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What is the Difference Between Normal, Smart, and Custom(Event) Playback when using a Monitor on a Hikvision NVR?


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Every so often customers have reported issues and confusion around the different playback options on Hikvision NVRs when using a direct monitor, one of the most common issues is users reporting that the event markers for Smart Event are not displaying correctly or at all in the Smart Playback menu. We have tested this ourselves and also experienced problems so we took the issue to Hikvision Support and they have now clarified with us the purpose of the 3 different types playback - Normal/Smart/Custom - which we have tested and our explanation of all 3 playback modes is below:

Normal Playback - here you are just seeing all the recorded footage, whether that is motion or continuous, and you will also see event markers in red here for any basic/smart events you have enabled. Double-check basic motion detection for your camera under events menu because sometimes motion detection is enabled by default and so you will be getting motion notifications/markers in the playback as well as your selected smart events, and as there is no definition between different types of event (they all show in red) have motion enabled can trigger many more markers that you don't want .

Smart Playback - This is where it gets a little confusing, so Smart playback is not actually for the smart events you have enabled in the Events menu, what it is actually for is a smart ability to scan all your recorded footage for either motion/line crossing/intrusion detection whether or not you have any of those events enabled on those cameras. So, for example, you can hover over the playback image and select line crossing (see below), draw a line on the playback image, click the search button (magnifying glass), and the event markers in the playback will change to show you any person or object that has passed that line you have drawn on the footage. Now, because this smart setting is happening on NVR side instead of inside the camera the accuracy of it is not 100% but it can be a useful feature if you need to find something on a camera that doesn't have events set, has events set but in a different part of the scene, or cannot have events set at all. (footnote to this comment, we did try this feature with some ONVIF cameras connect to our Hikvision NVR and it didn't work so it is a feature exclusive to Hik cameras)


Custom Playback - If you click "Custom Search" in the bottom left of the playback window you will open a window that allows you to search by the specific basic/smart events you have enabled (see below), this is useful in situations where you have cameras running multiple events because you can search for one specific type of event and only see those ones rather than seeing all the event markers as you do in Normal Playback.


When you perform the custom search you will have 1 of 2 options as to how you view the Event notifications, you can either view them in a list format (see below) which allows you to select individual Event notifications and play them back, or you can exit the search and your search results will be displayed as Event markers on the playback timeline. Another big feature of both Smart & Custom Playback is the 'Play Strategy' menu (see below) which allows you to not only adjust the playback speed of continuous and event recording, allowing you to fast forward through non-Event footage, but you can also enable the 'Do Not Play Normal Video' function that allows you to skip over any normal continuous footage and only playback the Events. One final thing I should point out about the Custom Playback is that the search parameters stay locked in until you manually wipe them, so if you wanted to only ever use the custom search function for line crossing you can just leave a search for line crossing locked in. (although you may have to change the search date if you want to look for a specific event on a specific date)


In relation to this you can also check for any basic/smart event notification by clicking the notification bell in the top right of the screen, here you can see all the different notification types you have received (e.g. Basic Events/Smart Events/Camera disconnect/Abnormal Shutdown/etc...) from every camera/channel on your NVR.

What About K-series NVRs?

All of the above, as you will have seen from the screenshots, is in relation to I-series NVRs running the 4.0 GUI, If you are running a K-series NVR with the older GUI the Playback menu will look different but all of the above features are available on those NVRs, you just have to look in different places. By default, the Playback menu on a K-series NVR will open on the Normal/Smart page, on this page you can view Normal & Smart Playback the same as was described above. If you want to view specific Events, as you do with the Custom Search on the I-series NVRs, you will need to click the drop-down in the top left of the screen that says Normal/Smart and then select the Event page. Once there you will see the interface is fairly similar to the Custom Search page, select an Event Type from the drop-down in the top right of the screen, select a camera, select a date, and click search. The only major difference with the K-series NVRs is that you can, after searching, navigate through a list of the individual Event notifications, but you cannot see these Events displayed all together in the timeline like you can with the I-series NVRs.


New Member
My model DS7204 HQI-K1. Serial: C989XXXX7B.
For the past couple of weeks playback has jumped to 6th October 2019. I generally need to see yesterday and a day or two previous.
To get to the most recent I have to change setting to 24hours and drag the tool bar along until I reach the most recent.
How do I set it to show more up to date than 6th October?
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