How to Pick the Best Video Surveillance System
CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is definitely one of the ideal security components. While they can capture video of what is happening in your facility and store the footage for future reference, CCTV systems also act as a deterrent for those who would wish to engage in undesirable activities.
CCTV systems can be limited to one camera and monitor without any sort of recording device or multiple cameras with a recorder (typically a digital video recorder, commonly called a DVR). The "closed circuit" in CCTV means the video from the cameras will only be available on a closed system with limited access instead of being broadcasted over an open air frequency.
Making the choice
Choosing your CCTV set-up can be a daunting task. One must weigh multiple considerations in order to come up with the custom system that suits their needs. Here are a few pointers, hints and tips to help you decide what options work best for you.
Digital or analogue is often the biggest question purchasers have. For storage of footage and clarity of picture, digital is the obvious choice. Though a bit pricier than analogue, digital offers a wider selection of options such as remote viewing and cloud storage. There are some digital conversion kits that will make the bridge between digital recording and analogue cameras, for the cost, the purchaser could simply buy new digital cameras.
Once you have decided on a digital or analogue system, here are some other considerations to take into account:
- Location of your camera or cameras. Will you be using your cameras out of doors, indoors or a combination of both? Some cameras can be used indoors or outdoors, while others require an enclosure to protect them from the elements.
- How many shots will you need? Single camera systems can ranged from $200-$500 for a camera, DVR and monitor, while a set up that engages 12 cameras, DVR, and monitor can run as high as $1,700. Remember that you can add cameras later if you need to when you have a digital system.
- Functions are another thought to bear in mind. Some CCTV cameras also double as motion detectors (they are passive until they detect motion), can be wireless, and can have several resolution settings. Additionally, some systems offer mobile apps for viewing on your mobile device and remotely from your home or office. In some cases, a TPZ (tilt, pan, zoom) solution is a good idea, but will cost more.
- Lighting will always be a factor. In areas that remain well lit at all times, camera type barely matters. In areas with low light, a camera with low light settings should be installed.
- Check for compatibility when doing your comparison shopping. Some systems are wholly proprietary which could cause you problems down the line and will certainly limit your expandability option in the short term.
Getting your system installed
In some cases installing your own system is not a bad idea. Installing more than two cameras, particularly digital cameras, could require an installer. Installers have experience in different camera and network types, thus qualifying them more so than the average person. Additionally, most will offer a warranty which might save you time and money.
When choosing an installer, look for the following:
- Is the vender familiar with businesses similar to yours?
- Does the vendor allow on-site visits to their facilities to see how they operate?
- Does the vendor provide full-on demonstrations of how certain equipment works?
- Does the vendor have references that you can contact?
- Can install your system quickly, in the guaranteed timeframe?
- Are they members in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
- Can the vendor give an itemized quote?
All of these are factors in deciding what type of CCTV equipment you will need. Remember to comparative shop when taking bids for an installer and that package deals are always less expensive than buying your system a piece at a time. High caliber deals exist that will save the purchaser more than a couple of dollars on cameras, DVRs, software, and monitors.Ready to Compare Video Surveillance Systems Price Quotes?