A DVR security camera system can be scaled up with enough channels to cover even the largest home. The system shown here has 8 cameras, and would be a good size for a medium to large home.
If you're looking for something smaller, check out one of these:
Watching live video from 8 cameras isn't practical; there's too much going on at once. This means adding some kind of recording capability.
The best way to do this is with a DVR. You can use a DVR with its own built-in hard drive, or use a more basic model that stores images on a separate PC or mass-storage device. Either way, you’ll have a record of activity constantly updated as the unit continuously adds footage.
Obviously, at the instant an event occurs, you won’t know about it. But within hours, days, or weeks, any theft, vandalism, or other bad behavior will be noticed. Recording provides a record of any malicious activity, and would be the most help to law enforcement.
For this reason, many DVR security camera systems include a DVD burner, SD port, or other method to transfer your recorded images to a portable medium. This can be given to authorities to aid in identifying those responsible.
Most larger DVR security camera systems allow local viewing on any
computer on your home network. This is usually done using a desktop
interface and viewing software included with the system. Some basic
setup may be required to get the images viewable on your particular
network. Most DVR makers offer technical support to help you or your
Along with viewing your video, the desktop interface also allows control of recording quality, scheduling, display options, and other DVR functions.
Besides local control, many DVR surveillance systems offer operation
and viewing from any computer in the world with Internet access. This
may have limitations such as PC or Mac device type, as well as specific
operating system requirements. Setup for viewing and operating the
system remotely may require a bit more additional effort, often involving IP address configuration.
Another popular feature involves remote viewing and/or control with portable devices. This may include iPhone, Android, Palm, and other mobile platforms. These sometimes require downloading an app to your mobile phone or device to allow you to interface with your system at home.
The Q-See 8-camera system shown here is a good example of a typical system. The DVR has 500GB of memory built-in. If you need more recording space, it can be upgraded to a 1 Terabyte (1TB) SATA hard drive. Or, you can always use your own external USB hard drive to increase memory capacity.
Recording can be set to occur continuously for all cameras, on a set
timed schedule, or by using the built-in motion detection feature.
Motion detection can be set up to mask any areas of the picture that
might cause false triggering, such as moving branches or vehicle
The DVR allows viewing in several different modes. You can watch any single camera full-screen, or any 2, 4, or 8 cameras in a split-screen display. You can also view all cameras one at a time with sequential viewing.
View your images while at home on your laptop or PC running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7. Various browsers are supported, including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox with an IE plug-in.
The hardwired color cameras each have 24 infrared LED’s for nighttime viewing. This should give a viewing range of up to 40 feet, according to the manufacturer.
Before wiring and installing a camera for viewing in a darkened area, it’s a good idea to try it out first. Hook it up temporarily, and place it in the darkened location. Check the quality of the pictures, and see if re-positioning improves the clarity.
These cameras are also weatherproof, so they can be mounted outdoors if needed. For any outdoor surveillance cameras, it’s always best to install them under an eave or overhang. Even though they’re weatherproof, giving them some protection from the elements will prolong their life.
Choosing a DVR security camera system can be exciting and even fun, with the wide variety of packages available now. When comparing systems, keep some important points in mind:
For more help finding a system, see
Choosing DVR Camera Systems.