AVerMedia AVerDiGi EB1704HB WiFi-4 – Wi-FiPlanet.com

By Lisa Phifer

February 27, 2009

This new Wi-Fi-enabled NVR simplifies residential video surveillance.

Related Articles

AVerDiGi EB1704HB WiFi-4

Price: $1,599 (CMOS) or $2,599 (CCD)
Pros:   Super-simple {hardware} set up; plug-and-play set-up; Web and cell video viewers
Cons: No Pan-Tilt-Zoom over Wi-Fi; non-reconfigurable WLAN; movement recording issues

avermedia nvr

When we noticed the AVerDiGi EB1704HB WiFi-4 at CES 2009 ShowStoppers, we had been intrigued. At first look, this plug-and-play Network Video Recorder (NVR) with 4 Wi-Fi cameras gave the impression to be splendid for no-frills-no-fuss video surveillance in houses, “mother and pop” outlets, and small places of work. But once we took the EB1704HB WiFi-4 house for a check drive, we encountered a couple of surprises that prevented this revolutionary bundle from realizing its full potential

Snag-free set up

Getting the EB1704HB WiFi-4 up and operating couldn’t be a lot simpler. Just unpack the NVR and plug it right into a VGA monitor or TV. Position the 4 prepared-to-roll Wi-Fi cameras wherever surveillance is desired, plugging every into an AC wall socket, and Voila! Instant reside video feed, displayed on a quad-cut up preview display screen. Yes, fundamental set up actually is this easy.

But don’t declare victory simply but. Recording video requires you to put in a SATA disk. We had been stunned {that a} flip-key bundle didn’t embrace storage, however including your individual drive does allow you to steadiness house vs. recording high quality and price (see calculator). Just insert a suitable HDD into the simply-accessible bay on the NVR’s entrance panel. Recommended disks vary from 250 to 750 GB; the $50 40 GB Seagate we used labored superb and took days to fill at “excessive” high quality.

You don’t must run Ethernet cables to the included Wi-Fi cameras (though you possibly can if you want). You don’t have to purchase or join analog video cameras (though 4 analog ports allow you to achieve this). You are, nonetheless, restricted to not more than 4 (4) Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and/or analog cameras. And, on the subject of Wi-Fi cameras, we found that you will need to use these equipped with the NVR.

What you see is what you get

Bundled Wi-Fi differentiates this plug-and-play NVR from different AVerDiGi surveillance methods. Larger companies can mix sibling NVRs just like the EB1704HB DVD with a prolonged checklist of supported (non-Wi-Fi) cameras. But the entry-stage EB1704HB Wi-Fi4 is paired your alternative of two manufacturing unit-configured Wi-Fi digital camera fashions: CCD or CMOS.

CCD cameras use cost coupled gadgets to seize and convert gentle into photos, whereas CMOS cameras use inexpensive (and fewer delicate) complementary steel oxide semiconductors. CCD cameras normally render greater-high quality photos underneath diverse lighting circumstances, whereas CMOS cameras are extra compact and energy-environment friendly.

The CCD cameras equipped with the complete-blown EB1704HB WiFi-4 ($2,599) seem like greater and higher than the CMOS cameras included with our EB1704HB WiFi-4 “Lite” bundle ($1,599). In explicit, the CCD bundle helps Day/Night Mode and Infrared Filtering—options that may be important for after-hours surveillance. Unfortunately, the SerCom RC8020 cameras in our CMOS bundle (see proper) lacked brightness or distinction controls. In afternoon or night indoor gentle, they generated grainy photos containing digital noise that seems to have triggered movement-based mostly recording. RC8020_sm.jpg

Both equipped digital camera fashions transmit twin MPEG4 and M-JPEG streams at charges as much as 30 frames-per-second, with very respectable 640 x 480 max decision. However, each digital camera fashions are fastened-focus. The EB1704HB NVR can ship pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) instructions, however solely to IP or analog cameras truly that hearken to PTZ protocols and use them to regulate place or focus. Since the NVR’s built-in 802.11g AP connects solely to the manufacturing unit-configured Wi-Fi cameras, we discovered that there was no means to make use of pan-tilt-zoom throughout wi-fi surveillance.

