|10 Useful Tips to Choose the Right Surveillance System
1. Choose the right recording equipment and features
Start by considering your video security needs. Do you need a DVR that has a lot of channel inputs to support
many cameras in order to monitor multiple buildings and entrances? Do you need a DVR a lot of hard drive
storage or remote monitoring capabilities to view and manage your video remotely?
2. Select a Security DVR with an optimal number of channels
When selecting your DVR, make sure you have the appropriate number of channels for your current and future
Most analog DVRs provide inputs for 4, 8 and 16 cameras. It's best to select a DVR with more camera
channels than you currently need; in order to give you the flexibility to add more cameras to the system to
handle greater security demands.
With a hybrid DVR you can utilize existing analog cameras and have the ability to transition to an IP or HD
based security solution. Just make sure the hybrid digital video recorder you choose has analog and IP or
analog and HD inputs, depending on your needs.
3. Choose the right frame rate
Frame rate is the number of frames a DVR can record every second at a set resolution. A lower frame rate
records less realistic motion allowing your DVR to record for longer periods of time, and requires less processing
power and storage than a high frame rate. A high frame rate records more detailed, realistic motion and requires
more processing power and storage.
4. Turn your Security DVR into a full-time security guard
Some security DVRs have alarm inputs and outputs that you can integrate with an existing alarm system. These
connections can be used in combination with security features such as motion detection and loss detection alert.
Having security features like these on your DVR is like having your own personal security guard on duty.
The DVR's motion detection feature allows you to pre-define zones for each camera and program the
camera to start recording when motion is detected within the zone, saving hard drive space and optimizing
recorded video. This feature also enables you to get alerted by alarm and email when there is an incident.
Video Loss Notification
Some DVRs also include a loss detection feature to alert you when the camera has lost signal due to a
power failure, volatile weather, criminal tampering or some other incident. This feature allows you to trigger
a recording with other cameras or get an alert from external devices such as an alarm.
5. Don't let conversations go unheard
Recording audio with your video is a great feature to have. Most DVRs have audio recording capabilities, allowing
you to add a high quality microphone or leverage the microphone built into your camera to record audio.
6. Make sure your Security DVR is tamper-proof
Use password protection, conceal the DVR and/or use a security DVR lock box to prevent unauthorized access to
your recorded video.
A DVR enclosure also helps to protect your equipment from the accidental damage and fluid spills.
7. Protect your investment from surges & failures
You should protect your investment and plug your DVR and cameras into an uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
to prevent recording interruptions and safeguard against power outages and brown outs. You'll also want to
frequently check your UPS to make sure the battery is fully-charged and isn't showing any warning lights.
8. Access & manage your Video Security DVR virtually anywhere
Most modern DVRs have the capability to view and manage your system remotely. With remote access you can
view your DVR video over the Internet or via a smartphone app, and remotely. A high speed internet connection
is best for remote monitoring.
9. Be prepared to offload/back up your video (and audio)
Some security DVRs feature easy offloading/back up, so you can load your data from the DVR onto a DVD,
network or USB thumb drive. Offloaded data is especially important for sharing recorded surveillance video with
law enforcement agencies and other agencies when evidence of a crime is needed.
10. Get enough hard drive storage
The hard drive storage capacity of your security DVR is very important for security applications because these
applications can place considerable demands on storage. The greater your recording needs—the more hard
drive storage space you will need to store the video. It's always best to choose a DVR with more built-in hard
drive space than you think you may need.
Consider Your Storage Needs
When selecting a security DVR with a built-in security grade hard drive, there are a few things you need to
consider when calculating the amount of hard drive storage you may need:
- Number of days of video storage needed
- Number of cameras
- FPS per camera
- Hours per day of recording
- Days per week of recording
- Recording resolution
- Video compression