10 step guide to CCTV (self install)

Published: 08th September 2008
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Installing a CCTV system for use at home or work can provide a number of benefits and outlined are the most important things to consider before installing a CCTV system.

1. Do you want the CCTV system to be fitted by a professional CCTV Installation company or do you feel you can install a CCTV system yourself. The benefits of having it fitted for you are that you don't need any tools and the CCTV system should be what you need. But this is often outweighed by the cost as it can be very expensive to have a CCTV system professionally fitted, and unless the CCTV installers are highly skilled you may not always get what you think you have ordered!

2. If you are a competent at DIY you can install a CCTV system yourself. This can be done in a number of ways but the most popular way is by purchasing a CCTV kit that contains everything you need. Most CCTV kits can be tailored to your requirements or you can a buy a ready made CCTV kit that will usually comprise of a number of cameras, dvr recorder and cables.

3. If you are installing CCTV systems you will need to consider a number of factors before you purchase the CCTV equipment, most suppliers offer a number of guides that will help you consider what type of cameras you should select.

4. You first need to decide why you need a cctv system and what you want the camera's to look at. If it's just for general observation most cctv cameras will be sufficient. But if you need your CCTV cameras to be more specific you will need to invest in vari-focal cctv cameras. This type of camera allows you to adjust the focal length, therefore you can choose what is important, i.e. do you need the whole garden or would a shot of the gate in close up offer a better image.

5. Decide on how many cctv cameras you may need. The more you choose the better the coverage, but the more the CCTV system will cost you.

6. The quantity of CCTV cameras dictates what type of CCTV DVR you will need i.e. if you will never need more than 4 CCTV cameras a 4 channel DVR will be the DVR to choose. If you feel you may need to add more CCTV cameras to your system in the long term it is worth paying for 8 or 16 channel recorders.

7. Sound, many people ask for sound recording, most CCTV DVR's offer this feature but very few external CCTV cameras have audio capabilities. This is because the sound you would get from a CCTV camera externally is non directional. Recording sound internally is much more effective and many CCTV cameras offer internal covert microphones.

8. Selecting a CCTV DVR recorder comes down to your budget and what features you require. Most DVR's come with networking or internet connectivity for remote viewing. Remote viewing is more to do with how you configure your broadband router than the DVR. Configuring a DVR and router for remote viewing often requires a certain level of IT knowledge.

9. You can choose to view your CCTV system on your TV, a CCTV monitor or a VGA monitor if you have a VGA converter. Using a TV is now the most common method and simply requires a BNC to Scart connector (BNC is the connection used for connecting CCTV cameras to recorders and other equipment)

10. If you are unsure of exactly what parts you will need it is best to buy a full CCTV kit from good retailer. They will ensure you have all the parts you need to install the cctv system and offer good advice and after sales service

Richard Andrews is an expert in cctv technology, more information can be found at http://www.cctvdirect.co.uk

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