Product Review: NVT’s NV-32PS42-PVD Active Receiver Hub

NVT NV-32PS42-PVD brings analog cameras into the IP world. Will it work for your campus?

The NVT StubEQ product line allows an integrator to universally run Cat-5 (or better) cable to analog cameras, providing an upgrade path for IP cameras in the future without replacing infrastructure. Hubs are available in eight-, 16- and 32-channel configurations, and each unit allows for a common interface for a number of cameras, sending out pan/tilt/zoom data and power and receiving analog video signals. They actively condition the video signal received from each camera (via a companion balun at the camera end), equalize it to compensate for line loss and some types of interference, and provide transient protection. Cameras can be run up to 1,500 feet with minimal loss in video quality; if greater distances are required, NVT has other products that are more suitable. We tested the 32-channel model, but all units are electronically identical, save for the dual analog video outputs on the eight- and 16-channel versions, and only a single power transformer in the eight-channel model.

The NV-32 is a beast. At just over 24 pounds in a 1RU chassis, care must be taken in handling it. Construction was extremely solid, with a very rigid chassis, no doubt enhanced by the 18 screws used to hold the top panel to the bottom tray. In tabletop configuration, the stick-on rubber feet can be applied, and a set of front rack-mount brackets are also provided. When rack mounting, we strongly recommend it be supported from the rear as well, and NVT has an optional rear-mount bracket available. We question providing the front bracket without the rear for all but the lighter (13-pound) eight-channel unit. An optional wall-mounting bracket is provided too.

Opening the unit up showed solid construction, with a well thought-out layout considering the amount of components contained in this, the largest unit. The only design flaw we noted was the use of hot glue to support four pairs of capacitors to the bottom of the chassis. The capacitors had broken loose, secured to each other but not to the chassis. Operationally this had no impact, and it is possible the glue was there to keep them secure during shipment.

We also noted that, after removing the top cover (with those 18 screws), the screw-hole pattern was perfectly symmetrical. This meant the cover could easily be reinstalled backwards. Doing so would severely impact ventilation, as the vent holes would be reversed, placing them over the backplane and not the higher current circuitry. While there are no user-serviceable parts inside, it is not uncommon for folks to open up a product if something goes wrong, and this problem could be easily remedied by altering the screw-hole pattern providing ventilation holes on both the front and back of the top cover, or simply indicating which side is the “front” of the panel with a sticker.

A two-foot patch cable is included for each video output. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of these cables, which included molded strain reliefs and were extremely flexible.

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