Roughly 6 months ago I bought my very first CCTV system, consisting of a 1 TB DVR player and 4 cameras. Specifically, it's called the HomeGuard Pro HD 720P, which as the name suggests, displays and records 720p HD footage.
One of the features the HomeGuard Pro HD has is the ability to stream footage from the box directly to your Windows PC, and other devices such as Android and Apple iOS, though I had a hard time trying to get it to work on the iPad.
Naturally, you're not gonna sit there with your laptop open all day watching your CCTV cameras, but having the extra option is nice, plus you can easily view and download any incriminating footage directly to your PC, rather than downloading it to a USB stick from the box which is both slow and fiddly.
Providing you have Wi-Fi access you should also be able to view live footage from your camera's wherever you are, just as long as the Wi-Fi isn't super slow, or hasn't got annoying blocking restrictions in place, et cetera.
One thing the HomeGuard system isn't going to win an award for is its instructions, which are borderline useless. However, it really isn't that difficult to figure things out, and anybody with a medium PC skill level really shouldn't have too many problems.
How to Setup Wireless Video Streaming to Your PC
Okay, so I'm going to presume you've done the really, really difficult part and installed the cameras and have the box hooked up to your TV.
Next thing you want to do is to check whether your HomeGuard CCTV system actually has the ability to wirelessly stream video footage to a PC or mobile device. I'm presuming most if not all new HomeGuard systems do.
Somewhere in the box should be a CD. Insert it into your Windows PC and find the "PC client" and click on the HomeGuard icon to begin the installation. Now, I can't confirm whether each HomeGuard CCTV system uses the same software or whether each software is tailored for each system, but I'm guessing it's universal.
The software I got with my system is version 2,0,0,56. - and this guide will focus on that version. If you haven't got a CD with the software on or you've lost it, you can download the above version from the following link.
Once you've installed the software on your PC, you'll then need to make sure that your HomeGuard CCTV system is connected to your network, i.e. your Internet router. Though there is a wireless option within the menu of my HomeGuard system I could never get it to work, so the only option was to connect the box to the router via a ethernet cable.
You will also have to enable ethernet access via the HomeGuard box menu.
Time to Set up the Software
Once the box is connected to the router and you've enabled ethernet access, you can launch the software by clicking on the "HOME GUARD" icon which should be located on your desktop. If not, it will be in the Windows app menu.
You'll probably find that your firewall such as the Windows built-in firewall will ask if the software program is allowed to communicate with your network. Choose yes.
Once the software opens it should look like this:
Click on the "Login" button located at the top of the right-hand menu. A new window will open and the next step is to click on "Net Search".
Net Search usually takes 5 to 10 seconds and will look for your router IP address. However, I've often found this to be temperamental, so be patient and give it a few goes, if it doesn't pick it up first time. If the software can't detect your router, try switching it on and off, as this usually helps.
Once the software detects your routers IP address, click on it and then select "Add". If successful, you can now close that window.
Back on the "Login Server" page, you should see that your IP address is now registered and that the port number has been set to 7777. If it hasn't, enter 7777. You will then need to enter "admin" in the username box. You don't have to enter a password unless you've set a password via the box menu. It's also a good idea to put a tick in the "Auto–preview all channels when succeed in logining server".
Next step is to click on "Login" to login.
You can now close the login window, and hopefully you should see live streaming of your cameras on your PC. In my case, 4 cameras. You can click on the numbers on the bottom toolbar to display 1 or 100 cameras simultaneously, if you have that many installed.
How to Start Live Streaming Instantly
Once you close the HomeGuard software program, you'll have to login back in to view live streaming of your cameras on your PC, however, you can set the program up so it streams instantly every time you open it.
To do this, we first want to open and log back into the program. Once you're logged in, you then want to click on "Setup" on the right-hand side and then select "Auto Window Preview" from the top bar.
For example, if your CCTV system has 4 cameras like mine, you can click on window 1 to 4 and select the server, which is your IP address, and the channel which will be 1,2,3 and 4. Make sure you choose the server and the channel number unless that particular camera won't stream to your PC. Once that's complete put a tick in the "Allow Auto Login and Preview" and click "Save".
Now every time you open the program, it will display each camera instantly without logging in.
How to Download Footage Directly to Your PC
If you you need to download footage from your HomeGuard CCTV system hard drive the normal process is to search for the footage using the supplied mouse and your TV and then download it to a USB stick, which in itself is both slow and frustrating.
Personally, I find it far easier to search and download any footage using this software, plus it also means the footage gets directly saved to your PCs hard drive rather than having to download it from the USB stick.
By default, the HomeGuard records and saves all footage in 60 minute durations. This helps you find the footage you are looking for and it means you won't end up downloading days or even weeks worth of footage you don't want. You can change the record duration from 5 to 120 minutes via the "Setup" menu and then select "Record Settings" from the top toolbar.
To download footage from the HomeGuard system straight to your PC using this software, we first need to pick a destination where we want our video files to be saved on our PC. To do this log into the program as normal and then select "Setup" and the first window we should see is called "Local Settings".
Under local settings, we should see options where we can save our "Record Settings", "Capture Settings" and "Download Settings". It's up to you where you want to save the video files on your PC, but I recommend you put it in the video folder, or as in my case, I've created a CCTV folder which is within the video folder.
Once that's complete, click on "Playback" and under "Search Conditions" choose your video source, i.e. your routers IP address, which camera you want to view i.e. channel 01, and recording type, which is "Normal Recording". You can also choose a date and start time. Once you've selected all of the above. Click on the "Search" box.
You should then get a list of available recordings, listed by time and date for that camera. In my case, all recordings are in 15 minutes segments. To view your chosen recording double-click on it and it should open in the main window. To enlarge the size double-click on the window again.
You can search through that video clip by using the bottom scroll bar, play, stop and other available button.
If you want to download your chosen video clip, all you have to do is click on the "Download" button at the bottom of the programme where a new window will open with the option to choose a start and end time, which saves you downloading unnecessary footage. If you leave the times as they are the clip will download in the default 60 minute duration format, unless you've changed it.
Click "OK" to download the video file. The file will take anything from a few seconds to 20 plus minutes to download depending on its size.
The video file will then be saved in the default location on your PC that you chose earlier, such as the video folder.
That's the basics for now, however, feel free to experiment with the software, as there are lots of additional features and settings that you may find helpful.
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