9 January, 2023
Why the wide gap between the highest and lowest price?
Why spend $3000.00 dollars when you can get a system for $600.00?
The answer is features, reliability and performance.
I’ve been installing and repairing alarms and security cameras for over 40 years so I’ve pretty much seen it all.
I’ll help you choose a system that’s just right for you without spending anymore than you need.
The number of cctv cameras you need
The resolution of the cameras measured in ‘Megapixels’
Whether the cameras you select are ‘Smart’ or ‘Dumb’
The type of camera you need: Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras or fixed position cameras
The complexity of the installation – how long will it take to run cables to the camera locations?
The amount of storage space for storing recorded footage
Whether you install the system yourself or go for a professional installation
You can start with one camera and add more as you need to.
Extra cameras can always be added later after you your system has been running for a few weeks and you get a better feel for what you need.
For a hard wired system, the cameras are connected by a cable to a Network Video Recorder (NVR)
The NVR has a hard drive inside to store all the video footage that the cameras record.
The NVR needs 240 volt power. It also needs to be connected to your internet router if you want to view the cameras from your mobile phone and receive alerts and notifications.
The type of NVR you need is determined by how many cameras you want. NVRs come in 4, 8, 16 and 32 channel (and beyond) models.
So if you need 3 cameras, you’ll want a 4 channel NVR
If you want 6 cameras you’ll need an 8 channel unit.
You’ll need a monitor to view the live and recorded images. A lot of home owners use their existing TV for this which is perfectly OK. The TV’s speakers will allow you to hear sound from CCTV cameras that have a built-in microphone such as our 6MP Starlight package.
Finally, the system is connected to your internet router so you can view the cameras remotely from your phone. Smarter systems can send you a notification if a person is detected on your property.
For general surveillance, most homeowners go for 4 cameras.
That’s usually enough to provide a decent amount of coverage for a medium-sized home.
Here’s what I’d recommend…
The front of the house. It’s handy to be able to see visitors entering your property, so a camera to view the front yard and driveway is a good idea. You might also consider a camera at the front door however a video doorbell is a better option (link to article on why – positioned to capture faces, listen and talk)
A camera to view either side of your house
The forth camera can be placed in the backyard
If you have a laneway behind your house you might consider installing a camera there as well.
Other locations you can consider:
Boat and caravan storage area
Separate buildings on your property such as a granny flat, studio or shed
Almost all cctv systems have night vision built into the cameras so you get clear images even in low light levels.
A professional CCTV installer can help you with camera placement to maximise the effectiveness of your camera system using the least number of cameras.
You can reduce the cctv installation cost by installing the system yourself. If you’re reasonably handy you can install security cameras yourself. I have another article that covers this in more detail.
As a rule, the higher the resolution of a camera, the better the image quality.
So an 8 megapixel camera will have a better quality image than a 4 megapixel camera.
Cameras with higher resolution cost more than those with lower resolution.
The resolution of a camera’s image is determined by how many picture elements (pix-els) the camera uses to produce the image.
The higher the number of pixels that a camera has, the better the image will be.
If you’re choosing cameras with zoom capability, you need a camera with higher resolution to prevent the picture breaking up when you zoom in.
This leads us to a closely related and very important consideration….
Video footage is stored on the hard drive inside the Network Video Recorder.
A 4 channel NVR can have a maximum hard drive size of 8 Tera Bytes (TB) installed
The amount of storage space required depends on several things which include:
The number of cameras in your system. More cameras mean more video footage is recorded, so more space is needed.
The resolution of the cameras. More hard drive space is needed to store the recordings from an 8 megapixel camera compared to a 4 megapixel camera. I’ve laid out an example at the end of this section
Continuous recording or Event recording. Setting all of your cameras to record 24/7 will use more space on the hard drive. Cameras that are set to record only when particular events occur, such as a person or vehicle being detected, will use less storage space.
The amount of movement or activity in the scene. Video compression techniques are used to reduce the amount of space a video recording needs on a hard drive by only recording changes in the scene. This means a scene that is constantly changing, such as traffic in a busy street, will use more storage space than a scene that is still, such as your car parked in the driveway.
While cameras with more megapixels give you a better quality image, the downside is they need more storage space on the hard drive to store those fat juicy images!
As an example, if you had 2 MP cameras installed at your house and you wanted to store 2 weeks worth of video footage, from 4 cameras you’d need a 3TB hard drive. (based on 25 frames per second – see below))
The same set up using 8 megapixel cameras would need an 25 TB hard drive.
See this calculator to see for yourself –
Dumb cameras simply record everything in their field of view.
They have no intelligence or advanced features.
If an incident occurs that you wish to replay, for example, you want to see who pinched a parcel from the front porch, you need to play back the footage til you find the part where the incident occurred.
This can be tedious and time-consuming.
For CCTV to be useful, you need a quick way to search for footage where something of interest occurred.
Motion Detection: Modern IP cameras (even the dumb ones) have motion-sensing capabilities but it can be unreliable.
Cameras with motion detection respond to a change in the movement of the pixels in the image.
Unfortunately, they can’t tell the difference between a person and a tree swaying in the breeze. They are triggered by absolutely any movement including birds, insects and rain drops.
Certain areas of the scene can be blocked out to ignore motion but even then you experience a high rate of false alarms. Smart cameras are by far the most reliable and effective way of detecting and deterring intruders.
Smart cameras have features that include:
The ability to send you an alert and short video clip is a human is detected. They ignore birds, trees, animals and rain drops.
Remote viewing of live and recorded footage on a free app.
A quick search function on the NVR that quickly display only recorded footage where a person was detected.
The latest smart cameras include a flashing strobe light and voice alert that are activated when a human and/or a vehicle is detected in the scene. This functionality can be turned on and off from the app so it only works when you need it. This turns your CCTV system into an intelligent home security system.
If you’re going for a Smart camera system , one that uses Active Deterrents, you may only require two cameras.
Most cameras that we install for home security are the ‘fixed’type – once they’re installed and set up you can’t swing them around to view another part of the property, nor can you zoom in or out of the scene.
A movable or Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera can be controlled from the app or the NVR to zoom in and out and to rotate 360 degrees. They cost more than fixed cameras but the extra versatility they offer is useful in some situations.
You can save some money by installing a CCTV system yourself.
If you choose this option you need to choose whether to use a hardwired system or a wireless system. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses but I’d recommend you go with a wireless system. You can knock the job over in an hour or so and have a resonable good system
A big part of security camera installation cost is the time required for an installer to run the cables for the cameras.
Wireless systems are quick to install because they don’t need cables.
And because they’re wireless you can install them anywhere, including placing where it’s impossible to get a cable.
They can be quickly relocated to a different location if required
Remote viewing of the cameras is quick and painless using the app.
The latest systems can send an alert and video clip to your smartphone if they detect a person or vehicle on your property.
You lose a bit of functionality and other features with DIY cameras. But they are becoming extremely popular and the features increase with every new release.
Here are some of the drawbacks to installing your own wireless set-up:
There’s no doubt that security cameras can make your home safer while your home as well as when you’re out and about.
The best system is going to be one you can afford and has the features you need
Melbourne Alarms can provide you with a free written quote for a CCTV installation for your home or business
The price we quote is the price you pay. You won’t have any surprised extra costs added to the system.
All our systems come with a lifetime workmanship guarantee.
Most CCTV cameras come with a minimum 12 month product warranty from the manufacturer
Speak to one of our CCTV experts today but clicking the pink button at the bottom of the screen or call Robyn o (03) 9005-0174 or you can check out the latest Dahua 6MP Starlight Package HERE
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