Lack of wi-fi PTZ made the EB1704HB WiFi-4 much less helpful than we’d anticipated. According to AVerMedia, good PTZ Wi-Fi cameras are nonetheless too costly for the common house owner. Agreed – however we consider that some would pay $200 apiece for PTZ-succesful cameras, simply as some pays for extra gentle-delicate CCD cameras. Pre-configured Wi-Fi cameras are a giant a part of this bundle’s allure, however an improve path would make the EB1704HB WiFi-4 a greater funding.

Getting on-line

EB1704HB WiFi-4 configuration could be completed by pushing buttons on the NVR’s entrance panel or utilizing the included distant to work together with the on-display screen show menu (see under). After preliminary set-up, the NVR may also be reconfigured by Internet Explorer.


First-time set-up duties embrace formatting the disk, setting passwords, enabling video and/or audio recording for every digital camera, and establishing an hourly recording schedule. Default settings are adequate to get rolling—reaching this level took us lower than half-hour, together with digital camera placement. However, you will need to allow community entry and decide the NVR’s IP handle earlier than you possibly can preview, retailer, or play again video from afar.

These and lots of different configurable parameters are described in a 66-web page illustrated guide on the included CD. Given this product’s entry-stage market, a naked minimal Getting-Started worksheet can be a pleasant addition. For instance, the CD consists of 5 applications however no steering as to which have to be put in or why. By trial and error, we discovered there was actually no want to put in something from CD—most customers can proceed on to the WebViewer.

Going distant

After preliminary set-up, we powered off our NVR’s monitor and relied upon the WebViewer (under). Like most community media servers, the EB1704HB WiFi-4 gives internet-based mostly configuration and content material supply. Of course, to render audio and video feeds, the NVR wants greater than a fundamental HTML portal. But slightly than use a typical media participant, the EB1704HB WiFi-4 downloads and installs a WebCamX ActiveX management, with non-obligatory DirectDraw video optimization.


At this stage, we encountered our first stumbling block. For starters, you will need to use Internet Explorer, configured to allow ActiveX set up. (Sorry Firefox customers!) Through experimentation, we discovered that administrative rights are mandatory to finish the set up. At that time, our WebViewer launched, prompting for User ID and Password. We dutifully entered the manufacturing unit-set ID and our 6-digit PIN, triggering a login failure pop-up.

After a day of bother-taking pictures, a laptop computer with out anti-virus did the trick. It seems that anti-virus applications like our lab commonplace ESET NOD32 block the WebCamX management. We bypassed this downside by disabling ESET’s internet entry safety and configuring an exception. To AVerMedia’s credit score, the NVR’s house web page does warn that “some anti-virus software program might deny the connection.” However, we consider that the common house owner would profit from a extra full checklist of WebViewer dependencies and potential work-arounds.

Once related to the NVR, we discovered this ActiveX GUI comparatively straightforward to navigate. As proven above, the default quad-cut up display screen shows reside “preview” video feeds from all 4 Wi-Fi cameras. From right here, you possibly can simply click on on any pane to view a single digital camera, digitally enlarge to full-display screen mode, allow/disable audio, or take nonetheless BMP snapshots.

PTZ controls (see above, prime proper) turn out to be useful to superb-tune the vantage level of any PTZ-succesful digital camera. Since we had been working with out PTZ, we carried a wi-fi laptop computer operating the WebViewer to every digital camera mount level, letting us visualize and tweak our fastened digital camera angles.

As its title suggests, the WebViewer is a handy method to watch reside video in close to-actual-time. In our expertise, the bandwidth consumption proven above (48 KBps) was typical when utilizing the WebViewer’s LAN mode to view video recorded at High high quality by all 4 cameras. We additionally used the WebViewer over slower distant Internet connections, though it’s possible you’ll need to crank down site visitors by adjusting high quality or body charge or deciding on only one digital camera to preview.

