CCTV system. The software for DVR cards ranges in complexity but usually even the most basic DVR card software includes recording to hard disk, Movement Detection and alarms.

Some of the more complex software has many advanced features including remote access over the Internet and by mobile phone, highly sophisticated search operations for the easy location and retrieval of recorded images and events and linking to third party applications and devices to form a complete CCTV management system. Usually you can fit multiple cards in a PC to get the number of cameras you need.

There are two main types of DVR card, Software Compression and Hardware Compression models.

Software Compression: -

This type of card comprises all the Digital to Analogue (D to A) converters and other necessary electronics on the card itself and all the video compression is done via the PC within the software before being displayed on the PC screen. With this type of card you can usually select the compression method e.g. MPEG4 - H.264 etc.

Hardware Compression: -

This type of card has all the electronics that the software compression models does, but it also has all the electronics on board to do the video compression and processing too. This type of card puts much less strain on the PC resources as the card is doing more work. Consequently these cards are more expensive than the software compression models. Hardware compression cards usually have to be slelected according to the type of compression required at the time of purchase too.

DVR cards are usually available in 8, 9, 10 or 11 bit video resolution and with varying live view and recording resolutions too. The "chipset" used in DVR cards play an important part in selection too. If you are going to use a card with Windows and with the software supplied with the card then its not so important, but if you want to use the card with Linux or third party software not supplied with the card then you need to check that the chipset used on the card is compatible with the operating system and software to be used.

Some software needs the machine to be dedicated to running a DVR system and some will also let you use the PC for other operations at the same time. Most DVR cards need at least a separate partition on the hard drive and ideally a separate hard drive altogether which can be used purely for storing the recorded video. This ensures that none of the OS is overwritten and allows faster operation with a second drive for storage as the operating system can be working away and sending all the recorded video to another drive without it affecting its own drive.

Now you can get DVR cards in PCI and PCI-E (pci express = much smaller slot) versions aswell to fit the ultra slim new PC models now on the market.

Camsecure stock a whole range of DVR cards woth a wide range of software to match. Each card comes with its own specific program and screenshots can be seen on each card page. If you need cards for Linux and Zoneminder compatible cards they are listed too......and please contact us if you need any more information about our great range of DVR cards.

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