Milestone Super Low Cost HD Solution

By: John Honovich, Published on Dec 15, 2014

Recent IPVM testing has shown and verified a super low cost HD solution using Milestone that has never been marketed.

In this note, we break it down, explain how it works and what the cost savings are.

Solution - ****** ** + ********* *******/*** *********

*** **** ********* ** Analog ** (***** *****, Hikvision ***) ** ***** low **** ******* *** recorders. * ** ****** analog ***** ** ****** including ******* *** ******** is ~$*,***, **% **** than **** *** ***** level **** ** *******.

*** **** ************ ** Analog ** ** ***** DVR ********. ********* *** same ** ***** ** Hikvision ****, ***** ******* set *** ********* ** limited.

*** ******** ** ***** Milestone's *** ****** ********* of ***** * ******* per ******* / ***. Dahua *** ********* ****** HD **** *** ******* to ********* ** * mulit-channel ***** *******. 

**** ***** ******* ****** ** *** / *** ****, ***** *** ** integrate **** *********:

The *******

*** **** ** **** sides:

  • *******: **** ****** ** *** Analog ** *** ** an *******, ****** ** cameras *** ************* **** ********* than ***** ** ************. Plus, *** ***** **** existing **** ************** ** replacing ****** ** *******, additional ******* *****.
  • ***: **** ** ** camera ******** *** ********* VMS ******* ******* (*.*., 16 ** *******, ** licenses). *******, ** ** 16 ****** ** ******* can ** ********* **** only * ****** *******. For * ** ****** analog ** *******, **** means ******* ** ** licenses, ***** ** $*** to $*,*** ********* ** the ********* ******* ********.

*** *** *********'* **** end *** *** ****** nothing **** **** *** cost *******, ********** * combination ** ************* *** price **** ** ********** hard *** *********** ** match.


** ******** *** ********* policy **** *********, *** noted, "** **** *** ****** if ** ** ******** or ** ****** ******* only *** ******* *** hardware/IP ******* ** ********." Milestone *** ******* **** the *** ********* ******, in *******, "** ********* ***** ****** and *** ** ******* in ****."

** ** **** * deal *** ***********/*****, ***, ********** **** a ************ ** ** camera *************, **** ** are ********* ** **** can ** ********** **** ****.

**** *****, **** ** many ****** ******* *** lower **** **** ** get **** ******* ** systems *********, *** *********** of ****** ** + Milestone ******* / *** licensing ** * ****** approach.

Comments (54)

Just a point of fact on this as I have worked with Milestone in the past. It is one License per IP address as noted above. This can be confusing as it is NOT one license per encoder and that almost screwed me. Axis has many encoders, most 4 channels are 1 IP adress for 4 channels. Their 16 Channel (last I looked) was 4 IP adresses for 16 channels so 4 licenses. Bosch has a 16 channel 1 IP address encoder for pretty cheap.

Yes, thanks for that note.

I am not sure why Axis encoders are built that way. As for the analog HD DVRs, they all appear to be 1 channel per box, regardless of channel count.

Btw, we have not seen any pure analog HD encoders yet. All of the ones out there that we have found are DVRs with RTSP and / or (pseudo) ONVIF output to act like encoders.

It is one License per IP address as noted above.

Interesting. In the case of the Axis 16 channel encoder, what do you think would happen if you put the encoder on the 'LAN' side of a NAT firewall, and Milestone on the 'WAN' side, so as to make them all look like the same IP? Or make 16 onvif cameras look like 1 HD TVI DVR?

Well, Milestone (like Genetec, ExacQ and other big guys)writes individual drivers for their encoder integrations so I doubt this would make a difference there. The software would probably still pull 4 streams to function correctly on the AXIS 16 but I have never tried this. Maybe with an ONVIF encoder use this would work using a generic ONVIF setting. I will be honest, I am not a futz around dude though. I go with what works and don't bother testing out stuff like this- there are smarter people than me to do that.

I only made the comments originally because people should double check the IP Address thing, DVR or encoder so it doesn't bite ya. Another example is Pelco recorders. The Endura ones. They use one IP address per camera on the encoder. No licensing break there.