Gaining management

Clicking the WebViewer’s distant set-up button requests a “superuser” login earlier than launching the management panel proven under. This two-stage login offers view-solely entry to the bizarre community consumer ID whereas limiting distant configuration to the superuser ID. Many settings established by the NVR’s on-display screen show could be modified by WebViewer distant set-up, together with consumer passwords, recording parameters, digital camera brightness and distinction (for analog cameras solely), NVR IP handle, and DDNS-enrolled hostname (to facilitate Internet video entry).


The Alarm setup panel (above) enables you to ship e mail every time a bodily sensor related to the NVR triggers an alarm situation. In addition to cameras, the EB1704HB WiFi-4 could be related to as much as 4 exterior sensor gadgets and one relay gadget. Such gadgets can be utilized, for instance, to activate a lightweight and begin recording every time a door is opened. External sensors and relays usually are not equipped together with the EB1704HB WiFi-4 however could be bought individually. The NVR may generate an audible alarm every time video feeds are misplaced—we discovered this extra helpful for Ethernet cameras than for Wi-Fi cameras the place occasional disconnects are regular.

Sensor Recording is one in all 4 recording modes supported by the EB1704HB WiFi-4. We examined the opposite three modes: Always Recording, Button (guide) Recording, and Motion Recording. The NVR’s recording schedule specifies a single mode for each hour interval. We configured our EB1704HB WiFi-4 to file full-time in the course of the day however for simply 60 seconds every time movement was detected off-hours.

Always and Button recording labored as anticipated, however we by no means might get Motion Recording to essentially work for us. As proven above, cameras are individually configured to allow Motion Recording—these cameras should detect movement to set off recording for the required period. Sensitivity tunes the diploma of movement required to set off recording. These digital camera parameters are mixed with the NVR’s recording schedule to allow Motion Recording throughout chosen hours.

In concept, movement-based mostly recording conserves storage by saving solely video following occasions of curiosity. This makes it far simpler to find noteworthy occasions when conducting video surveillance over prolonged durations. Unfortunately, our Wi-Fi cameras appeared to at all times detect movement, leading to full-time recordings. According to tech assist, this is likely to be brought on by flickering pixels (digital noise) being perceived as movement. We tried lowering sensitivity, utilizing shiny lights, connecting cameras to Ethernet to scale back RF-induced noise—all with out success. At press time, tech assist was evaluating a doable NVR/digital camera model mismatch because the perpetrator.

Looking again

After video has been recorded, there are various methods to play it again. Anyone native to the NVR can use entrance-panel buttons or the distant management to play, pause, or quick-ahead recorded segments on a related monitor—utilizing the NVR kind of like an bizarre VCR.

Alternatively, recordings could be replayed remotely utilizing a Remote Console program (see under). This Win32 executable could be put in manually from CD or downloaded routinely from the NVR the primary time you push the WebViewer’s Remote Console (Playback) button. Like the WebViewer, the Remote Console can be utilized to preview reside video. However, the Remote Console goes a lot additional by enabling community-based mostly video storage and playback.      


Whenever the Remote Console is launched, it prompts for the NVR’s User ID and password. Once related to the NVR, the Remote Console two helps two playback strategies:

1)    Video saved on the NVR’s HDD could be performed remotely, both by downloading an accessible time interval for instant playback or by watching a replayed video stream.

2)    Video recorded by the NVR may also be relayed to the Remote Console program as a reside video feed, to be duplicated onto that distant host’s HDD for native playback sooner or later.

The first technique (distant playback) use the NVR as central storage however ends in appreciable delay everytime you need to play video again remotely. Just select a date, hour, and digital camera of curiosity, then choose from a sequence of nonetheless snapshots which characterize accessible video segments. You can begin watching NVR-recorded video throughout file obtain, however transfers normally take longer than playback. We thus discovered to be very selective when deciding on time durations for obtain.

