Home Surveillance Systems: Choosing CCTV Components

With so many options to choose from when it comes to CCTV home surveillance systems, selecting the right set up for your needs can be somewhat of a challenge. While there are a number of ready made packages that you can purchase off the shelf, with careful selection you can put together a tailor-made home surveillance system that will rival many commercial installations.   In this article we will demystify some of the technical language surrounding CCTV, and take a look at some of the key considerations that you need to keep in mind when choosing components for home surveillance systems.

When selecting security cameras for home surveillance systems you have the ability to combine indoor, outdoor, low light, night vision, wired or wireless security cameras depending on your needs.  Where possible, choose home surveillance system cameras which feature a CCD image sensor since these are long-lasting and provide better picture quality than those with a CMOS sensor.  Digital signal processing (DSP) is another feature that will help to boost the image quality of your home surveillance system.

The lux rating measures a camera’s sensitivity to light, so if you intend to operate your home surveillance system under low light conditions choose a camera with a lower lux rating.  Another key factor to consider when shopping for home surveillance systems is the resolution.  A resolution of 350-400 TVL or higher is recommended for a reasonably detailed picture.  It’s important to make sure that this resolution is supported by each component in your home surveillance system including the camera, the recording device and the monitor that the video will be viewed on.

Home Surveillance Systems Camera

CCTV Camera

Once you have chosen the cameras for your home surveillance system, you will need to choose matching lenses.  The cheapest kinds of lenses have a fixed focal length, and these can sometimes be included as standard with home surveillance system cameras.   Variable focal length and zoom lenses are a better option, and you will also need an automatic iris for home surveillance systems with cameras in changing light conditions, such as outdoors.

The DVR is the digital recording device that records the video signal from the home surveillance system’s camera.  It’s best to choose one with a graphic user interface (GUI) and mouse control so that you can quickly search through the recorded images.  The size of the DVR’s hard drive will determine the amount of material that can be recorded on the home surveillance system.   As a rough guide, a home surveillance system with 500GB of memory would be sufficient to store a month’s worth of recordings from 4 cameras.  When choosing a DVR for your home surveillance system, check that it has a composite video output to make it compatible with all kinds of security cameras, and be absolutely certain that it has enough camera channels for your current and future needs as you cannot expand the number of inputs at a later point.

CCTV home surveillance systems can be connected to either TV or VGA monitors.  If you want to run the images from multiple cameras on the one screen, then the monitor needs to be at least 15 inches to be able to view the video in sufficient detail.  Before you begin your search for the right home surveillance system components, take a moment to think carefully about your current and future requirements.  This will simplify your options and help you to put together a home surveillance system that’s perfectly customized to meet your needs.

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