Why Are Arecont Cameras So Difficult To Get Online?

After dealing with dozens of camera manufacturers, it seems that one stands out as truly difficult in initial setup: Arecont. They don't ship with an IP address, do not default to DHCP, and you must use their notoriously unintuitive AV200 (or AV100) software to set up cameras. Plus, they lack a hardware reset button, so if something goes wrong, you have little recourse to factory default the camera.

Does anyone have similar experiences? Ways to ease the pain?

Ever think, maybe it's your fault??? You're not Arecont certified, don't you think you should have disclosed that?

So you've successfully tested Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Brickcom, Dahua, DvTel, DRS, FLIR, Hikvision, Geovision, Sony, Panasonic, Pelco, Lorex, Mobotix, Q-See, Sentry 360, and Vivotek cameras in the last year. Does that really make you qualified to use Arecont? is default or and up one digit per camera on system.

I have found if the set up is an issue it is the firewall, the service of the VMS is running ot just general

if u set the DVR to dhcp and only have the cameras on that switch the camera finder application is CAKE!!!!

but we are certified and thats how we roll.

additionally AV200 rocks if done in the same enviornment as listed above.

and John Owch.........lol

Arecont has Great Cameras (google and Microsoft uses them) but im just bragging for them........... lol

we have used them for years and have great report with them

and as fo Avigilon yes they are shinny but the sales force are well A's


"I have found if the set up is an issue it is the firewall, the service of the VMS is running ot just general"

Love this!!!! Classic Arecont Attitude. If Arecont does not work, it's obvious something else - your computer, your VMS or just things in general.

Isn't it amazing that all of Arecont's major competitors can deliver cameras that can be found even with firewalls and even if VMSes are running? Are we wrong to ask the same of Arecont?

I wonder how many extra cameras Google and Microsoft ordered?

Extra 25% for the ones that failed out of box?

I recently spoke with Arecont tech support, and he attested that the "default" IP addresses or are not "default" IP addresses. Specifically, tech support said "Arecont cameras do not have an assigned default IP address, and cameras (new or used) attain the previous IP address assigned.". This is problematic if the IP address gets changed and the camera becomes undiscoverable...

Also, the first thing tech support asked was if I had anti-virus or firewalls enabled while I was trying to discover and IP my Arecont camera...

Derek, did you confirm that the Arecont tech support person was Arecont certified? Do you even know if he really was an Arecont employee? Perhaps a competitor intercepted your call in an attempt to undermine Arecont.

Btw, if you think my questions are crazy, these are parodies of actual things that Arecont executives said to us when we previously shared our concerns.

Oh dude, don't EVEN get me started on Arecont...

As background, I find that every year or so I need to completely wipe & reinstall my Windows PC if I want to retain out-of-the-box performance. For some vendors, even "out of the box" is so bad (with seemingly hundreds of "helpful" pieces of software already clogging the works) that you need to completely wipe & reinstall your brand new Windows PC just to experience adequate performance. While worthwhile, a full wipe and reinstallation costs about 3 hours.

For similar reasons, I prefer to install IT gear without vendor support software whenever it is possible. Even Network Attached Storage is generally accessible from the IP. Do you really need that Samsung hard drive installation wizard still absorbing memory and cycles for years after the one-shot use? Do you really need all seven of those Brother software routines just to access fundamental capabilities of your multi-function device? If yes, you'll pay forever in performance, but if you're careful in your installation choices, you'll reap performance benefits forever.

Perhaps these quirks explain my annoyance on discovering their "IP cameras" cannot be easily installed with standard IP tools, instead requiring custom software which you don't intend to use beyond the installation. Of course it can be (and quickly is) uninstalled after use, burning another few minutes of valuable time.

A vendor will probably suffer no down-side to enforcing installation and use of their own VMS, however briefly. Beyond a top-notch and competitively priced product, marketing and sales are all about scarce access to limited customer attention span, and actually the AV200 looks fairly attractive and functional (at least in comparison to my experience with ADT Matrix RASPLUS).

