Guide to Selecting a Security Camera System
What You Need to Know About Security Cameras Before You Buy!
When you are choosing a system for you home it is important to first know what you need for each location you want to cover. Then shop for the appropriate system to get the job done. While I won’t be able to cover every aspect here that I would in a personal consultation, this should give you some insight into things you should keep in mind. First, a few things about the options you will have to consider.
WHAT TYPE OF CAMERA
Infrared (IR) used for night vision, Dome cameras, Pro Box cameras, Pan tilt zoom cameras & Hidden cameras, Indoor / Outdoor rated, Wireless or Wired? (Example: If the location is going to be in direct sunlight then you won’t want to use a dome camera because at some point during the morning and evening the camera will be blinded by the sun. A camera that has a shield over the lens would be a better choice for this location.)
WHAT RESOLUTION DO YOU NEED FOR THE LOCATION
TYPES: QCIF, CIF, 2CIF, 4CIF, D1, 720p HD, 960p HD, 1.3MP, 2MP, 1080pHD, 3MP, 4MP, 5MP, 8MP, 12MP. (Example: If you are covering a front door and the camera is 10 feet away then a camera with 2, 3, 4 or, 5MP might be fine, however if you are trying to cover a driveway or more importantly the street in front of your driveway which might by more than 50 feet away then 5MP is the bare minimum. An 8 MP or 12MP is a better choice for this kind of coverage. I will cover this in more detail later.)
WILL YOU NEED A DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDER (DVR) OR A NETWORK VIDEO RECORDER (NVR)
A DVR is used for cameras that use coaxial cable and can have a maximum resolution up to 1080P and typically have shorter distance capabilities. A DVR camera system requires power supplies for each camera. An NVR is used for cameras that use Cat5e or Cat6, Cat6e and have resolutions that can exceed 12MP. An NVR system doesn’t require power for each camera because the power and video signal is sent through the Cat5e/Cat6 cable. This type of system has a greater distance capability as well.
HOW MANY CAMERAS AND WHAT LOCATIONS ARE MOST IMPORTANT
Not always, but most of the time a residential burglary / home invasion happens between 8am and 130PM. This is the time frame that most people either have left for work, drop off children or get coffee and run a few errands. The average break in lasts 3.5 minutes or less. Police response times vary but are usually over that time due to the fact that they have a large area to cover and often more pressing calls that get priority over an alarm call that may possibly be a false alarm. A good security alarm may tell you when something happens such as a break in or a smoke alarm goes off, and sometimes give you a heads up to get somewhere safe if the alarm is tripped while home. However a reliable, correctly chosen camera system that’s been installed properly will tell you what happened and who did exactly what at your home. Criminals always go to the front door to knock or ring your bell to see if your home, what age and gender you are and if you have dogs or other deterrents on your home.
For this reason always have a good camera view at your front door that covers not only the door but them walking up to the door. A camera that covers up to 25 feet is reasonable.
Next a back door camera is essential because after a thief decides to break into your home it is usually the back door they break into. A camera that can get good facial features, distinguishing marks and other details is very important.
A driveway camera view is the next important location to cover. Most criminals don’t park in the drive because they know that most cameras people get from big box stores, alarm companies etc are only 1080p, 2mp, 3mp, 4mp and have a limited range for detail past 25’. For this reason I suggest a 5mp camera for this location to possibly get car tags and other helpful descriptions. They may change their clothing apparel but the car is the easiest way to track and catch a crook.
A street camera is very important on my list. Because most criminals park on the street, an average 60’ away from your home only camera with 8MP or higher will catch good detail from that distance.
A camera covering the pool is important. If a neighbor’s child or pet gets injured in your pool while you are present or even if you are not (and you did not give permission), you will have need for proof of what happened and how.
A hidden camera can be very useful in common areas of your home or business. People change their behavior when they know they are being watched.
Therefore whether it’s someone who house sits, watches your children or a guest that’s watching your pets, it might give you insight to what level of trust you really should have and concerns you wouldn’t know without hidden audio and video.
STILL UNCERTAIN WHAT/HOW TO CHOOSE?
This is my short list of helpful recommendation. I hope that it is helpful to you. If we can assist you with the design, purchase or installation of your system please contact us and we would like to help!
We specialize in all things home audio, Television, home theater, security cameras, and much more. Our staff are experts in making sure you get the right equipment to service your needs, with the quality you desire.
As always, we are happy to install equipment you purchase from us, or elsewhere. But remember, nothing beats getting our opinion BEFORE you buy to make sure you are getting the most out of your money.
David Hollandsworth - Owner/ Design and Installation
Very Sound Advice TN