LenovoEMC PX2-300D Network Video Recorder with Milestone Arcus VMSby Ganesh T S on July 26, 2013 7:00 AM EST
The PX2-300D NVR edition 'boots; directly into the Milestone Arcus VMS interface (i.e, accessing the IP of the NAS using a browser leads to the Arcus login page and not the NAS management UI). The setup process is trivial. Upon login (all user credentials set up in the main NAS management UI are retained for the Arcus VMS too), we are presented with a pretty barebones page with a certain number above the Settings menu on the top right. This number indicates the number of cameras auto-detected by the VMS that haven't been set up yet. Configuration involves entering the user credentials for the camera. The IP camera may support multiple codecs / resolutions and frame rates. In such a case, the Arcus VMS chooses some default values which can be altered, if necessary. Recording mode can be set to continuous, never and only when motion is detected. The number of days to retain the captured footage is also available as a configurable option. Motion detection can also be configured with finer granularity. It is also possible to set up IP cameras manually (though my efforts to get a Compro IP70 recognized didn't bear fruit).
After setup, the video streams from the IP cameras show up in the Arcus home page. Selecting a stream leads to an expanded view of the video. A menu at the bottom of the video allows us to go back and view archived footage from a timeline. It is also possible to export the archived video between any two timestamps. The exported file is in the MKV format.
Compare these with the UI from the Synology Surveillance Station below. In addition to recognizing the two Axis cameras, the add-on also had in-built support for the Compro IP70. The LiveView matrix in the browser interface as well as the controls / configuration options are better in Surveillance Station. An example of a useful configuration option available in Surveillance Station, but not in Arcus, is the ability to have fine-grained control over the recording schedule (say, a simple schedule to record only on Fridays between 11 AM and 4 PM).
The Arcus UI also doesn't allow users to view archived footage from multiple streams simultaneously in a synchronized manner. This is possible in Synology's Surveillance Station. However, a big drawback of the Surveillance Station is that the browser UI is heavily based on Java. I also found that Surveillance Station would drop cameras more often than Arcus. I let the NVRs operate for close to 30 days continuously and Arcus dropped the cameras only a couple of times (both times, I suspect, were due to the DHCP lease of the IP camera expiring. This could have been easily avoided by setting up the IP cameras with static IPs).
On the whole, setting up the PX2-300D NVR was a breeze. The browser UI is a bit bare and the VMS currently on the PX2-300D could do with some feature updates. However, the robustness of the system for straightforward configurations will definitely need to be appreciated. The firmware does have some memory effect in terms of not allowing re-addition of the IP of a recently deleted camera, but it was nothing that a reboot couldn't fix. In any case, I don't expect the average consumer to go about randomly deleting and manually adding cameras like I did during the review process. Let us now move on to the mobile scheme of things.