Video Surveillance Systems: Camera Specs

The video surveillance equipment you need depends on what your home security goals are. If you are looking to monitor every entry point, you will need more cameras than if you are just interested in monitoring your front door. Your equipment needs will also vary based on whether the cameras are intended for indoor or outdoor surveillance.

Here, find an overview of common home video surveillance specifications:

Recording Options

Just as DVR's have changed how people record their favorite television shows, digital video recorders have also revamped the video surveillance sphere.

While VCR options still exist, a DVR is an optimal way to store your video surveillance recordings because of its versatility.

For example, a hard drive is a far more efficient way to store data than using bulky tapes. Additionally, controlling playback on a DVR is a huge time-saver over VCR playback; skipping ahead or rewinding to specific time marks is a cinch. Finally, video surveillance cameras that store data to DVR systems are "smarter" than their VCR counterparts; they can actually sense when a room is free of movement and capture a few frames a minute rather than continuous recording. If movement is detected, the system switches over to continuous recording. This saves time during playback of suspicious events, eliminating the need to scroll through hours of benign activity.

Color Versus Black And White

These days, few people would argue in favor of black and white over color footage. There used to be a huge price difference between these two options, but these days, color systems are just as affordable. In the event you need to identify a person on playback, color will provide far more detail.

Housing Needs

If your surveillance camera will be mounted outdoors, a sturdy housing can help protect your camera from either vandalism or weather damage. Indoor cameras mounted in high-traffic areas of the home should also have a housing.

Wireless Versus Wired Systems

Wireless systems are ideal for renters or for those who may want to reposition their cameras even occasionally. Wired systems are a more permanent set-up and are the traditional choice for homeowners who plan to leave the cameras in place for years.

One advantage a wired system has over a wireless system is signal strength. Wireless systems are far more likely to experience interference and this can result in footage that is less than reliable. Wireless cameras can also be hacked more easily; if this is a concern, stick with a wired option.

In terms of price, wireless systems may be more expensive but there are no installation costs; less expensive wired systems will typically call for professional installation, often bridging the savings gap considerably.