Shopping For Security? What to Look For When Considering a Home Video Security System

Security-Camera-iconThis is a fact — Home video surveillance equipment isn’t just for the wealthy or just for business owners anymore. Anyone looking to protect their home, property, and family should consider buying home surveillance equipment. This once very expensive and hard-to-operate equipment has become considerably less expensive in price, allowing homeowners of all budgets the ability to protect their families and precious property.

Before buying any home surveillance system or equipment, decide some important factors first. Choose between an indoor or outdoor system, decide on the number of cameras you might need (make a small plot plan of your property and call out where a camera may be useful), pick out desired features, and choose a storage system. Buying video surveillance equipment doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge but it does require a bit of research. Consumers can find home surveillance equipment in electronic stores and speciality monitoring shops. Online shoppers can turn to Internet retailers and online auction sites like eBay to buy video security systems.

Types of Home Surveillance Systems
First time buyers considering home surveillance equipment can feel a bit overwhelmed. However, once they have learned a few technical terms and device types, consumers can start to feel more confident about their purchase. The first step is to narrow down the type of security system you need. You can choose from either an indoor or outdoor home surveillance system.

Indoor Home Surveillance
Indoor video security is useful for many reasons. Cameras can be used to keep an eye on babysitters, housesitters, construction workers, and anyone else that might be in your home when you are away. Consumers can monitor multiple rooms, or just one area. Indoor cameras generally produce a high quality picture.

Outdoor Home Surveillance
Meant to deter or catch home intruders, outdoor cameras can be very discrete or extremely obvious. Larger cameras can be advantageous because it might prevent criminals from trying to break in. Outdoor home surveillance cameras are built to withstand the elements. They are usually waterproof and might even have wipers to protect the lens. Buyers can monitor one specific area, like the front door, or have multiple cameras to watch the whole property. Outdoor cameras should be of maximum resolution (800 lines and above) and offer night vision when dark.

Night Vision
Night Vision features on a color camera mean that that camera has the ability to automatically adjust it’s color operation to black and white once the available light has diminished. Night Vision on a color camera allows you to record good video even with very little available light. Night Vision cameras are most always equipped with Red LED’s that can brighten sometimes a distance of 100 ft. or more – again even in complete darkness. Unless your property is very well lit at all hours of the night then you really need Night Vision cameras.

Other Camera Choices
Buyers can choose from single cameras, multi-room cameras, whole house cameras, and hidden came
ras. Price and need generally dictate which type of cameras consumers buy. Single cameras are useful for monitoring a front door or a single room. Multi-room and whole house cameras are good for both indoor and outdoor uses. Hidden surveillance is good for nanny cams and discrete filming.

Types of Cameras
Consumers can choose from many different types of home surveillance cameras. You can either buy individual cameras or purchase an entire home surveillance system. Consumers only interested in purchasing one or two security cameras might be better off buying the equipment separately. Some examples of cameras include:

Home Surveillance Equipment Features
Once you have determined which type of home surveillance equipment you want, it’s time to decide on the different features. Features affect the quality of the camera, as well as the price. Consumers can compromise on certain features depending on their needs and budget. Before buying home surveillance equipment, you need to choose between wired and wireless, color or black and white, resolution, and coverage. If you want great image quality and reliability then you should choose a high resolution DVR with a higher frame rate per channel (channels mean camera basically)78002big

Wired vs. Wireless
Wired and wireless home surveillance equipment both have advantages and disadvantages. The term “wireless” refers to the signal transmitted by the camera. Wireless cameras have more flexibility and are generally more discrete. Consumers have the freedom to install them wherever they are needed. However, interruptions from the wireless Internet can affect the signal. You might lose a few minutes, hours, or even days of recording time if the wireless network isn’t properly working.

Wired cameras can be harder to install and are often less discrete. The wires can be cumbersome and unattractive. However, wired cameras often offer users a clearer picture and more reliable service. Wired cameras are also good for new construction where the wires can be built into the walls. They can be installed as part of a complete home security system or structured wiring network.

Color vs. Black and White
In most instances, color is not necessary for home surveillance equipment. Sometimes, businesses and commercial properties use color cameras,, but chances are you won’t need that feature in a home video security system. However, buyers should look for a camera that produces a high quality black and white image.. A grainy picture won’t be useful when trying to identify an intruder. Those using an outdoor system should definitely look for a camera with night vision capabilities. Surveillance systems with this feature can capture high quality images at night. Outdoor cameras in low light can benefit from infrared LEDttechnology, which can illuminate an area.

Resolution
As with any electronic device, a higher resolution equals increased image quality. A typical home surveillance camera has about 350 to 400 TV lines (TVL) of resolution. High-resolution cameras, with TVL of 480 to 800, offer good images and accuracy. But now HD Security Cameras have hit the market and offer full 1080P resolution which is unbeatable.  The only drawback to these new HD cameras is cost and compatibility with your old equipment.  Most if not all HD cameras use newer LAN connections that go straight to a LAN HD DVR.  If you are just looking to upgrade the quality of your cameras to be compatible with an older model DVR then choose the highest resolution that’s compatible with your DVR.

Coverage
The amount of area a camera lens can cover varies greatly. Some cameras only shoot directly in front of the lens. Wide-angle lenses cover a larger space, while pan-tilt-zoom cameras can videotape a 360-degree view. For outdoor cameras, choose an automatic iris, which automatically adjusts to different levels of light. Some more expensive cameras come equipped with adjustable lenses that can narrow the field of view or close up on it if you like.

Video Surveillance Storage
Consumers need a device to record and store their footage. Gone are the days of VHS tapes. Now, users can digitally record hours of high quality footage on a hard drive. While choosing a DVR recorder is going to be a straightforward decision, the biggest choice home video surveillance buyers will need to make is between an IP or analog camera.

DVR Recording Device
A DVR recorder allows users to store a certain amount of footage on a hard drive. A 750 GB hard drive records for about 45-60 days. Larger storage amounts are available and the amount of storage you will need depends on the number of cameras you have and your camera type. The advantage of a DVR recorder is that you can immediately access any point within the video and monitor the footage remotely. Typically, a DVR offers higher quality video than VHS tapes. For multiple cameras, be certain you have enough DVR outputs.

surveillance-iconIP and Analog
IP and analog cameras offer two different types of access to the camera’s footage. An IP camera connects to the homeowners’ Internet system. You can access the camera via the camera’s URL address. While IP relies on your home’s Internet bandwidth, it also works well with wireless systems.

Analog surveillance systems,, also known as closed-circuit televisions, are less expensive and can record endless hours of footage. They convert the analog signal into digital before processing the footage. Analog systems are sometimes more appropriate for the home because they don’t take up Internet bandwidth. However, IP cameras are generally better for connecting multiple wireless cameras.

Tips for Video Surveillance
Novice buyers might feel a little lost when purchasing their first video surveillance system. Always take your time and do plenty of research beforehand. The more you know the smarter you will be when it comes to fighting crime at your own door.

Where To Get The Best Deals?
To get the best prices on your home surveillance purchases we recommend shopping for your equipment at Fry’s Electronics, Amazon, and eBay.

Our recommendation  – go HD (Hi-Def) equipment if you can afford it. See this companies promotional video about HD Security systems capabilities.

Posted in Neighborhood Watch

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