Things you should know before purchasing a Video Security System


Before we proceed to the questions asked by homeowners and business owners we would like to inform you about your project, so please take the time of reading the information below, because it's an investment for your property and your safety:

Not all CCTV equipment is created equal, in fact there are many options that offer varying performance much like the automobile industry. In the world of CCTV you can find the equivalent of a $2,000 golf cart and a $350,000 Ferrari and everything in between. Both have 4 wheels but that's where the similarities end, it’s under the hood that counts.

Just like any other consumer electronic in the end you get what you pay for. Most retailers and sellers make about a 40-80% profit margin, this is after costs like shipping and overhead. That means when you buy a product that costs $100.00 the manufacturer usually has only spent $30 to build it which simply means it’s not a good product and will probably have a working life of about 2 months. There is a reason these products are 1/10 of the price of good and reliable DVR brand names. The type of seller these products attract are online sellers (ebay) and will make profits margins as low as 2% which means they can’t afford to offer good service or allow for RMAs (returns). Cheap products are like disposable razors they are NOT designed to last for a long time and you will end up replacing them every 2 months.

Now some products can be made cheaply like ipod cases, screen protectors, and other simple products with no moving parts or electronics. DVRs need to be good quality as they run 24/7 (20X more than the average electronic device) and process anywhere from 30-480 frames per second which in a year is over 15 billion images, and a good DVR should last 3-5 years.

A true DVR and camera require years of research and development to facilitate the seamless integration of both the hardware and software.
DVRs are highly complex systems that must run 24/7, processing millions of images per day and are one of the few products that can’t be made both well and cheaply. Cheap and inexpensive products sold at your local grocery or wholesale store, and other low grade DVR’s and cameras sold online, are not used by any security professional and should only be used by hobbyists.

To be honest these retailers sells complete Garbage and is not used by anyone who has worked with CCTV or security products. They are poor quality especially for IR cameras, due to low quality material, low S/N ratio, c grade CCD image chips, narrow viewing angle.

If you are only going to spend $70 on cameras then you should buy 15 dummy cameras they will be just as effective and cheaper.

Also as far as night vision or IR cameras go most do not give good images in the dark. Many companies claim good night vision but there are only a handful of brands who give night vision over 30 feet out doors. Normally if a cameras is rated 150 feet of IR it will give you ok images at 30 feet at night and good images at about 20 if rated for 60 feet you might get 15 indoors and will be useless outdoors.

Again, your local grocery store don't know anything about your security needs, most of them sell a lot of items that they don't know anything about... their goal is to sell whatever for whoever and make quick money. In the example above, Mrs. Kathy was told to return the entire lot of equipment to get her money back and had to hire the same company that installed the system to get all of the cameras and wires removed. She ended up paying double for that installation and for a system that didn't perform as she expected! We can understand that most of the homeowners are on a budget and cheap prices look good. Please think twice before putting your money in the trash. This is an investment for your property and must be chosen carefully.

Frequently asked questions from our customers:

What type of system do you sell?
We spend a lot time of research and testing to be able to bring you an outstanding system that will last you for years to come. Our system has been carefully developed and tested and is re-tested again before each installation. Each system is customized for our customers, depending on the time needed for the recording, remote access, audio use and other needs. Most of our systems come with 2 or 3 years warranty.

What type of cameras do you use for outdoor?
Cameras can vary for each outdoor situation, usually if you are monitoring exit and entry doors, a fixed lens camera with high resolution can do the job and cost less than a vari-focal lens camera. If you are monitoring areas that are 25 feet or more from your home, a vari-focal lens camera with strong infra red technology is required to be able to provide a clear picture.

Do you use bullet or dome cameras for outdoor?
From our experience, we find that bullet cameras are not the good way to go. Bullet cameras do require a support bracket to hold them, the support has multiple screws that over time get loose or rust. Bullet cameras attracts spiders who build their webs between the top cover that sticks out an inch from the glass and the bottom of the camera. Any camera with infra red will attract insects - but dome cameras have a flat or round surface that makes it hard for a spider to build a web. A spider web in front of the camera lens will make the picture very hard to see and everything will be white - especially at night.

We use dome cameras for outdoor because they are vandal proof and the screws that hold the camera are connected from the inside of the camera.

What is the completion time for the installation?
In most cases, completion time for up to 10 cameras is one day (6-9 hours) which depends on the size and accessible parts of your home. Homes that are already finished requires more time to be able to conceal the wires, usually inside the walls or attic areas. Generally for a business, it is much easier. Most of the businesses have a drop tile ceiling which makes the installation much faster.

Do you have wireless cameras that you can install?
Yes, but they are not recommended. The only time a wireless camera is used is when we can't run a video wire. Wireless cameras do require power to function, a power wire still needs to be present unless the camera is 4 feet or less from a power plug. Generally wireless cameras will display static on the picture display because they pick up interference from external sources.

What is your warranty period?
For economic systems the warranty time is 2 years and for the more advanced systems it is 3 years.

What is the correlation between camera resolution and video picture quality?
Click here to view

What size of hard drive do you use?
Typically, it depends on the recording time that you want to keep, that is why our system is customizable to fit your needs. If you travel a lot and spend more than two weeks away from home, a larger capacity hard drive is recommended.

Best Practices for the installation of CCTV (FBI video):


Part 2: