Closed Circuit Television or, as it is better known CCTV is a video surveillance system. Cameras placed in various locations outside or inside a property record what’s going on in the area covered by the camera. The video footage is then stored either on an integral memory card or in a cloud storage facility.

What is CCTV used for?

CCTV first came to the attention of the public when shops and businesses installed systems to deter theft and burglary. They were also installed in public places like car parks and stadiums. Now you can see them in the streets in town centre locations.

Many homes now use CCTV as a way of deterring burglars. Someone who wants to break into your property is less likely to do so if they know they are being filmed, and the footage can be used in a court case against them. CCTV makes it easier to identify any unwanted visitors to your home.

Another benefit of CCTV comes from your insurance company. Your insurer will see that you are serious about securing your home and in many cases will discount your home insurance policy.

What types of CCTV are available?

There are several types of home CCTV available, and these are wireless CCTV, POE (power over ethernet) connection or wireless CCTV.

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How is CCTV installed?

Below are the connection instructions for each type of CCTV system, this should help you when you are choosing how you want your cameras to be installed.

A wireless connection uses your internet router and works by using a WIFI connection. They are very easy to install and are very popular with DIY enthusiasts who want to install a CCTV system without professional help.

A POE CCTV system

A POE system is similar to a wired system, but the big advantage is that only one wire (an ethernet cable) is needed to connect your camera to the Network Video Recorder (NVR), even if you have more than one camera. Normally you will need two cables for each camera. You don’t need a professional electrician either.

It’s the ideal system if you have several cameras and you don’t want cables or wires to spoil the aesthetics of the inside or outside of your home.  You should also think about using a POE system if you want your cameras to be placed in locations that aren’t close to a power outlet.

A wired system

A wired system has all of your cameras wired up to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR box) and so the cables will have to be routed from the camera’s location to the box.

That means if you have 3 or 4 cameras in different locations you will have 3 or 4 wires coming to your DVR box from various places. Wired systems are normally fitted by a professional electrician or a CCTV installation specialist.

Which system should I choose?

The system you choose will depend on your budget and whether you want to install the system yourself.

A WIFI connection is very easy to set up, but you are dependent on the strength of your WIFI for the system to work properly. If you don’t have a good internet connection, then you can choose either a wired or POE CCTV system.

For example, a POE CCTV system doesn’t need a qualified electrician to install it, but you do get the benefit of not having to rely on your internet connection.

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How does CCTV work?

Your home CCTV system will record the area viewed by your camera. Cameras will either work continually or, will be active when the camera sensor picks up movement or shadow.

If you need to know what the red light is on a CCTV camera, it’s to demonstrate that the camera is recording. Any images are usually stored using a video recorder or a micro-SD card. If you want to store images for more than a few days, then you can use cloud storage.

If you need to prove in court that someone attempted to break into your home, you can use your CCTV images to identify the person who has been apprehended.

How many cameras do I need?

The number of cameras is up to you, but if you want to cover the back and front of your property then you will need more than one camera. If you buy a CCTV system, they will normally come with 2,3 or 4 cameras with the option to buy add-on cameras if required. A standard home CCTV system will usually take up to 6 cameras.

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What should I consider when I am choosing a system?

Your first consideration should be your budget. Decide how much you want to spend and then look at the features and benefits available. You may have to adjust your budget if you want more expensive features such as varifocal lenses or a large picture resolution.

Next, decide whether you want a wired, POE or WIFI connection. A wired connection will cost more because the cameras will need to be installed by a professional. A POE or WIFI system can be installed by a handyperson or a competent DIY enthusiast so installation will be cheaper.

Then look at the camera resolution. Resolution is measured with pixels, so more pixels means a higher resolution and a better, sharper image. Most standard home CCTV systems are either 1080p or 2 megapixels.

Then, pick your lens type. You can choose either a fixed lens or a varifocal. Fixed lenses are more common because varifocal lenses are more expensive.

A fixed lens can’t be adjusted, and they are normally set at a wide-angle. Don’t think though that fixed lenses aren’t any good, because fixed view lenses can give excellent viewing. If you want an adjustable lens, then you can pay more to have varifocals.

There are plenty of excellent home CCTV systems on the market. If you want to know about CCTV, have a look at the product reviews and the blogs we have online before you decide which CCTV system to buy.