As one of the best security camera system installers in Dallas Fort Worth, we often get first-time customers looking for more information on how to choose a video surveillance system.
How to Choose a Video Surveillance System
As one of the best security camera system installers in Dallas Fort Worth, we often get first-time customers looking for more information on how to choose a video surveillance system. With so many options available on the market at the time of writing, the process in itself can be a little overwhelming. However, let’s start with the essential parts of an effective security camera system:
- Wired or wireless?
- How to choose home security cameras
- What features should you consider?
- How to choose a recorder
- How to use home automation
For business owners looking for how to choose a video surveillance system, A1 Security Cameras has previously written an extensive article on the subject that is sure to provide you with all of the information you need. However, for this specific post, homeowners will find a resource on which of the current innovations for security camera systems that might be perfect for them. For each of the proposed parts, we will go into detail covering the most popular options available to you while presenting valuable information surrounding them presently. We will also provide information about features you might be interested in considering and systems that can complement your future home security camera system.
Which has better security, wired or wireless?
The first decision will generally be wired or wireless in terms of home surveillance systems. Whereas there might be more particular questions that may help the process, this specific choice allows you to reduce the number of contending options by a wide margin. When it comes to choosing between wired and wireless security camera systems, there are a few questions that you need to consider:
- Is cost an issue?
- Do you want an easy or long-lasting installation?
- Are you looking for reliable or convenient?
Whereas other aspects of choosing a video surveillance system will be much more direct, wired versus wireless will distinctly affect most or all of the broader system. To answer each question directly, wired systems are more expensive upfront due to the installation requiring the laying down of ethernet or coaxial cables. The expenses accrued through labor and wiring are applied to the overall cost, also leading into the next question of an easy or long-lasting installation. As will be mentioned further later, a wireless security camera system is easier to install, but the wired alternative lasts for much longer. The answer to both questions leads to the resulting wired or wireless system, one that is focused on reliability or convenience, respectfully.
Below we will go into further detail on both. However, A1 Security Cameras has also previously written about Wired versus Wireless Surveillance. Whereas this post gives a brief overview of the subject, the other article provides a far more in-depth analysis. We encourage you to use our blog as a database to help you make an ultimate decision on which type of security camera system is best for your needs.
Advantages of wired vs. wireless
As will be shown, both types of surveillance features advantages dependent entirely on the connection. Whereas this might be an obvious fact to some, it moreover proves the point of how important the aspect is when considering a surveillance system.
Wired Security Camera Advantages
- Signal unaffected by other devices
- Allows more sensors than wireless
- Does not need network extenders
- More difficult to disable
- Allows superior privacy
- Does not necessarily affect bandwidth
- Secure against remote hacking
Wireless Security Camera Advantages
- Exceedingly simple installation
- Cameras can be relocated
- Less expensive upfront costs
- More likely to feature software updates
- Strategic placement can prevent signal loss
- More effectively integrates into home automation
Disadvantages of wired vs. wireless
Likewise to before, the disadvantages shown will be based on the wired or wireless connection. However, whereas the positives of such an installation might have been foreseen, a professional would not fault you for not knowing the issues that come with wired or wireless security cameras.
Wired Security Camera Disadvantages
- More costly and challenging installation
- Homeowner typically needs professional help for install
- Wires may be subject to deterioration over time
- Walls will need to be drilled through
- Installation is considered permanent
Wireless Security Camera Disadvantages
- Can be easier to disable
- Other signals can interfere with security cameras
- Entirely dependent on home wireless network
- Connection and performance configuration required
- Vulnerable to remote hacking
- Requires direct plugin to outlet
How to choose home security cameras
After deciding between wired or wireless surveillance, it is then time to choose between the different types of security cameras available on the market. Admittedly there are various types, but in this post, we will distinctly focus on the most popular: Analog cameras and IP security cameras.
While considering either type of camera, it is also wise to start imagining which style of security camera will cover parts of your home. While there is a multitude to choose from through A1 Security cameras alone, we have taken the liberty to show and give a short description of the most popular.
Box Camera: By popularity alone, the box camera was the most popular camera sold worldwide according to IPICA in 2021. It is no wonder why with these cameras allowing for hardware improvement by way of switching out parts like the housing, lens, and more.
