Selecting A Home CCTV System
Selecting a home CCTV system can be a daunting task. This is because there are different types of technology available for CCTV systems such as:
- Analogue CCTV
- IP CCTV
- Wireless CCTV
- Wired CCTV
- Indoor and outdoor CCTV.
- Night vision CCTV.
Then you got the minefield of all the different brands. The guide below makes selecting a home CCTV system much easier by providing you with the pros and cons of each system.
Analogue CCTV Security System
Analogue systems are generally cheaper than digital ones. They work by sending an analog video signal from the camera to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), via a coax cable. Each camera has its own power supply. Sometimes the power cable and coax signal cable are connected together via a special RG59 Siamese cable.
The purpose of the DVR is to convert the analog signal received by the cameras, into a digital one. This signal is then compressed and stored on a hard drive. A home owner can then access the software on the DVR, and play back camera footage. A good DVR will allow the home owner to configure scheduling, digital zoom and motion detection. DVR’s are viewed via a monitor which can be plugged in, with advanced systems allowing remote viewing via internet.
Analogue Resolutions Avaiable (Typical):
360 x 240 (CIF)
720 x 576 (D1)
960 x 576 (960H)
Digital IP CCTV Security System
When selecting a home CCTV system, digital technology is best if you can afford it. These types of CCTV camera’s use your network or internet portal (IP) to send the signal to your computer’s router, giving you access to footage over the internet from remote locations. Video footage from your camera is usually stored on a Network Video Recorder (NVR), which can be accessed remotely over the internet. A home owner can then playback recordings or adjust settings such as schedualing and camera zoom.
IP cameras are superior to analogue ones, due to there higher resolutions. The best analogue cameras typically offer a maximum resolution of 720 x 480 (known as D1). Whereas digital IP cameras offer a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 (High Definition, 1 megapixel). You get even get digital IP camera capable of 33 megapixel resolutions (8K UHD).
Digital Resolutions Avaiable (Typical):
1280 x 720 (1MP or 720P. HD)
1280 x 960 (SXGA or 960P. HD)
1280 x 1024 (1.3MP. HD)
1920 x 1080 (2MP or 1080P. Full HD)
1920 x 1200 (2.3MP. HD)
2048 x 1536 (3MP. HD)
2592 x 1520 (4MP. HD)
2560 x 1960 (5MP. HD)
3072 x 2048 (6MP. HD)
3840 x 2160 (4K UHD)
7680 x 4320 (8K UHD)
Wireless or Wired CCTV Systems?
Many home oweners can become confused about wireless technology when it comes to selecting a home CCTV system. The one that is most sutiable for you will depend upon your situation, and how easy it is to intall wired systems.
About Wireless Systems
Wireless camera’s work by transmitting the video and audio signal through air to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for analogue systems, or to an Network Video Recorded (NVR) with a build in wireless Access Point (AP).
Wireless cameras do require a 9 – 12V DC power source, which consists of a power wire connected into the camera from a mains power source. The advantage of wireless system is that a signal cable does need to be run from your camera to the DVR box.
Wireless camera’s have a certain wireless signal range. This range is decreased if the signal has to travel though materials such as brick walls. The type of material will affect the signal differently. For example, windows and plasterboard wall may not effect it that much, whereas brick and concrete will. Ideally your DVR should be located close to your wireless cameras to ensure the wireless signal strength is high.
- Wireless camera’s come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
- Easy to install.
- More flexibility when it comes to the location of your cameras.
- Wireless camera’s can save you money on installation costs, as less wire will need to be routed through your home.
About Wired Systems
Wired security cameras usually have two wires. One is connected to the mains power, via an AC-12DC adaptor plug. The other is a signal wire that travels to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for analogue systems, or via a wired network for digital IP systems.
- A very secure signal connection, as there is minimal interference. Wireless systems risk loosing signal, meaning your camera footage can be disrupted.
- Wired cameras do not have a range limitation. Signal strength of wireless cameras become weaker when travelling through walls.
- Less risk of a wired connection being hacked. Wireless systems are open to hacking, as the signal travelling through air can be intercepted.
- Less time lag as a signal travells faster through a wire, rather than through air as in the wireless systems.
About CCTV Camera Image Quality
Resolution is important when it comes to selecting a home CCTV system. Higher resolutions provide a clearer and sharper images compared to lower ones.
The size and type of light detecting chip used in cameras also play a major role in image quality. CMOS chips (1/4″) are lower quality than larger CCD (1/3″) ones. The larger the chip, higher the quality as bigger chips are able to pick up more light.
Camera can also have different sensitivities to light. This is important if you need a good quality image in low light levels. Camera light sensitively is measured in lux. This can be in the range of 0.001 – 130,000 lux. Lower lux levels means a better image in low light conditions.
Overall the most important factor is the resolution, as this helps capture small details.