The second technique (native playback) requires the Remote Console program to run constantly whereas recording to the distant host’s HDD—in essence, behaving as community-hooked up storage. The Remote Console is considerably choosy about storage areas—for instance, you can’t designate a USB thumb drive or an HDD with out copious free house. But after you have recorded video regionally, playback is quick and straightforward.

Search and discover

To this finish, the Remote Console provides two extraordinarily useful playback instruments: Visual Search and Intelligent Search. During a Visual Search, you wade by nonetheless snapshots for accessible time durations, drilling down into shorter durations till you discover the video section that you just’re on the lookout for. This is could be very useful when trying to find a recognizable occasion in a prolonged recording (e.g., a bundle being dropped at your door someday final week.) But it may also be tedious.

Intelligent Search helps by detecting occasional movement in an in any other case nonetheless space. To carry out an Intelligent Search, choose an space of a digital camera pane you want to analyze. Then click on the Intelligent Search button—recorded video performs till the Remote Console spots motion in that space, at which era playback is paused. You can’t use Intelligent Search successfully in a excessive-site visitors or windy out of doors space. But we discovered it extraordinarily useful for scanning footage of indoor venues the place off-hours motion was sudden. (Note that Intelligent Search analyzes recordings for movement, unbiased of digital camera-triggered Motion Recording.)

During our evaluate, we relied primarily upon the WebViewer and the Remote Console. We additionally used the included USB Playback Console, a Win32 utility for watching video segments dumped from the NVR to a USB stick. USB playback is crucial in instances the place the NVR is just not community-accessible—for instance, video exported for third-celebration (e.g., authorized) evaluate. Exported snapshots and clips are time-stamped and might even be digitally “watermarked” with an overlay picture for supply verification functions. However, video recordsdata are so massive (and writing them to the NVR’s USB port is so gradual) that we want to make use of the Remote Console every time possible.

We has much less luck utilizing the WinCE PDAViewer. According to tech assist, this program runs on Windows Mobile 6, but it surely couldn’t be put in on our WM6 smartphone. When we tried the PDAViewer on an older Pocket PC, this system ran however refused to hook up with our EB1704HB WiFi-4 (see proper). The PDAViewer sounds horny and it definitely could possibly be useful in a pinch. But, from a sensible standpoint, we predict that almost all shoppers will want to preview reside video on a laptop computer or maybe a netbook. Fig6-PDAViewer.jpg

We additionally put in the included Central Monitor System (CM3000), a Win32 program designed for multi-NVR installations the place safety employees displays as much as 1000 distributed areas. We had no bother connecting our EB1704HB WiFi-4 to the CM3000. But we selected to not evaluate the CM3000 as a result of it lies past the common house owner’s wants or expertise.

Finally, none of those equipped applications incorporate Help menus. We discovered the WebViewer and Remote Console intuitive sufficient that Help was not likely mandatory. Nonetheless, Help menus can be a welcome addition to this entry-stage bundle.

On the air

Other comparably-priced house surveillance methods exist, however Wi-Fi drew us to the EB1704HB. Tech-savvy shoppers may mix their very own wi-fi router with an NVR and third-celebration IP cameras. This is just not rocket science—but it surely requires extra community-know-how than your common house owner or “Mom and Pop” shopkeeper possesses. The EB1704HB WiFi-4 is designed to fill this hole by utterly avoiding Wi-Fi gadget integration and community setup.

To accomplish this purpose, AVerMedia manufacturing unit-configures bundled Wi-Fi cameras to match the NVR’s embedded 802.11g AP settings. We used a WLAN analyzer (under) to determine our unit’s non-beaconed SSID (EB1704HB_WiFi4_040020) and safety coverage (AES encryption, WPA2-PSK authentication). Oddly, we additionally noticed our cameras probing for an enterprise WLAN named AP350—maybe a community used for digital camera configuration or testing again at AVerMedia?


Note that it’s unattainable to attach your individual desktop, laptop computer, or PDA to this safe WLAN with out understanding the manufacturing unit-configured PSK. In concept, WPA2 PSKs could be guessed by brute power cryptanalysis. In follow, we doubt that AVerMedia selected a brief textual content passphrase weak to WPA PSK cracker dictionary assault. As a end result, the NVR-digital camera WLAN is non-public; it can’t be eavesdropped upon or used to hold different site visitors (together with distant preview or playback site visitors).