The software would probably still pull 4 streams to function correctly on the AXIS 16 but I have never tried this...

Won't it always 'pull' 16 streams? 4 streams x 4 channels (or IP addresses)

Agreed about using encoder with generic ONVIF streams. Milestone most likely unaware that it's a even a HIK Dvr at all, (correct me if I'm wrong), just seeing it as 16 streams from the same IP.

Likewise, if the 16 ch Axis supports ONVIF streams, then using NAT it should appear as the same IP to Milestone, no? Maybe it's one reason they are reviewing the licensing policy...

Stop giving away all the juicy secrets!

@John, @Ethan, What do you think the Tribrid Hikvision DVR that you reviewed recently would allow with Milestone? Do you think it might pick up the 2 IP cameras as well as all the TVI ones as one channel?

Hi John, thank you for you very interesting report.

With the setup you've described, would I be right in thinking that one wouldn't need hard drives in the Analog HD DVR but only in the storage connected to the Milestone VMS?

I haven't used the Milestone VMS. What are the most compelling benefits of using the Milestone VMS in conjunction with the Analog HD DVR rather than just using the Analog HD DVR by itself?

Thank you finding a way to make a low cost system even better.

"one wouldn't need hard drives in the Analog HD DVR but only in the storage connected to the Milestone VMS?"

I wouldn't recommend any hard drives in the analog HD DVR unless you plan to review recorded video from the analog HD DVR's client interface. [Update, as commenter mentions below, you could use this as a poor man's back up recording.]

"What are the most compelling benefits of using the Milestone VMS in conjunction with the Analog HD DVR rather than just using the Analog HD DVR by itself?"

Analog HD DVRs (Dahua and Hikvision's) are both fairly clunky and limited in advanced features. We review this in the Hikvision HDTVI VS Dahua HDCVI report and you can see what Milestone has to offer here - Milestone XProtect 2014 Tested

Well, I would recommend installing at least some storage on the DVR. Think about it... for the cost of a single drive (under $100) you now have a redundant recording platform. You wouldn't have to put a lot of storage but in the event something happens to the milestone server or the network you are now recording locally (albeit a clunkier platform - however better than most all SD cards in local camera recording).

That's a good idea. Thanks for sharing.

Now, who's giving away all the juicy secrets, undisclosed B! :)

Thank you John, if I decided to add the Milestone VMS to the Analog HD system, I would prefer to add redundancy to the storage attached to the Milestone VMS rather than placing the hard drive in the Analog HD DVR. If I was trying to cut all unnecessary costs, then I probably wouldn't add the Milestone VMS in the first place.

I'm familiar with the clunkiness of the Analog HD DVR interfaces. Thank you for your link to the Milestone XProtect review which I will keenly go over.

Luke, Milestone only offers redundant recording on their highest end tiers, which cost ~$300 per channel plus a base license which is $2,000+. Also, you'll need to run multiple Milestone recorders / machines.

So it's a lot more money to go from using an analog DVR for redundancy than to get a full blown Milestone redundant system.

Oh wow! Thank you John for correcting my misunderstanding. That's a big help.

Are there HD analog encoders? If yes any links? Example ? THis could be a solution for a customer with an extensive coax plant.

We have not seen any from Dahua or Hikvision yet. There could be one out there from other vendors. I imagine some will be released in 2015.

That said, since these DVRs basically function as multi-channel encoders and at a really low cost, that's the best current option.

Just don't install the hard drive!

Can't believe that Milestone will keep this pricing policy for DVRs, specially after reading this post.

This remains a great solution even with the licenses...

Even with the licenses, it does solve a key limitation for analog HD and is still fairly inexpensive, it just is not as incredibly inexpensive.

You may well be right but if Milestone have the choice of getting some money for low-end installations, or no money, I hope they make the sensible choice.

On This care to feed us with those DVR and cameras models orparts number ;)

Thanks in advance

C, who are you addressing this to? what are you asking? I can't understand the comment.

