Do Not Buy A Complete Security Camera System Until You Read This! Leave a comment

Buying a complete system can save you a lot of effort and it is designed to run together. They are generally good quality and may be less expensive due to the package deal but there may be needs that a prepackaged system can’t meet. Piecing it out can allow the user to tailor it to their specific needs. It also allows you to not purchase the things you don’t need. CCTV security systems can be a bit overwhelming but I’ll break it down for you and show you what you’ll need. Now let’s take a look at your options and develop a plan.  

Cameras

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is the type of camera you want. Your main options are analog, analog HD or IP (Network). Analog cameras will require cabling to be ran for both power and video signal transmission. IP cameras send the video signal via the internet and therefore do not require the second cable. Although some IP cameras come with an internal battery, most will still utilize a cable to a constant power supply for greater reliability.

You will also need to decide on a camera style, for this you should consider its purpose and location. The most common camera styles are box, bullet, dome and turret. These also come with different lens types: fixed, varifocal and PTZ. There is a lot of information to discuss here so I will refer you to another one of my blog posts to for an in-depth explanation. The information is centered on IP cameras, but the camera and lens styles are also available in analog. The main things you’ll want to consider is how discrete you want it, what area you are trying to capture, and how much control over the image you have.

Recording Device

Next, you’ll want to decide on a video recording device. If you decided IP cameras were for you, then you need a Network Video Recorder (NVR); if you selected analog you will need some form of Digital Video Recorder (DVR). The key here is to get the right one, if you want to run HD video cameras, you will need a hybrid DVR. A hybrid DVR would also be useful if you decide on SD analog at first but may want to upgrade in the future. This would allow you to use all your cameras on the same DVR. You will also want to check that the recorder can support the number of cameras you want to use, or possibly add in the future. If you can’t decide on one camera type however, you could go with an HD TVI DVR. This would allow the use of all three camera types via one video recorder. An HD TVI DVR translates the video feed into digital files allowing connection to IP cameras via a CAT5e cable.  One final consideration is extra hard drive storage. This becomes more crucial as your number of cameras increases because the amount of stored footage is also increasing. 

Cables/Connectors

Now you will need to pick out the correct cables and connectors to match both your cameras and video recording device. It is important to note that you should not skimp here, buy good quality cables and connectors to ensure your system functions properly. There’s nothing worse than investing in a high end system, only to put in cheap cables that cause it to fail, especially when you need it most. If you chose analog or analog HD you will likely require coaxial cables to transmit your video signal directly to the DVR. If you chose IP you will likely need a CAT5e cable. You will also need to find the proper cable to connect to your power supply. It is important to note that you will also need to find the proper connectors for the cables to fit your system, this information will depend on your previous selections, just make sure they match so everything fits together. 

Power Supplies

Furthermore, you will need a power supply system to operate all of your devices, 12V DC and 24V AC are your two most common options. You will need to ensure these match your video recording device and cameras. You may also need batteries for some of the IP cameras that support them.

Mounts/Housings

Now that you have the basis of your customized system complete, let’s take a look at some important accessories you may need. Depending on how and where your camera is positioned, different styles of mounts and housings may be required. For instance, if placing a camera outside, a weatherproof housing may be necessary. When deciding on mounts, consider where the camera is going to be positioned and how to best attach it there to capture the most useful footage.

Misc.

Finally, let’s examine some miscellaneous items and accessories you may want to consider. A monitor may be necessary for you depending on how you plan to view your camera feed. Some people using IP cameras prefer viewing directly from a phone or tablet. However, some systems do not support this functionality and will require a monitor. You may also check into using an IR illuminator. This is incredibly useful for outdoor cameras trying to capture footage at night. Users may also want to utilize motion sensors, alarms, and intercoms in conjunction with their camera system for increased security.  Additionally, some cameras such as PTZ offer controllers to maneuver the camera as you please.

Read Previously: Hikvision OEM vs. Hikvision USA

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