Choosing a CCTV kit
If you’re looking to setup a new CCTV system at your home or business, it can be difficult to know where to start with so many variations of cameras, recorders, displays and cabling to think about.
That’s where CCTV kits come in. Buying a kit with everything you need to get started, knowing all the components will work together, takes the headache out of getting the right solution for you.
You’ll need to look at the following five factors to help choose the right CCTV kit for your needs.
Type of recorder
DVRs (digital video recorders) take feeds directly from analogue cameras via coaxial cables and convert them into digital files for easy storage.
NVRs (network video recorders) store digital images directly from cameras on the same IP network: they record video streams that have already been digitally encoded.
Whereas DVRs need to be cabled to analogue cameras, NVRs can be located anywhere on the network. NVR systems are network only.
Number of channels and cameras
When choosing a CCTV kit, you need one channel for each camera you have in your system. We stock kits that are capable of recording between 4 to 16 channels, and include up to 16 cameras. For businesses, our B2B team can source 32 and 64 channel cameras – visit the Business section of our site for more details.
If you’re planning on extending your CCTV network at a later date, be sure to buy a kit that will support the additional channels.
How many cameras and channels do you need?
- Four channels/cameras are usually enough for a typical three-bedroom home.
- Eight channels/cameras should be adequate for small businesses, including offices, and small shops and warehouses.
- Nine to 12 channels/cameras should be considered for large or unusually designed buildings.
- Warehouses and big businesses may require 16 channels/cameras or more.
Quality and type of cameras
Another consideration to make when choosing a CCTV kit is the quality and type of cameras. TVL, or ‘television lines’, refers to the quality of video that a camera can output. You may also see cameras described in terms of HD standards, such as ‘720p’ or ‘1080p’.
- 320, 400 or 420 TVL is suited for most general home monitoring needs.
- 480, 540 or 600 TVL will be sufficient to monitor valuables in your home or office.
- 650 or 700 TVL or 720p will provide identification at long rage, suitable for use in warehouses, car parks, forecourts and other large business premises.
You’ll find four types of camera shape available.
- Box - Great value and best used in sight and out of reach, often outside.
- Bullet - compact and more discrete than box cameras. Best used out of reach, often outside.
- Dome - tamper-proof and discrete, can be used within reach, often used in retail or offices.
- Covert - hidden devices that are very discrete, but compromise on video quality.
Like computer hard drives, DVR and NVR storage capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). The storage capacity you need your CCTV kit to provide will depend on the following factors:
- Camera stream/compression your DVR or NVR uses for recording - H.264 is more efficient than MPEG4, for example.
- Camera resolution - the higher the resolution, the more space it will take up.
- Video quality – much like camera resolution, the higher the quality, the more space this will take up.
- Number of cameras.
- Frame rate per camera.
- Length of time you want to store the footage from each camera.
CCTV Kit Accessories
When choosing a CCTV kit, you should also consider whether you need any additional accessories outside the recorder and cameras. For example:
- A display monitor - do you need one or can you hook your CCTV kit up to an existing display?
- Smartphone/tablet compatibility - do you need to access your surveillance footage on the go?
- Capability to expand the network - do you need to be able to add additional cameras in the future? Does the kit you’re considering support this?