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Choosing a CCTV system

Choosing the right CCTV system !

Without getting too technical you need to understand the basics when deciding which CCTV system to go for. 

CCTV systems comprise the same main components from the cheapest DIY systems to the most sophisticated  multi-camera surveillance systems. 

HD or AHD (analogue high definition) systems are becoming the norm now as prices have come down to older standard equipment prices. If your considering buying a system now then you want HD !

Components are as follows:

DVR – This is the hub of the system where the cameras connect and recordings are made. The DVR has to be connected to your internet router if you want to monitor the cameras remotely.  

Cameras – Different types of camera and features are available depending on location, coverage and light etc.

Power & Cable  – How cameras are powered and connected either using coaxial or data cable. 

DVR basics
DVR stands for Digital video recorder.  
Choose the type of DVR
Choose the number of camera inputs required for now and future use.
Choose the size of internal hard drive space required for continuous recording.
Consider the quality of recording required.

Up to 16 cameras
For use with up to 16 cameras you would choose either a standard DVR, a HD DVR or if upgrading with existing camera you may use a hybrid system capable of working with existing standard cameras, HD and IP cameras.

Over 16 cameras and automation systems
If your using with an automation system or in commercial with  more than 16 cameras you will consider using a NVR which means Network Video Recorder and IP cameras.   These are used within a network where cameras are connected using Ethernet cable for power and video. 

Camera basics
Choose type of camera (see below)
Choose fixed or zoom lens for required coverage
Choose IR range
Choose colour of camera if available

Cable 
Standard, HD, SDI, TVI and HD-SDi connect via coax and BNC with a separate power feed. Data cable can be adapted although we always recommend installing coax for these types of cameras where possible. IP cameras connect via data cable. 

Eyeball Dome
These are the most popular camera available in White or Black and weather proof. 

Vandal Dome
Used in sensitive areas although not indestructible they are housed in a more robust casing with security bolts. 

Bullet/Weatherproof
Most cameras are weather proof but these have a protective cover to reduce water droplets from distorting the image. These are more obtrusive then domes and more of an obvious deterrent. 

Turrett
A hybrid of a dome and weatherproof camera sometimes incorporate more powerful illuminators. 

Covert
Built into clocks, PIRs and smoke alarms etc.  Usually for internal use only. 

PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom)
These have built in motors that move the camera and zoom in on the image.  Usually used in commercial premises like shops or car lots where it may be necessary to track and zoom in on individuals. 

Virtual PTZ
360 degree fish eye cameras are now availble with multiple lenses that enable the user to digitally zoom anywhere in the image. 

Standard or IP
Standard, HD, SDI, TVI and HD-SDi connect via coax and BNC with a separate power feed. It is possible to connect via data cable using adaptors. If  it is a new install we recommend using coaxial cable. 
IP cameras only really connect via data cable. 

Camera Features
Features will depend on your requirements based on coverage required location and available light. 

Resolution
There is a big difference from the lowest resolution 420TVL cameras to the highest resolution IP cameras of around 6MP.  The higher the resolution , the clearer the image will be. Most good value HD cameras are currently around 2MP. 

Lens 
These are either fixed wide angle or adjustable depending on the coverage required.  There will also be a difference in the actual quality of lenses with the same features so spending a little more can make a big difference in picture quality and reliability etc. 

Day/Night
Most cameras have infa red illuminators built in to help the camera see in the dark. These are seen as a faint red glow to the human eye but work like a torch beam to the camera with a strong beam at the centre getting weaker at the edges. the more emitters the further the camera will see in the dark. Stand alone illuminators can be added for even better coverage. 

Remote monitoring
All systems now offer the ability to view footage remotely via the internet on a phone, tablet and PC etc. This requires the DVR or NVR to be connected to a router. You then need either a fixed IP or DYN address to access the cameras . Ports need to be enabled on the router to allow the streams. Ports will vary depending on the particular DVR. There are apps for phone and tables. PCs sometimes require software to be downloaded to be able to monitor live footage and others work directly via a web browser (usually Explorer).  

We can setup port forwarding and supply a DYN address. 

System quality & reliability 
There are dozens of CCTV systems available for all budgets. We don’t install or recommend cheap off the shelf systems often found online or in discount stores.  There are also dozens of companies offering discounted systems and nationwide installation. 

Local service and backup
We only use the best value vs quality equipment and always survey first to discuss requirements and agree all costs before we install. 
We dont charge monthly maintenance fees or tie you into any form of contract. 

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