Would like an idea of what are those DVR parts numbers, especially the Hikvision or the cameras. This is something we would like to run in our lab to see how well it works. We use OnSSi, which is very similar to Milestone.

See our test of Dahua and Hikvision DVRs here, it includes models: HD Analog DVRs With VMS Software Tested

Milestone did mention that the DVR licensing policy, in general, "is currently under review and may be changed in 2015."

If Milestone were to change their policy to be more restrictive, would there be any impact to installations already setup when the one ip/one license policy was in effect?

Would you be able stay current with the latest software version without changing to the latest licensing version?

Since there could be a large balance due, it would seem prudent to clarify this point before proceeding.

It's in review so it's unknown what would happen.

Whatever does happen, I do not see how their could be 'a balance due'. The issue would be what would happen if you wanted to upgrade to a new version. I don't see any way they could or would make you pay to keep your existing version which you already have a valid license for.

By 'could be a large balance due', I meant could be if you wanted to stay current.

Certainly if that is not an issue, now is the time to get them while you can....

Update: A question was raised about licensing for Axis' new 4 channel F series offering, which supports up to (4) 1080p imagers/cameras.

Milestone confirmed that this would require just 1 license.

Given that this series supports imagers / cameras up to 39 feet away, it is an interesting offering for those looking for license cost reduction.

Hi Guys,

I have two 16-Channel TurboHD DVRs (7316 units) that I am currently playing with, firmware 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 (3.1.2 does not seem to play well with their iVMS-4200 or Milestone, so I downgraded to try and match the firmware in the video).

I am having an issue - the Milestone Express software constantly has a "Connection Error on Camera x" on both DVRs, analog or 1080P HD cameras. I sometimes see a frame for a little bit or it streams for a few seconds, but it stops and gives me an error without fail every time. The units are sitting on a trial license at the moment and I have 4 cameras (licensed) on the system already. The DVRs and Milestone server are on the same gigabit Ethernet switch and located within 5 feet of each other.

Did you guys have to change any settings in the DVR iteself? Does this method require a higher level of software than Express?


Undisclosed D Integrator. Im with you on that one, would also like some answers.

I have no issues with the Cameras, but the Turbo DVR's although able to connect stream and record are intermittently supported. does anybody know the solution ? combination of DVR Firmware/Device Pack ? I'm using DS-7204 Turbo HD with Milestone Professional 8.6e Device Pack 7.7


Hi Paul and D, we were using v3.0.1_140924 in our TVI DVR test. We were using XProtect Enterprise, but I'm not 100% on which device pack we were running at the time (we also just installed 7.7). We didn't have any issues with intermittant droppage during the test, though.

Our TVI DVRs are readily available, so we'll quickly check it out this week. I'll report back.

I just spent a few minutes testing, and things are indeed unstable using 3.1.2_150130 firmware and device pack 7.7. The stream is intermittent for sure. I discovered if you set everything to full frame rate in the DVR, it seems more stable, but the live stream still drops periodically. Recordings are still there, however.

We'll check with Hikvision and Milestone and see if they have anything to say here.

Thankyou very much for the feedback Ethan ! I will be sure to retest :)

Hi Ethan.

That would be great. I havent had much luck in terms of feedback from either of them. I've definitely tried every conceivable option with configuration, to no avail. looks like we will need either a firmware or device pack revision to solve the issue. Thanks again for you time and efforts.

Sorry to resurrect this old thread...

Anyone reliably using this method? I've got a large project I"m about to quote and I'm hoping that this still works!

I see up above you guys had some issues with the newer firmware. Has this been tested on Milestone 2016 with the latest device pack and firmware on the DVR?

I have not tried Hikvision with 2016, but Milestone lists a lot of Dahua HDCVI recorders as officially supported now. They do not list Hikvision TVI gear, though.

It's worth is checking the state of the Hikvision/Milestne compatibility so we will do some quick testing and see.

Awesome, thanks!

I did check the Milestone compatibility and noticed that their HDTVI encoders were still not listed as well.

I just tried it with our DS-7204HQHI-SH, firmware 3.3.2, and Milestone 2016 and it works fine. It may actually work more smoothly than before.

