What Options Should I Get for My CCTV System? [11 Must Haves!]

When it comes to making a new home purchase, it’s important to understand all the pros and cons. Sometimes this will be budget related, and sometimes this is more geared toward the actual hardware you ultimately decide to purchase.

With CCTV systems it’s no different. The goal is to strike a healthy balance between budget-friendly systems but also finding all the perks and features that you desire for your home, protection, and convenience.

One of the questions that I see pop up rather frequently is a bit more in depth, but I still wanted to touch on it. What options should I get for my CCTV system? Here’s what I can tell you on this topic?

So, what options should I get for my CCTV system? First, finding a CCTV security system that meets your budget is priority number 1. Additionally, looking for wireless technology, HD quality and live feed notifications are features not to pass on. Lastly, finding CCTV systems with high quality features like high frames per second and night vision can be highly beneficial.

Outside of these features to search for, other options do exist that you can try and land with your upcoming CCTV purchase. It’s important to understand the ins and outs of these systems and when you are really getting the most bang for your buck.

Let’s dive into 11 features that are must-haves with your CCTV system.

1. Wireless Technology Is the Way of The Future. Jump on Board

Home security and CCTV systems never even offered this benefit at one point in time. That’s how quickly technology advances and changes. However, wireless cameras and even wireless or cloud-based storage capabilities are a huge feature to consider.

For starters, it eliminates the issue that usually comes with individuals who move frequently. When you have a hard-wired system, you will most likely leave it for the new home buyers or even the new individuals getting ready to take over the lease at your office space.

With the amount of money that we spend on these systems, it’s a huge benefit to easily be able to take them with you in case of a move or even if you want to change the locations of the cameras over time. Hardwiring your CCTV system isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It can help with connection issues and even power sources, but at the end of the day, I would always choose to go wireless.

Also, wireless CCTV systems are always going to be easier for self-install. This can help affordability and save you the hassle in the future if you want to make additions or changes to your equipment.

Hardwiring requires much more effort such as drilling holes and running the wires through walls and other ceilings. The only reason people typically hardwire is due to fear of connection or extra security from potential hackers taking over the system.

Stick with wireless for the most comfortable and most convenient style of CCTV systems.

2. Enough Cameras to Protect the Property Is A No Brainer

The next option I always like to recommend is to be sure you have enough cameras to get the job done. If you have a large property or several entry points having a system with only 1 channel or one camera active isn’t really going to get the job done for you.

It would be much more advisable for you to consider systems that may be 4 channel, 8 channel or even more in these situations. Common spots where monitoring is ideal can include the following.

  • Garage Door Entry
  • Front Door Entry
  • Back Door Entry
  • Gates to Backyards
  • Main Living Areas
  • Outdoor Secondary Buildings
  • Basement Window Entry

For areas such as the basement windows, it’s not always necessary to include an additional camera. Sometimes just having window sensors or glass break sensors can get the job done just as easy. The main takeaway with this part of the purchase is that if you are going to spend the money, you might well cover everything that needs to be protected.

Criminals are smart and know how to work around weak points. Leaving gaps in the system could be just as useless as not having a system at all. Protect the property.

3. Mobile Apps and Live Time Notifications Are Critical Pieces of The Equation

Many security systems offer mobile downloads so that you can have the app right on your smart device. This can include your mobile phone, tablet or even desktop if need be. Live time notifications can be hugely beneficial. Especially in the situations when you have something such as a doorbell camera installed.

Maybe you are in a separate room of the home and can’t hear the doorbell or just want a sneak peek at who is lurking on your doorstep. It doesn’t really matter in this situation what the case may be but making sure your CCTV system is compatible with your mobile devices and that all devices can be synced into one nice mobile app is a huge positive I would always look for when purchasing a CCTV system.

4. Budget-Friendly but Be Careful Not to Be Overly Cautious with Price.

One of the top considerations you should be thinking about when purchasing your CCTV system comes down to budget. It doesn’t make much sense to spend more than you can afford on the system but it’s also not advisable to be overly cheap either.

At the same time, it’s also important to remember point number 2 that we mentioned. It also doesn’t make sense to half protect your assets.

Lastly, going with the absolute cheapest option is usually going to cost you more in the long run. Cheap cameras aren’t going to have the same functions and options and can leave you frustrated. Lastly, affordable CCTV systems are likely to have poor video resolution, weak warranties and often run into more technical issues.

The main point to understand is to budget shop for your CCTV system but within reason. You still want to be searching for quality and for a system that can keep the entire home or property secure.

5. HD Is the Only Way to Go for The Ultimate Experience

This will, of course, come down to your overall budget, and you can certainly get away with CCTV systems that are only using 720P. In my opinion and something I believe is a must-have is HD quality. For the price difference, it’s worth every penny.

Quality can undoubtedly come into play when trying to replay footage on your system, especially in poor lighting conditions.

Even weather can have an impact on visibility. With how quickly these systems are changing, I wouldn’t be surprised if non-HD cameras will eventually not be offered on store shelves.

If you have the budget and want the ultimate experiencing with your system, I would spring and go for Full-HD quality/resolution.