In reality, AVerMedia deliberately obscures all Wi-Fi settings to discourage finish-consumer modification. When related by way of Ethernet, digital camera internet configuration portals could be reached however are password-locked to forestall buyer (or hacker) entry. Similarly, the NVR’s on-display screen show doesn’t expose any of the embedded AP’s community or safety parameters. The web impact is to insulate the surveillance WLAN from buyer configuration errors—or web site-particular Wi-Fi tuning.

In the unlikely occasion {that a} bundled Wi-Fi digital camera is misplaced or broken, prospects should name AVerMedia to request a manufacturing unit-configured alternative. Upon receipt, the alternative digital camera have to be related on to the NVR utilizing a cross-over Ethernet cable; the NVR’s on-display screen show menu is then used to invoke an IPCam (re)registration scan. This methodology facilitates area restore, but it surely additionally prevents shoppers from including their very own after-market Wi-Fi cameras.

Wireless efficiency

Perhaps extra importantly, this closed-system method makes it troublesome to detect or keep away from localized RF interference issues.

As proven under, the our surveillance WLAN carried out fairly nicely, sending largely mid-dimension frames with few CRC errors. Positioned on the periphery of a typical 3000 sq. foot two-story house, three out of 4 Wi-Fi cameras exhibited strong sign energy. The most distant digital camera, roughly 100 toes from the NVR, skilled frequent however temporary connection losses.


This efficiency is corresponding to different residential-grade 802.11g APs. Your mileage will fluctuate, relying upon your individual venue’s building—and the presence or absence of RF interference.

For instance, a house with an current wi-fi router might encounter RF interference if the EB1704HB WiFi-4 used an overlapping channel. Today, many residential routers hunt down cleaner channels on their very own. But these that don’t would expertise degraded WLAN efficiency following NVR set up. It can be troublesome for finish customers or tech assist to diagnose RF interference with out visibility into the NVR’s manufacturing unit-assigned channel.

In our case, the NVR we examined was manufacturing unit-configured to make use of channel 13. This uncommon task interfered simply barely with a neighboring 802.11n AP on channel 11. When we requested AVerMedia methods to change this channel, we discovered that finish-consumer reconfiguration was not doable. According to AVerMedia, our evaluate unit used a channel between 1 and 13 as a result of it was developed on the firm’s headquarters and never modified to the US-outlined vary (1-11).  The firm plans to replace firmware on all US EB1704HB WiFI-4 items to revert to the US-outlined vary within the close to future.  (Firmware updates are usually issued on month-to-month or a minimum of quarterly foundation.)

Finally, house and small enterprise WLANs are transitioning slightly shortly to 802.11n Draft 2.0. Based on our site visitors measurements, the EB1704HB WiFi-4’s surveillance WLAN wouldn’t make the most of the added capability delivered by 11n. However, this NVR may benefit from 11n’s improved attain and reliability—even when solely the NVR’s AP had been upgraded in a future launch.

Bottom line

In our expertise, the EB1704HB WiFi-4 is a really fast and straightforward method to roll out an indoor video surveillance system in a smallish venue with no pre-current WLAN. Unless your venue is brightly lit throughout recording hours, we advocate springing for the CCD digital camera bundle.

For customers that have already got a house or small workplace WLAN, this product’s flip-key worth proposition is just not so clear-lower. Here, plug-and-play setup is a time-saver, however not important. While isolating surveillance site visitors on a closed, safe WLAN remains to be engaging, Wi-Fi-experienced shoppers might want to have extra management over WLAN settings and/or digital camera choice.

Lisa Phifer owns Core Competence, a consulting agency targeted on enterprise use of rising community and safety applied sciences. She has been concerned within the design, implementation, evaluation, and testing of NetSec services and products for over 25 years.

Latest posts by Eric Sandler (see all)


Recommended For You

Leave a Reply