Tag Archives: dvr

DVR Maintenance Tips

As a service to you, we are supplying you with some helpful tips to keep your video security system up, DVR and cameras, and running well. A little prevention or self help can save you money and keep your system healthy. Continue reading

Don’t Get Snowed When Buying Security Cameras

We just finished with a bad winter and saw plenty of snow. Hopefully it will be the last of until the end of the year. In the mean time, I was hoping to prevent a different type of snow job from occurring to our customers and followers.
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U.S. & Russian Spy Rings Mimic Hollywood

If you’ve been reading or watching the news lately, you undoubtedly know that the United States and Russia are in the midst of a so-called spy swap.  On June 27, the FBI arrested 10 people on charges that they were deep-cover spies working for the Russian government but living for years in the United States. Their job, according to the DOJ, was to determine U.S. “secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials.” Continue reading

Covert Video Recorders

HELP! I Need to Record this Event on Video and all I Have is My Keychain!
Have you ever run into a situation where you needed to take a picture, or record an event on video, but didn’t have your camera with you?
Whether it is a Confrontation with a Neighbor, a Run In with the Police, a Sexual Harassment Situation, or just Good Times with Friends, there are many situations where a video camera can make all the difference.

U Spy Enterprises www.USpyStore.com is proud to bring you the Key Chain Camera. Continue reading

How Does a DVR Work?

The DVR automatically records on motion. The problem is, with the trees blowing, cars moving etc, there is plenty of motion happening. We can screen out the unwanted motion so it does not activate the recording. The DVR will still record the entire view of the camera but the areas that are screened will not activate the camera to record. I hope that makes sense.

It stores up the video recording onto a hard drive of various sizes, depending on what you buy and the capacity of the DVR. Once your DVR reaches the storage capacity it begins recording over the oldest data. So there will be a rolling block of time that moves along. It’s hard to calculate what that total time is until the hard drive gets filled. But you can experiment by checking the DVR to see how far back you can go in time. Then you will have an idea of the amount of time you are getting before the video starts to disappear. We can increase the hard drive up to the capacity of the DVR. Some DVRs can take 2, 3 or more hard drives. But the size if each drive may be limited by the DVR specifications so you must check whatever that limit is. We have some standalone DVRs that are limited to 1 Terabyte (1000 GB) per drive.

To make a backup of an event, follow the various directions for backing up with a USB flash drive, CD-ROM, or DVD or by the Network as specified for your particular DVR. Events are usually short time periods, easily less than 30 minutes at a time. Usually 1-5 minutes. You don’t save the entire hard drive since you will be watching 99% of boring daily life around you and nothing of value. Plus the cost of hard drives will add up. If there is an incident that you wish to archive or save, you go to that date and follow the directions provided for your DVR. Then take that backup which will be on a flash drive, DVD or CD-ROM or to a computer and save it in a safe place or give it to the police or insurance company. Or play it on any computer (usually Windows) as the backup will usually contain a small player that can play the video file on any PC. Some DVRs record directly in an AVI format that can be played with a common media player such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime, Real Player or other video player If the file is recorded in that special format, you can convert the file to AVI from the player to give to police, Once it is in the AVI format, any PC or Macintosh computer will be able to play it.

I hope this makes sense. Each DVR is unique but the above is the case for most. Some cheap DVRs don’t offer the backup methods of above and require you to play the video you want to save directly to another recording source such as a DVD recorder or VCR. And remember, even the Macintosh compatible DVRs we sell will not be able to play the proprietary format of the DVR recording. You will need to convert the file to AVI with a Windows PC before viewing the backup on a Apple or Mac machine. Call or email me any questions so I can clarify. Good luck and stay secure.

