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A Linux user’s journey through the NVR jungle. A testimonial.

I made it! Not only did I make it, albeit a little beaten, bruised and broke, but I came out smelling like a rose. This journey started one early spring day when I was retrieving my garbage receptacle from the street. I live in a rural area, so the area from where I have to tote the bin is out of sight from the house. I had traversed the entire driveway and was getting close to where I keep the bin, which is right next to the house, when I spotted something small and white sitting in the grass inches away from the house. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was an off-brand menthol cigarette butt. You could tell it hadn’t been blown there because there was an inch of ashes on it that still hadn’t fallen off. There are no smokers living in my house. Chills went down my spine when I realized how close a stranger had been lurking to my house. Not even an hour passed before I began searching for cameras and an NVR system.

The first camera I bought on impulse was a pricey critter from a popular brand. It was made primarily to work with a cell phone. I don’t get a signal where I live so I don’t keep my cell phone activated. I could still use it over the network but the whole routine was clunky. I wanted a system I could just pop up on my Linux box but I hadn’t found NVR software that was stable and worked well with the camera I had bought.

So next I bought a hardware-based NVR and 4 POE cameras from an older brand name company. As it turned out, even though the same company made the cameras and the NVR, the cameras were not compatible with the NVR and the POE part did not work. I was livid and began searching again. It was then I found and began to tinker with Xeoma. In the meantime, I ended up buying POE splitters. They did power up the cameras but the extra bulk made them hard to install. I had to make a junction box for each camera to house all the connections. Once I got everything installed, I fired up the NVR to check things out.

Suprise, surprise. Even though everything I bought claimed to work with Linux based browsers, none of the plug-ins supplied by the hardware worked. I still needed Windows to run ActiveX. Honestly, I have a dual boot system so all I had to do was reboot into Windows but believe it or not, it was still clunky. Despite being a 5MP 8 channel “Pro” system, it wasn’t nearly as feature-rich and user-friendly as Xeoma that I had installed on my Linux box.

Long story short? I could go on and on about how every feature and function of Xeoma is better than anything else I’ve tried. It’s easily hands down better than any hardware or software based NVR I’ve tried, and I tried all that I could find and afford. Xeoma recognized cameras that were not even compatible with even the same brand NVR. The “Pro” NVR’s motion detectors go off in the rain when set to the most insensitive level. Xeoma lets me set minimum and maximum size to detect, along with time parameters for the movement. The hardware-based NVR has one annoying alarm. With Xeoma I can use custom wav files to let me know if there’s a “Red Alert” or “Proximity Alert”, courtesy of a popular sci-fi show. You can use custom sounds for each camera so you know where motion has been detected by the alarm you hear. With the hardware-based NVR, you get what you get. You can turn things on or off. With Xeoma, you can build your own chain from modules. You can install and adjust the features you want. And let me say, the features in Xeoma are rich and numerous.

Outside of the outstanding software, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered support that is so prompt and responsive. No question of mine has gone unanswered. When I was trying to get the name brand NVR hardware to simply work, I don’t think any question I asked was ever answered in a satisfactory manner. Most of the answers from the big company came from a script and you could tell the support staff was just hired off the street or worked at a call center and made their money from the calls and not the product.

Trust me. If you want a great NVR regardless of your operating system, just do yourself a favor and start with Xeoma. I spent hundreds of dollars and weeks of time learning what worked well and what didn’t. In the end, all I needed for my system was a dedicated box, a POE switch, ONVIF cameras, and Xeoma!

March, 19 2019

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