There are thousands of companies on-line supplying CCTV systems and as such sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a really confusing and time consuming process. We have laboriously tried and tested all the available CCTV systems currently on the market and concluded that there is no real future in standard analogue CCTV and also that from the High Definition CCTV systems available the two systems we believe to be the best are - IP Network CCTV and HD-TVI analogue systems. At present we only supply these systems from one manufacturer – Hikvision. Hikvision are one of the major manufacturers of CCTV equipment in the world and are renowned for the quality of their products – something we have found to true.
CCTV is without doubt the best security and safety system (after intruder alarms) for protecting and monitoring properties. However, to the layman, it can be daunting to design and specify the CCTV system you actually need. The following steps will help guide you through the minefield.
Firstly, let’s lay a few ground rules.
- Standard analogue systems are effectively dead, their resolution is very poor compared to HD systems. You will see loads of standard analogue, known as D1/960h, relatively cheap systems coming onto the market as manufacturers and sellers try to unload their stocks. You may also see systems offering cameras at 1000TVL, this means absolutely nothing as D1/960h can never display/record better than 700TVL. See the article It’s all About Pixels – CCTV Resolutions Explained.
- Wireless CCTV systems are generally mediocre – video transmissions need a lot of bandwidth and wireless signals will struggle to provide reliable transmission except over short distances – OK for baby monitors but not for systems requiring high definition viewing and recording.
The choice is then between an IP based system or an HD analogue system.
So, having decided on a High definition system, you need to specify the equipment needed, as follows.
- Carry out a site survey to determine the area to be covered and the resolutions required. The article Carrying out a Site Survey outlines the procedure.
- Decide whether you need an IP network system or an HD-TVI system. The article Which HD CCTV System? IP or HD TVI will help in your decision.
- Choose your DVR (for TVI) or NVR (for IP) based on the number of channels required. In the case of TVI, also choose the record/playback resolution of the DVR (720p or 1080p). The articles HD-TVI DVRs – Quick View and HD-IP NVRs – Quick View provide a quick comparison of the DVRs and NVRs. It may be advantageous to choose a recorder with more channels than you presently need to allow for future expansion.
- Choose the Hard Disk Drive(s) (HDDs). See the article Choosing Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) for CCTV Systems for help in picking the correct HDD.
- Choose the cameras you want. Refer to the following for help in choosing cameras. How to Choose CCTV Cameras, and HD-TVI Cameras – Quick View, and HD-IP Cameras – Quick View.
- Choose the power supply for the cameras. Standard cameras require a 12v DC supply, PTZ cameras usually require a 24v AC supply. TVI cameras are not supplied with a power supply. Each camera requires 12v DC regulated and around 5 watts (~400mA). The power can be provided locally at the camera or from a central point - usually near the DVR.
IP cameras are not supplied with a power supply and also require a 12v power supply. This can be provided locally or centrally from a conventional power supply. Alternatively PoE (Power over Ethernet) enabled IP cameras can be powered from a PoE switch or PoE ports on the NVR. See the article Using Poe in CCTV Systems for more information.
- Decide on how you are going to connect it all together. The following articles Connecting Analogue Cameras to a DVR and Connecting IP CCTV Systems will help.
And that’s it.