Why IP

The U-Spy Store is building a large selection of IP Cameras to choose from. For those who may think IP is a bodily function, this mailer will help you understand that IP technology is the latest and fastest growing segment of video security. IP stands for Internet Protocol but don’t let that scare you. It simply means your camera is connected by a wire to your network instead of a recorder. This allows you great advantages. First it allows you great flexibility as to where you can view the cameras and where you can record. Imagine a break in at your home and the burglar steals your DVR. All of your evidence is gone. With an IP camera setup, you can record your home cameras at work, your work cameras at home and you can even record in multiple locations. And you can do all this without a DVR! And there is more……

Not only are you getting the flexibility of off site recording and multiple site recording but now with the IP camera, you have the capability of tripling your resolution or more. A 1.3 Megapixel IP camera has about 4 times the resolution of a typical VGA or analog camera. And there is no hope of ever being able to send a better image on the original camera on RG59 or RG6 cable.

What does better resolution mean? Not just better images with ore detail. The higher resolution camera means you can use less cameras and potentially eliminate the PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) camera. When you record in higher resolution, you have the flexibility to enlarge or zoom into the image at a greater capacity after recording. With an analog camera, you have very limited zooming capabilities. Keep in mind that a 5 Megapixel camera is not uncommon which translates into 12 times the quality of a typical analog camera. There are 16 Megapixel cameras on the market now but at a huge price.

Another great feature of the IP camera is that you will no longer need a DVR to record. Any PC with sufficient storage or even an external hard drive will suffice to record your cameras. And remember, you can configure this recording anywhere in the world with Internet Access.

There are issues to overcome with IP cameras. One issue is network bandwidth. If you are considering more than four 1.3 Megapixel cameras in your home or work network, then you should consider a separate network for your cameras. The heavy data stream from these cameras will big down the network unless you have a sufficient capability.

Another advantage of the IP camera is that most are viewable on a Mac computer. Mac compatibility is always a plus to a Mac user like me. I want to be able to get my Mac Book and view cameras without starting up my Windows software.

Encrypted wireless transmission is another feature on some of the IP cameras. Encrypted or digital signal means you no longer need to fear that your wireless camera will be viewed by others. I am not saying it is impossible, but the chances are greatly diminished since the interceptor would need to hack into your wireless router to do it. It also means no interference from wireless networks and cordless phones. This is a huge benefit to anyone who ever tried using wireless cameras in the cluttered 2.4 bandwidth.

Do You Need a Nanny Cam?

Adding a nanny cam, or in-home surveillance system, used to be for detecting cases of child abuse or endangerment. However, even if you don’t have any concerns over abuse, an indoor surveillance camera and DVR may provide information on your sitter’s, or children’s, accountability.

As technology’s gotten better, the price for in-home surveillance has actually leveled out, or in some cases, prices have lowered. Nanny cams provide piece of mind for parents who work long hours; often, the wireless recorders can be accessed from a work computer, allowing a parent that misses their child to remain in contact with their child’s life.

Child neglect, or abuse, can happen. Some of the warning signs include unexplained bruises or cuts and fear when the sitter, or nanny, arrives. Fussy, or abnormal outbursts are also cause for concern. A child whose disposition has changed drastically may be a child who is being neglected. If you suspect that something is going on that you are not aware of, no price is too much to pay to ensure your loved-ones safety.

Wireless surveillance, and DVR systems, are easy to set up, and are virtually undetectable.  Even if you don’t expect any foul play, an in-home surveillance system is a way to ensure that your child is safe and those who are in your home while you’re away are accountable for their actions. Even if it means feeding the dog while you’re away on vacation.

In most cases, you’ll find that most people act with responsibility and have good intentions. Yet, a casual view, or review, of home activities while away may lead to behaviors that need to be rewarded or addressed. First-hand knowledge of an activity is always the best evidence, and is much more satisfying than conjecture or second-guessing.

Shoplifter Pays With His Life

Saturday morning came and went, mostly quiet. Mostly. However, in Chicago’s Little Village, a man stole tubes of toothpaste at a CVS Pharmacy and was caught. He paid the ultimate price for his theft; he died after the struggle.