Dome Camera: Whereas the box camera was most popular in 2021 worldwide, the dome camera had been most popular in years prior to that. Unlike other traditional security cameras, this type of camera features a protective dome around the actual camera and is commonly used throughout interior environments. Many feature a shaded dome that allows for more concealed and unintrusive surveillance.
Bullet Camera: Popular for outdoor surveillance, bullet cameras feature a wide range of designs that would enable those considering surveillance to enjoy an effective solution. Typically recognized for their long-range capabilities and bullet design, these cameras more often offer better quality footage when larger areas are concerned.
As displayed on the A1 Security Cameras website, each of these cameras comes in an analog and internet protocol form. As will be explained below, this is also a crucial point to consider due to the possible features and advantages that come with each. It should be noted that there can be multiple different types of security cameras in any given security camera system as long as they are compatible with the recorder.
Analog vs. IP cameras
When choosing between analog and IP security cameras, one will find many of the advantages and disadvantages are similar to wired versus wireless cameras. The similarity is because analog cameras were the norm in the previous generation of security cameras, while internet protocol is the present generation. While that may make the older of the two sound obsolete, nothing could be further from the truth as they are still widely recognized as effective and prove resilient in the face of the most sophisticated threats against a home or business. IP cameras simply have more features generally, including built-in audio, high-definition quality footage, protocol support, and wireless functionality, with several more options available depending on the specific camera. A1 Security Cameras goes more in-depth on this subject in another article describing the differences between analog and IP security cameras.
Is brand important?
When it comes to functionality, the brand of each device in your surveillance system is a distinctly important factor. Some brands of security cameras will not work well with a specific brand of a recorder. That is not to say that a system with multiple brands is bound to fail, but rather it is not guaranteed to work during installation and setup. This is because each brand may have a different managing software or specifically designed hardware that functions according to the design of the compatible camera. A1 Security Cameras typically suggests keeping your surveillance system under one brand name if it can be helped.
Which cables are better?
There are two types of cables that correspond to the aforementioned analog and IP cameras presently on the market. Those two are coaxial and ethernet cables, respectively, used for transporting the specific signals from the camera to the recorder. When it comes to which is better, they both serve a particular purpose in the systems they are set. For example, while ethernet cables are more modern than coaxial, they would not be applicable in an analog system, with the vice versa being true as well for coaxial in a digital system. Instead, the best version of the two cables presently are RG59 or RG6 for coaxial and Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat7 ethernet cables. A1 Security Cameras goes more in-depth about what kind of cables do security cameras use in our previous article of the same name.
Which lens is best for security cameras?
The lens is an essential feature of every security camera you will consider and has a distinct effect on the video footage it produces. As stated by our previous post explaining security camera lenses, the three basic types of lenses are:;
every kind of lens fulfills a specific function in a given security camera, and all three also come in varying sizes that define the viewable range or focal length of the camera itself. Examples of such include 2.8mm, 3.6mm, 6mm, and 12mm, with more options available. Furthermore, when purchasing another lens for a box camera, it should match the internal sensor so to provide the best possible functionality from the device.
Security Cameras has written extensively on this subject, authoring three posts about placement listed here.
- Best Places to Install Security Cameras for Businesses
- Best Places to Install Security Cameras in Your Home
- The Best Locations for Outdoor CCTV Cameras
As shown, placement can be distinctly different indoors, outdoors, for businesses, and for homes. Homeowners should consider placement as a paramount concern when planning out their future video surveillance system. Placing cameras at the appropriate height, above lights if possible, and at points where a camera can cover more than one critical point.
What features should you consider?
When it comes to the features that can be included with modern security cameras, homeowners have a long list to pick and choose from at their leisure. Some features might be more designed for convenience in a given system, like power over coaxial in analog cameras, while others serve a distinct purpose that allows for added functionality and enhanced performance, like license plate recognition. It should be noted that not every type of camera will feature every advanced feature on the market. However, here are some of the many features present in security cameras A1 Security Cameras offers today:
- Cloud storage
- Corridor format
- H265 compression
- On-board storage
- Remote streaming
- Two-way audio
- Weather and vandal proofing
As displayed from a previous post further describing each of these and more features present through A1 Security Cameras products, there are many features that may be included in any given camera.
