Things to consider when buying a CCTV system

Inside or outside cameras

A lot of cameras these days come with dual use for inside and outside. An important consideration though is the light levels. Internal cameras are predominantly used when a premises is open and has ample light. Externally cameras have to cope with the extremes of bright light down to complete darkness. The new ColorVu technology available provides colour pictures at low light levels

What the camera looks like

Do you want your cameras to be discreet or overt. The vast majority of cameras employed these days are dome or turret style cameras. These are often used as it is not instantly obvious what area they cover. Bullet style cameras are more overt and can suffer less from light shining directly into the lens. Pan/tilt/zoom cameras are still available but are rapidly being superseded by PanoVu cameras. These are a camera that contains four cameras but transmit down one single cable.

Do the cameras need audio?

This is becoming more relevant in lots of situations. For example within educational establishments where there may be safeguarding issues, having a video and audio recording is advantageous. A video alone may not provide a true rendition of the events unfolding.

Camera Quality

For identification purposes the image needs to be high quality. Most HD cameras now start at 2MP, for reference purposes that is at least 20 times higher resolution than older analogue cameras. Cameras can go higher 4, 6, and 8MP and we are sure this will only increase.


It is rare these days for a camera to be provided purely for live viewing. This is mainly due to the reduction in price over that last few years of DVRs (Digital Video Recorders). It is important to consider how much recording capacity is required to store the images you need. A 3MP camera recording on H.264 at 15 frames per second for 24 hours a day requires approximately 50GB storage.  A way to improve the storage is to set the recorder to store data on each camera only when there is movement (activity detection). This will also make it easier to search for events as you look through snippets not wade through hours of an empty room/area.


Connect your DVR to broadband and you will be able to review live and recorded data via PC, Tablet or Smartphone. Remember if you are a business to record your system under the Data Protection Act with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office).


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