The death, resulting from a CVS employee who chased the shoplifter and held him in a choke-hold, has been ruled an accident. A medical examiner ruled the man’s death death a homicide, stating the shoplifter had been strangled. Chicago police, however, are not charging the employee.

“Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?” exclaimed the man’s ex-wife, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The shoplifter, who had served prison time for drug convictions, was still battling substance abuse according to sources. The man’s family requested a full investigation into the incident, including statements made by witnesses that an off-duty police officer was on the scene.

Chicago Police deny claims that an off-duty officer was identified in witness statements. Other witnesses, asking to remain anonymous, stated that an officer identified themselves and drew a sidearm, pointing it at the downed man, warning him to stop resisting the CVS employee and other men who were holding the struggling shoplifter.

Chicago Police spokesperson stated that by the time officers arrived, the man was unconscious and that there was no evidence of officer involvement. However, surveillance video from a recorder is being reviewed to identify the participants to identify any actions that may have led to the man’s death. The CPD also asked for any other witnesses to step forward and contact detectives.

Initially described as being in serious condition, the shoplifter was declared dead 45-minutes after police arrived.

A CVS spokesman stated that the company was also reviewing video footage.

While security is a problem for many stores in Chicago, causing them to raise the price on various items, toothpaste doesn’t seem to warrant the harsh outcome of this tragic situation. Retailers, outfitted with surveillance equipment and DVRs, still aren’t able to identify, and catch, those that feel the need to steal from the stores.

Crime Does Not Discriminate: Chicago PD’s #3 Man is Burglarized

How would you like to find out via the news that the house you burgled last night happens to be that of a Chicago Police Officer? To a thief, I think that this would be rather, er, trying. In the same situation, what would you do if you found out the Police Officer was actually a CPD Official, namely Deputy Superintendent Steve Peterson, two steps down from the top position at the Chicago Police Department?

If it were me, I’d move. Forever. I understand that out of fairness, all cases should be treated with equal weight, but we are all human; thus, crime hits us harder if we, or those close to us,  are the victims. People…like our boss. Even more unfortunate for the crooks is the fact that Peterson is in-charge of the detective’s division… Do you think that they’ll be motivated to solve this case?

A note to those trafficking in stolen goods: Avoid 50-inch flat screen TVs and .357 Magnums like H1N1…they’re two items reported missing from Peterson’s home.

U-Spy Store has worked with law enforcement on numerous investigations over our twenty-plus years, and THE best lesson we’ve learned is: Crime Never Discriminates, it is an equal opportunity destroyer. Thus, we always advise our clients that it’s better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best;  in the long-run, it saves time, money, and, at times, lives.

If you need recommendations on increasing security at your home or place of business, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We provide free-estimates and carry a variety of home/business protection equipment. Our phone number is 773-529-2779. Or, feel free to drop us an Email

“Coplifter” Gets Nabbed for Theft

The dark underbelly of crime is a malevolent, violent world which most have never witnessed; unless, of course, they live their lives in that world. Most, if not all, illegal activities stem from the same place. From the 50,000 foot view, all of the pieces interlock to form a “hierarchy” of criminal activities.

Think of it this way: at the bottom end, the grifters, petty thieves, and car burglars, usually younger and less experienced, often amusing, place. Some crimes, after being committed, leave us scratching our heads and wondering, “What were they thinking?” As we’ve alluded to before, video surveillance is being used on an increasing basis to not only deter or document criminal activities, but as a means of stretching available resources, doing “more” with “less.” Where businesses often had a security team, they are now able to have strategically placed security personnel that, with radios and camera surveillance, can cover a larger area in a more effective and efficient manner.

A ruined career for a hundred or so bucks. Crime obviously does not pay. Although the officer denied the charges, the Judge stated that the games ‘certainly left the site’ after watching the CCTV evidence. Video doesn’t lie.

If you need to set up video surveillance, please let us know. U-Spy has been in the surveillance field for 20 years and can answer any questions you might have. Email us, at USpy Store,  or give us a call at (773) 529-2779.