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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. 

All  the CCTV systems we now sell are HD quality from 2MP with 4MP and 5MP being the best value vs price and 8MP being the best resolution available at a reasonable cost.  

Components are as follows:

DVR/NVR – This is the hub of the system where the cameras connect and recordings are made onto . The DVR/NVR 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 available light etc.

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

DVR/NVR basics
DVR stands for Digital video recorder for use with AHD or TVI cameras.
NVR stands for Network video recorder for use with IP cameras.
Some Hybrid recorders do both analogue and IP but restricted. 
Choose the type of system IP or AHD/TVI 
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 image recording required 2MP to 8MP
 

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 MP resolution
Choose IR range
Choose colour of camera if available
 

Cable 
Standard TVL and AHD cameras connect to the recorder  via coax cable and power.  TVI cameras work via one coaxial cable for power and video.  Data cable can be adapted although we always recommend installing coax for these types of cameras where possible. IP cameras connect via ethernet data cabling cat 5/6.

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. Note these suffer from IR reflection off the inner case in the dark.  

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 IR 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. 

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 8MP.  The higher the resolution , the clearer the image will be. Budget HD cameras are currently around 2MP. Mid range 5MP and top end 8MP.

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 phone/tablet
All systems now offer the ability to view footage remotely via the internet on a phone, tablet and PC etc.  All systems work using an app and its simply a case of scanning a QR code to add the device. 

Remote monitoring on a PC
You can link to the camera system locally via an internet browser (usually Explorer). If you want to view the cameras externally then you will either need a fixed IP or 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. 

We offer FREE local survey and detailed quotes. 

We give a 2 year parts and labour warranty with all our installations. 

We are based in Tunbridge Wells and cover the following areas:

  • Tonbridge
  • Sevenoaks
  • Crowborough
  • Kingshill
  • Edenbridge 
  • Uckfield
  • Heathfield 
  • Hailsham

We also sell mail order and to the trade.  Trade contact phil@satshop.co.uk 

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