Mac Compatible Surveillance System

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    Mike Haldas

    A customer looking for a Mac compatible surveillance system recently contacted CCTV Camera Pros. We hope that the below dialog that we originally captured via email will help answer surveillance system compatibility questions for other Macintosh computer users.

    Customer's initial email inquiry:

    Our office just switched from windows based computer systems to Macintosh computers, specifically iMacs. The only problem is that our current CCTV DVRs do not support Mac, so we are no longer able to view our cameras over out network or remotely over the Internet.

    We are looking for a surveillance system that we can download the video off the DVR onto a flash drive, plug it into our iMacs and editing the video files for our web show.

    Our current DVRs can not do this. So to recap this is what we need:

    1. A DVR that we can take to investigations and save video to the hard drive.
    2. Go back to the office and pull the video off the hard drive via usb key or dvd.
    3. Take the usb key and/or dvd put it in our iMacs and start viewing it and editing it.

    Is this possible with the iDVR? All other companies say "no, they can not do it its a pc based system". But with the name of iDVR, I was hoping that this stand alone DVR might be the answer to our problems.


    CCTV Camera Pros response:

    Thank You for contacting CCTV Camera Pros. Yes, the following iDVR models support exporting surveillance video to a USB drive and playing back the video on Mac computers: iDVR-E4, iDVR-E8, iDVR-E16, and iDVR-RT16. All of these DVR models can be found on this page:

    On this page, you will find the remote video surveillance playback instructions which guides you through the process of accessing recorded video on the iDVR and playing it back using the Mac DVR viewer software (included with the iDVR) over a network or Internet connection.

    The process almost exactly the same for playing back exported video on a USB thumb drive and this is described in the second half of the support article on that page.

    Please note that after I just read that support article, I realized that the USB export and playback process for Mac is not as clear as the remote Internet playback instructions, so I am going to have a support engineer write a separate article specifically to cover how to play back exported video on Mac. So, in case this information is moved before you click on the above link and you do not see what I am talking about, just email me back and I will point you to the link of the new support article.

    One last thing: you mentioned editing the video. I assume that you did not mean that this functionality was built into the DVR and that you would be able to use the video on the Mac.

    Customer's reply:

    In response to your question about editing. I was hoping to edit the video in Apples iMovie maker software.

    I guess i should ask when I down load the video from the DVR what format is it in? Is it mpeg, mov, etc?

    I was hoping i could take it off the DVR and start editing it on my iMac. Or, will i need to convert the file?

    CCTV Camera Pros reply:

    Unfortunately, in our testing this is not possible with the iDVR. The files are exported in a format that is designed to be played back on the Mac client software that is included with our iDVR. They are not generic .avi or .mov files that can be edited directly on a Mac.

    I will send you one of the files so that you can test yourself. Maybe we are missing something.

    Customer's reply after testing the file:

    Well, I guess I need to keep looking. I was hoping when I seen the iDVR in the web search it was the answer I was looking for.

    I like that I can watch the videos from the the iDVR on my Mac, however I really need the ability to convert them to a workable file to edit and upload to the net.

    I tried opening the file you sent with VLC but it did not even recognize the file type, I also tried opening/converting it in wondershare video converter with the same problem.

    The kicker is Apple computers in my mind are a hell of a lot better than the windows based systems. On my other 8 dvrs I have I can download the video from the dvr in h.264 format, then I convert it with VLC to an AVI file and then I open it and edit with with my media software.

    However, with my Apple I guess this just does not work. I have tried taking my video from my DVR and converting it and opening it in my Apple no luck. the other business state it is because the DVR is a windows based system and not Mac. But here I am with yours and I still can not convert the file since VLC and WonderShare has no idea what the format is. I am assuming the format is not a .264 or h.264 since the file I have from you is a .d

    If this is the case does the iDVR have the ability to save the video on the USB key as a .264 format? therefore allowing me to convert it to a AVI and then edit?

    If so that would be great, right now my 8 DVR are nothing but paper weights, I might have to bust down and buy a windows based system so I can do my converting and then take the finished product to my apple to play and edit, but I really do not want to do all that running around.

    Then again maybe the file is bad that you sent, although it states it is 15+ min long in VLC, but it just wont convert.

    CCTV Camera Pros reply:

    There is an AVI converter for the iDVR files, however the video converter is a windows application, so this may defeat the whole purpose. It can be downloaded here:

    We do have another Mac compatible DVR which is our NUUO NVR Titan. This DVR is MAC Compatible and can export surveillance video in formats that are compatible with Mac.


    When backing up video footage on the Titan DVR, allows you to backup using a couple different file types. Please see below screen capture of the video export screen.


    I exported one of each video type for you to test: .asf, .avi original, .avi microsoft., and .mov file. All of the files are located on our FTP server in a zip file. Here is a link to the download:

    Results reported from customer:

    Of the 4 files, three worked, one did not, and required a codec file.

    These worked just fine:




    CCTV Camera Pros Summary

    Both the iDVR video surveillance DVRs and the NUUO NVR Titan NVR are excellent choices for customers shopping for a Mac compatible surveillance system. Most customers do not have the need to edit video surveillance files after they are capture (as this customer did), so the iDVR is the most economical choice.

    Actually, this is kind of counter-intuitive because video surveillance footage is meant to be precisely preserved. Any editing deems video surveillance corrupt in court, however, this customer was not using the footage for that purpose. This was a paranormal investigation team that wanted to post videos captured online for entertainment and journalistic purposes.

    If you are reading this and have additional questions about surveillance systems that can be accessed from Mac, please post your questions, email us at, or call us at 1-561-433-8488.


    Is this also viewable using iPad or iPhone, just need to have special app like IP camera?

    Katy Clemmans

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