It added as a multi-channel ONVIF device no problem, popped up the unit name, video inputs, audio, and outputs.

It also appears to support some on-board events:

So not officially supported, but apparently working fine.

Nice! Thanks for taking the time to test that out. Did it still only require 1 license since it's 1 IP address?

Hi Ethan,

Any problems with the actual delivery and reliability of picture? - We have issues with a 16ch TVI Encoder DS-6716HQHI-SATA only identifying as an 8ch and intermittent stop/start issues with pictures.



Have you ever tried this with a DVR from the HGHI series?  I'm attempting it and having lots of problems.  I'm wondering if it's firmware or just the DVR that I'm using.

I do not think I've ever tired the HGHI series. That is their older 720p line, correct? I believe all our testing has been on the HQHI line. 

What firmware are you using?

Not sure if it's older or not but they are definitely capable of 1080p.  I'm getting dropped frames, camera disconnects, etc.

Actually looking at our original HD Analog DVRs/VMS Test, we did test with the HGHI. We used:

  • Hikvision DS-7204HGHI-SH: V3.3.2

What model and firmware are you running?

I'm using a DS-7216HGHI-SH with firmware 3.1.13 on Milestone Express 2016 R3

All CVI DVR's appear to be hybrids these days, with at least 2 IP ports.

Does this mean you can add IP cameras to a Milestone system for free if you already have a single DVR license?

Finally got around to trying this and I'm getting lots of problems. Camera will work for a few seconds and then drops out :(

I'm using a DS-7216HGHI-SH with firmware 3.1.13 on Milestone Express 2016 R3

Anyone have any luck?

From the recording server log:

2016-12-06 14:15:05 FAILURE Camera 1 Video stream error (invalid-data:Cannot add non-synchronization frame at this point)
2016-12-06 14:15:08 Archiving Camera 1 Renaming Archive on same volume
2016-12-06 14:15:08 Archiving Camera 1 Successfully renamed Archive on same Volume
2016-12-06 14:15:09 FAILURE Camera 1 Video stream error (invalid-data:Cannot add non-synchronization frame at this point)

Good news for anyone following this post.

I've tested the AVTECH AVZ range of Hybrid DVR's and they work perfectly.

I have already changed 4 sites over to this "setup" Milestone Pro 2016 with 4 x AVZ 16Channel 1080p machines, 4 x XPPCL and I have a 64 Channel 1080p Solution running on a Milestone Headend :) 

I have already changed 4 sites over to this "setup" Milestone Pro 2016 with 4 x AVZ 16Channel 1080p machines, 4 x XPPCL and I have a 64 Channel 1080p Solution running on a Milestone Headend

Paul, Any idea how much this approaches saves you vs going for IP cameras directly connected to Milestone?

Hi John , Basic calculation for cost price to an Installer.


You people at IPVM are a blessing for integrators :)


This is indeed very interesting. There is another facet of all this. We are very partial to "appliances" in my company. I understand the COTS approach. Take a Window machine and just drop a VMS or its recorder in ti and be happy. True but Windows goes on doing many of its own things that aren't conclusive or even good for video recording... So a person is forced into optimizing it for the task at hand .. it can work but is fraught with danger and pitfalls and the learning curve is far from smooth or short. Manufacturers NVRs are built-for-the-purpose appliances. Hik NVR simply work day in, day out with minimal fuss. Set and forget basically .. In our environment and experiences they last longer and work more reliably than COTS. Of course thier VMS is not up to Mielstone's or other's... thus this solution even with a Milestone license per camera is interesting... Has anyone tried these with regular IP camera NVRs? What were the results? if this is OT please feel fre to move this to a new thread...

Thanks in advance for the advices and sharing.

Has anyone tried these with regular IP camera NVRs? What were the results?

In my experience, not great. It's hit or miss whether NVRs will connect via ONVIF the way the DVRs do. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes not. In some cases even the IP channels of hybrid DVRs do not work, either.

I'd say if you'd like to be sure, you'd need to test your specific model(s) with your specific VMS. I haven't seen enough consistency otherwise to be confident.

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