Surveillance System TIPs
The best value in surveillance systems are found in bundles. The best prices will be found in 4 channel DVR system bundles. You will soon develop an appreciation of being able to monitor the outside of your home or business because you can now see it from the comfort of displays you have inside; you will love your ability to view activity at your home or business remotely. If you plan your system selection and installation I can assure you that you will arrive at a point that you want to expand it. Because of this reasoning, we seldom recommend purchasing a non-expandable 4 channel DVR system.
In almost all cases, we will recommend an 8 channel DVR. . An 8 channel DVR with 4 cameras is a good start and an ideal purchase for the budget conscious consumer. Four cameras mounted away from your structure with concealed cables can give you full external coverage of a typical home or small business if those cameras are equipped with wide angle lens (4mm or below). As the value of your system grows on you, in time, you will decide where you want to place additional cameras to cover blind spots. Those additional cameras may be a better fit if they are equipped with a different lens; maybe you will want to add a PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) to give you the ability to control the movement of the camera and zoom it; remotely.
Analog systems have been around for generations but were pricey so they were not commonly installed in homes and small business. Bundles are now available that will fit the demand of most. Older cameras had 380TVL’s that did not produce ideal images. Today’s better analog cameras range upwards to 900TVL’s. Higher end models are HD compatible and record much clearer images that will play back in detail; thus narrowing the once wide gap between consumer grade and commercial systems.
A growing trend now is towards IP cameras. These HD cameras are priced higher and come with resolutions that are measured in megapixels (1, 2, 3 and 5 are typical). IP systems are further narrowing the gap between consumer grade and commercial systems. IP cameras do not require a control console and can operate via an Internet connection independently; you can start out with one camera. Some cameras have SD card options that will allow event recording and remote view options. When more than one IP camera is installed an NVR (Network Video Recorder) is needed. A typical NVR will work very similar to a DVR. It will display the system’s capacity of cameras on a single screen, record and play back events, and it will have outputs that will allow the managed images of multiple cameras to be displayed on additional monitors, displays and mobile devices, just as a DVR does. Third party options are available that will allow you to expand the display options to as many displays as you want to in your home or business. Imagine having a display of all cameras throughout your home or in every managers office, the secretary and security guards office at work. These expandable options are available for both DVR and NVR systems.
Most systems advertise the ability to view your camera images via any Internet connection and your Smartphone. Your system may require port routing and or subscribing to a DNS service to get this feature working. I have changed ISP providers several times and this change has always required that the remote configuration be reconfigured; this is not an easy task for most. If your ISP or the vendor that sells the system does not offer full support for this feature then prepare to be passed on to the other vendor and eventually you will have to figure out how to make it work on your own. Few owners will want to admit the vast amount of time they had to spend to get the remote view option working; most will simply give up; some actually get it working on the first try (congrats). If you get a system working and your ISP changes the public IP address thats assigned to your account (all Internet connection have a private and public IP scheme) and your DNS service is not configured properly your systems remote access will likely stop working. Look for systems that come with cloud services for establishing remote view connection that do not require port routing, port forwarding, DMZ configurations, firewall configuration changes or DNS services and you will save a lot of time and grief.
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The Signature Surveillance team