A Network Video Recorder Review: LenovoEMC px2-300d NVR - Page 2

By Joseph Moran
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LenovoEMC px2-300d NVR Video Management

The Milestone Arcus default setting comes configured to continuously record from each camera and to retain the video surveillance footage for a week. If those parameters aren’t suitable, getting to the place where you can change them takes only two clicks via a Settings tab. For each camera you can customize things such as the device name and IP, as well as the resolution, frame rate, and codec used.

Milestone Arcus motion detection settings

Cameras record continuously by default, but you can configure them to record only when they detect motion.

You can also set cameras to record only upon motion detection rather than all the time, and motion trigger parameters are fine-tunable via simple slider bars. Lastly, you can adjust the aforementioned video retention period as well as invert the video image (useful in cases where cameras must be mounted upside down).

Milestone Arcus also makes viewing recorded footage a very straightforward affair; at least once you familiarize yourself with the minimalist controls for doing so. Clicking a tiny playback button in the lower-left corner of a live video window summons them, while clicking a calendar button provides scrolling bars from which you can select the day, hour, and minute you want to view.

A small preview window displays the associated footage as you move backward or forward through time, and overlaid atop it are buttons that let you advance or rewind the video one frame at a time. Once you’ve pinpointed your area of interest, a Go To button expands the image to full size for further review.

Exporting footage from the px2-300d is similarly painless. You use day and time scroll bars to select your start and end points, while a counter displays the duration of your selection so you don’t inadvertently gather too much or too little.   

Incidentally, the px2-300d includes a year’s worth of extended support for Milestone Arcus, which entitles you to any bug fixes or feature improvements/ additions released during that period.  

Mobile Access

These days no VMS product is complete without a mobile viewing feature, so Milestone Arcus has one. It uses free Milestone Mobile apps for Android and iOS—we installed the former on a Samsung Galaxy S3 and had no trouble using it to access the live feed off our cameras, as well as to play back previously recorded video. Milestone Mobile for Android even let us save still frames and exported video files to the phone or tablet. (Though as one might expect, exporting files can be a lengthy process given bandwidth constraints.)  

Milestone Arcus view footage setting

Simple scrolling controls and a preview window make locating past footage—and exporting it if necessary—a simple task.

Although most of our experience with the px2-300d was smooth as silk, we did hit a few bumps. For example, for some reason our exported video files didn’t contain an overlay of the camera name or the date time, making it impossible to determine the location or timeframe of footage once it was out of the system.  Also, there’s no way to automatically send emails based on camera events, such as a motion triggered recording or if a video feed goes out. (The px2-300d can send email alerts in the event of general system problems—e.g. the hard drive goes bad or the unit is running too hot.)

In spite of these problems, the px2-300d really does eliminate much of the heavy lifting associated with setting up and maintaining video surveillance system, so small businesses that need to monitor their premises should give it a serious look. 

Price: $999

Pros: compact, high capacity network video recorder with extremely easy setup and management; wide variety of compatible cameras; includes four camera licenses

Cons: exported video did not contain camera name and time/date overlay; no way to issue email alerts based on video events

Joseph Moran is a veteran technology writer and co-author of Getting StartED with Windows 7, from Friends of ED.

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This article was originally published on August 13, 2013
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