Particular attention should be paid to weather and vandal proofing for each camera. As described in greater detail in a past post about IK & IP Ingress Protection Standards, this specific aspect of a given security camera is essential. In short, each camera's impact protection (IK) and ingress protection (IP) are ratings given to describe the protection provided against impact and weather, respectively. Each abbreviation is then followed by a single or double-digit number that describes resistance to specific conditions.
Should you consider management software?
Internally and through the recorder as well, security cameras can also be enhanced through particular types of added software like video management software. Such programs may be as slight as adding a distinct function to a camera like motion activation or video footage configuration through the central recording device. At the same time, others may provide the capability to manage efficiently multiple cameras and video streams at once without needing to be on site for any. One such example of software that has added a practical innovation to surveillance systems far and wide is the concept of Zero Channel. Such a concept allows surveillance system owners to see all their video feeds on one screen without putting too much strain on their bandwidth and at a similar quality to the original. Such features like that and more are available through added software!
How to choose a recorder
There are around four different recorders on the market and offered by A1 Security Cameras. Each offers a potential surveillance system with inherent features that will benefit your security apparatus across the board after installation is complete and configuration is personalized. Here, we will provide you with a brief description of each type of recorder and how they function in relation to the security cameras above and some of the unique features they tend to have. While there may be other types of recorders, we have shortened this list to the general systems for your convenience.
Digital Video Recorders: Reasonably the oldest video recorder available for security camera systems, digital video recorders (DVR) are designed to receive analog video footage data and convert it to a digital format internally. For these recorders specifically, there are multiple types primarily due to them being prominent at the time high definition video was implemented into surveillance. Upon considering a DVR, customers should pay special attention to the specifications before purchasing.
Hybrid Video Recorders: Unlike the DVR and NVR, hybrid video recorders are meant for both analog and IP security cameras. Providing an excellent alternative to outright purchasing a brand new NVR and replacing each old security camera, this recorder provides a middle ground to those looking to upgrade their surveillance. However, while it can take multiple different cameras, many models will have a limitation on the video footage quality not necessarily found on modern NVR.
Network Video Recorders: Different from other recorders present on the list, a network video recorder can just as easily be a physical recorder as it can be a converted computer that features specific software. These recorders are specifically meant for IP security cameras and are specifically for holding software while storing video footage. Unlike the prior generation DVR, the NVR does not necessarily process incoming video footage.
Wireless Recorders: A wireless recorder is more often than not an NVR with full wireless functionality. Most under this classification cannot be hardwired to security cameras but can wirelessly connect to each camera through the wireless network it is directly connected to. These recorders are typically smaller in size and feature fewer ports to plug into.
As shown, there are distinctly different types of recorders on the market that offer their own unique benefits to a given surveillance system. While some security cameras, like IP cameras, offer internal storage, A1 Security Cameras recommends using a centralized video recorder for your surveillance system.
Storage capacity is important
Recorders do not necessarily come with their storage hardwire, typically known as hard drives. These pieces of hardware are where all of the video footage and software are stored in a given recorder and are critical for the full functionality of a surveillance system. When you choose a video surveillance system, you will generally have to decide the size of your hard drive. While at worst, too big of a hard drive might be an expensive error, too small will lead to an ineffective surveillance system that does not retain the footage for as long as you prefer. A1 Security Cameras actually offers a tool for this process with our NVR/DVR Storage Calculator that provides you with a reference point for what you should look for.
Is it worth buying home security?
When you think of how to choose a video surveillance system, you should be doing so to benefit your household and those you hold dear. Put bluntly, a surveillance system makes managing your property and the safety of your family far easier than ever before. Furthermore, there is a multitude of advantages that come with the mere installation of such systems that you will experience right off the bat when deciding to implement one into your home. If you are in any way worried about the sanctity of your household and the protection of your family, choosing a video surveillance system is an excellent option for you.
With this article, A1 Security Camera hopes that you have a grounding for how to choose a video surveillance system and what it can do for you. For those needing additional information and assistance on the specifics of their future system, A1 Security Cameras offers system design help that effectively plans out the perfect security camera system for your home. When you need information on any of our products or about security cameras in general, do not hesitate to contact us today!