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Understanding CCTV Components: The 4 Parts Every System Requires

Published 03/30/2020 by General Security


Installing any closed-circuit television (CCTV) security system requires four basic components: cameras, a recording system, a monitor, and video management software. A variety of supporting equipment is also necessary to become fully functional, and that includes power cables, though the exact requirements depend on the main CCTV’s components. 

Below we’ll review the main equipment categories, and what to consider when shopping for each.

1. Consider Cameras

If you’re building a CCTV camera system, you have two camera options: IP (internet protocol), or analog. The former is the preferred choice for anyone interested in modern capabilities, as it is the best for the vast majority of applications. In fact, you should only opt for an analog camera if you have an existing digital recording system that requires older technology. 


2. The Two Basic Types of CCTV Systems: NVR and DVR

When it comes to video recorders, you also have a couple of options: NVR (network video recorder) and DVR (digital video recorder). Although DVR’s are prevalent in American households and likely more familiar to the average consumer, NVR is actually the alternative you should opt for because of its integration with IP cameras. Additionally, NVR’s are typically more expensive than its counterpart, but the ability to work with high-resolution IP cameras outweighs the costs in most situations. 


IP and NVR: The Best Combination

When combined, IP and NVR technology make your CCTV system simple, flexible, and future-proofed.

When combined, IP and NVR technology make your CCTV system simple, flexible, and future-proofed. Together, they provide wireless capabilities, offer superior overall picture quality, and require fewer cables. By contrast, analog cameras require not one, but two cables per unit, minimum, are lower resolution, and more difficult to install. 

When given the option, this is one area where you get what you pay for, so select the better system. If you want to upgrade an existing DVR system, you could transition to a hybrid system, though it can be tricky to get everything adequately working together. Once you’ve decided on your top-level tech, it’s time to select a monitor and supporting equipment. 


3. Pick Up a Monitor, or Three

A monitor lets you perform arguably the most important function of a security camera—actually viewing the footage. Of course, your selected monitor will mostly be dependent on your camera and recording software. 

For example, if you have 1080p or 4k resolution cameras installed, only a high-definition monitor will let you take advantage of the picture-perfect detail the cameras provide. On the other hand, if you have older or lower-quality components, you can save a few dollars. 

It’s also worth considering how many cameras you’ll be installing for your business, and how many rooms you need to be monitored. If you’re under the impression that you’ll require dozens of monitors, straight out of an action movie, that may be overkill. The only justification for such a set up would be if you operate a large-scale facility or large compound and need to watch every nook and cranny. Three to five screens is a good starting point, and you can modulate up or down from there based on your needs. 


4. Manage Your Video With VMS

Once you settle on the camera, recording tech, and monitor setup that’s best for your business, you’re 90 percent of the way toward creating a solid CCTV system—but you’re not done yet. One other important element to consider is your VMS (video management software). This is the means by which a human can control the NVR or DVR recording system. 

You’ve probably used a basic DVR at home when recording your favorite TV shows. Of course, business-grade security solutions are in a different class, but they also help you find, isolate, and extract the most important moments in a recording. 

You’ll have to do a bit of research to figure out which VMS is best for your situation. Keep in mind that your options will vary based on your original decision to select NVR or DVR technology. Just make sure the software is compatible with your system, and review how user-friendly the interfaces are—some will take more training than others before you become an experienced user. 


Support Your System With Cables,
Power Supplies, and Routers

Similar to the aforementioned features, depending on your system, you’ll require a variety of supporting technology to connect the dots and ensure seamless integration. Analog cameras, for example, require a coaxial cable to connect to a DVR, as well as an additional power cable. Conversely, IP alternatives can connect to the NVR recording center and get PoE (Power over Ethernet) from one cable. Wireless systems also require a router, while wired versions do not. 


Cameras Are the Most
Crucial Component

At the end of the day, the initial decision about what camera and recording components to use is the most important and will have a massive impact on the type of supporting technology to effectively operate your system. If you can afford it, opt for NVR recording and IP cameras, but if you have an older, existing system, you can add analog cameras or upgrade to a hybrid. 

Once the camera and recording equipment are chosen, research several monitors, acquire a video management system and purchase the cables and accessories you need to connect everything.

Help Is Available

 If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give us a call. Here at General Security, we’ve installed hundreds of CCTV systems and can help you design a system that works for your business, budget, and preferences.


General Security provides flexible, and feature-rich CCTV systems assisting consumers and business owners with imperative security needs. Request a quote from us today. 

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