Our CCTV system, which was never simple, has grown over the years. It’s made up of a pile of different components, it’s laid out like this;
Camera – DVR – HDMI/Composite Converter – Encoder – Modulator
Camera – Both Analog and IP Cameras feed into the Digital Video Recorder.
DVR – The DVR creates a multiplexed (that is all cameras visible on a single screen) which is then fed into the HDMI-Composite converter (this is my fault as the DVR I bought has only a HDMI output – buying a DVR with a composite output would have eliminated this step).
HDMI-Composite Coverter – This device simply takes the HDMI output from the DVR and converts it into a basic analog signal so it can be fed into the Encoder and then the Modulator (earlier versions of this arrangement saw the signal fed into an amplifier and then split to the Encoder and the Modulator separately).
Encoder – The encoder converts the analog signal into a digital one, which can then be viewed by our home automation system and portable electronic devices (smartphones etc).
Modulator – The composite analog signal is then fed into a modulator which converts it into a frequency recognized by CATV as a specific channel (this allows us to view the multiplexed feed on any TV in the house when we bring up a designated channel).
The encoder is an important part of the overall system. We originally had a Aviosys IP9100a performing this function, and while far from ideal it was economical and mostly reliable (towards the end of its service life I had it plugged into a Belkin Wemo module so I could remotely power cycle the device). The first unit lasted approximately 2 years, and its replacement another 3.
When the most recent unit died it was time to find a better solution (also it appears the Axiosys 9100a is no longer available). As with other components we have phased in to our system I would prefer commercial grade hardware where possible – my concern was that a new device might not integrate into the various system we have in place.
More updates as we try out the new hardware.