Unfortunately, in my case the positive benefits of that glimpse were more than offset by the discovery that I can't record the video without paying an additional $200/year licensing fees, above and beyond the more than $4,000 purchase price of the four 5MP IP cameras. True, it is poor research that fails to uncover such a fundamental fact, but this was completely unexpected. Imagine if groceries worked this way ("Sorry sir, you can't use the potty until you pay our additional 5% license fee"). On the other hand, I understand that this functionality is expanding into other sectors of the security industry. A few computer viruses also make your video - er I mean data - inaccessible but will release it to you for a very modest fee.

My negative experiences with Arecont's IP cameras more than 5 years ago have had two interesting outcomes. (1) I've never purchased another Arecont product, and (2) I've chosen to use an integrator on our three subsequent installations. A good integrator's professional knowledge and experience saves a great deal of time, and has probably spared me further costly mistakes. Since "noob" installation challenges and deliberate functionality barriers have kept at least one of the great unwashed masses out of the business, you might argue that manufacturers with similar products might be considered to be an installer's best friend!

The problem is, leaving unexploited niches within the competitive ecosystem can allow hungy upstarts to survive and bootstrap themselves into real competitive threats. It seems that many small four- to eight-camera systems have fairly straightforward needs, and for this segment of the market, new products featuring easy installation and straightforward use may have a real chance to cannibalize market share. Who should have a better understanding and be better positioned to provide new capability, than the incumbents? Yet this market segment seems to be going to the upstarts. It's plausible that as the upstarts continue to improve their "plug and play" installation and their ease of use, they will also further improve scalability and supportability within ever larger enterprises, further eroding incumbents' market share.

Horace, I see no problem with leaving things like camera-finder utilities installed - they typically don't run as background services, but simply run when you launch them, and do nothing after you close them. I have Windows DVRs that are running as happily today as they were when installed several years ago, no need to wipe and rebuild.

It's the constant use, installing and uninstalling various programs and updates, that clutters up and slows down desktop machines. If you're not making regular changes to a system, there should be no reason to have to "redo" it regularly.

That said, I've also found most manufacturers' camera finders can exist and run completely standalone, meaning you can put them all on a flash drive, and just plug the drive in to run them when you need them.

I agree that there's no problem keeping most tools installed. I know I do, but some of these packages DO run continuously. Arecont, for example, runs a service at startup:

VideoIQ and SightLogix both require services (which they again install to autorun at startup) to be present in order to use their clients. At least that's a client, though. Arecont requires you to install their full-blown VMS or whatever they want to call it in order to address cameras.

And before someone says they have a little utility that lets you set an IP address by MAC address (I'm assuming it's just using ARP commands behind the scenes), let me go ahead and say that I have gotten it to work exactly zero times. And even if it did work, it's hardly an efficient way to bulk address cameras.

When I first installed Areconts, yes, they ONLY came with a full install of their mini-NVR to operate as a camera finder, that installed that service... I later obtained the AV100 utility that runs completely standalone. So it IS possible to run a non-resident installer for Arecont, it's just not readily available (or didn't used to be, maybe it is now).

Newer Vigil DVRs include the little AVInstaller.exe program (2.5MB) that runs completely standalone. No, it doesn't require you to know the MAC address; yes, it does let you bulk-address the cameras (in fact, you can select one, assign an address, and it will auto-increment the rest), as well as switch them to DHCP.

"VideoIQ ... require services (which they again install to autorun at startup) to be present in order to use their clients."

Our View client requires a Windows service to be running. View is used for the full setup of our devices, as well as basic event monitoring functions. It is a full-featured VMS (though, as some will point out, a VMS that is only intended to support our hardware, so take "full featured" in context).

We also have a camera discovery tool, which is not dependant on other services or software, it's a stand-alone app. So you can discover a VideoIQ device that is in the same broadcast domain as your PC, and you can also assign a temporary IP address to the device and access its web UI to do *basic* stuff (set new IP, upgrade firmware, view video).

However, discovering and addressing headless devices is a technology-wide problem. It's not just CCTV cameras, but printers, networked speakers and A/V equipment, etc all have quirky processes for getting online initially.