When you compare prices between HD and non-HD options you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference. These systems are continually getting more affordable as more competition enters the market so be sure to shop for quality first and do your homework later.

6. Lighting Matters. Infrared and LED’s All the Way, All Day

Lighting will always matter with CCTV systems just like we mentioned quality will. Some cameras are going to be more capable of proving stunning quality regardless of the lighting conditions that they are placed in. I would always spring for a system or camera that includes a true infrared with built-in LED illuminators.

When you do this, you’re increasing the visibility and high quality for up to 250 feet or more in some situations. Most CCTV cameras systems need the ability to protect night or day, rain or shine so it doesn’t make much sense in my mind to have a system that’s half put together or can only provide benefits for 12 hours out of the day.

An excellent way to test if your camera can handle this test is just to do a little homework first. Maybe YouTube, your camera you are considering purchasing in action. Check the night vision quality.

Sometimes even the manufactures will have night vision examples of videos and images displayed on the website. I’d also read reviews.

Too many knocks off brands can advertise as decent quality, but I’m the kind of guy that needs to see it to believe it. I would 100% make sure that this technology is part of your system, but I would also make sure that you do your homework to find out the real quality before dropping the cash to purchase the said system.

7. Power Source Options Are Always Top Consideration

Power sources for your CCTV camera is another major area to discuss. You want to get this right because it can save you a lot of time and headache in the future. I personally love the cameras that can be plugged in but also run entirely off rechargeable batteries.

Depending on the application and use for your CCTV system you could even spring for the solar-powered camera options which are the newest to enter the market, but I’m a big fan.

While having a wired source is always nice to ensure stable power supply, you never know when you may lose power or what application you may choose to use your system in the future so having both options in play is always a big positive for me.

The biggest downfall is using this approach but staying 100% wireless becomes an issue. If this is the case, I recommend going battery operated that way you can keep all wiring to an absolute minimum.

Besides your router needing a power source in the home, you should be able to move components, get power and get connection virtually wire-free using this setup.

8. The Ability to Upgrade and Interchange Devices and Hardware is Essential

Being wireless and using the newer CCTV systems should already have you in good shape to exercise this option. What I like to see are systems that are easily automated into smart home technology.

This mostly just means that they are connected to a central hub that powers many other devices as well. When this is the case, almost all hardware can be interchanged or upgraded and mixed and matched.

Of course, if you are using a certain NVR or DVR system, you will want to double check what’s compatible. Outside of that, I would always keep all the doors open and allow myself to change equipment or upgrade freely whenever I choose.

Just asking an expert in the store or even by calling the manufacturer should give you a good idea of your options today and your possibilities to interchange equipment in the future.

9. Wide Dynamic Range Will Always Be Your Best Bet

Wide dynamic range is another feature I like to see on my CCTV cameras or what I recommend you look for as well. As we mentioned before, lighting always plays a huge role with any outdoor/indoor security or CCTV system.

With wide dynamic range, will help strike a balance in those situations where one area or view of the camera is getting plenty of light but another area of the room is getting over cast significantly with shadows and dark spots.

Overall, outside of having night vision or infrared technology with your system, this is a feature that will eliminate any chances of poor-quality footage or images now and in the future.

10. Look for Higher Frame Rates for Higher Quality

No matter how good of night vision, how many LED’s you have or if you even have wide dynamic range, your frame rates can be a quick quality killer with your CCTV system. Higher frame rates can help with fast moving objects and can make the entire quality of the video much smoother.

A lot of CCTV systems will frequently use 7.5 or 15 frames per second although systems are available at 1 frame, 5 frames, and even 30 frames.

As you increase the frames per second the better your quality will get. I’m not necessarily recommending that you must go for a 30 frame per second system, but I’d highly recommend finding the highest frame rates that are within your budget for peak quality.

11. Tamper Detection Is Always A Must

Clearly, we are interested in CCTV systems because of the protection and peace of mind that they can offer us. It’s a huge benefit knowing you have this extra layer of security around your home or property.

With that being said, I think it’s important always to consider systems that come equipped with tamper protection which many new systems do offer. Tamper protection can provide alerts with and detect if several things are taking place towards your camera. Here’s a look at some of them.

  • If the Camera Is Physically Moved or Hit
  • If Power Is Lost to The Camera or the Power Has Been Cut
  • If the Camera Has been Sprayed with A Substance Such as Spray Pain, or anything else to attempt to block the field of view.
  • If anything is Obscuring the Camera Forcing the Images or Video to Become Blurry

Of course, this isn’t going always to be you catching a criminal in action. Many other things could set off these alerts throughout owning these systems. Branches could fall, weather or even birds could force the camera to trigger a signal when in all reality, nothing terrible is really taking place.

With these options on your CCTV systems, you can live time notifications when a camera is being attacked, vandalized or if someone even attempts to play with or disconnect the power source from the cameras.

The entire idea here is always to know what’s going on regardless of what the case may be.

Knowing if someone is attempting to disable a camera is equally important as knowing if someone is trying to break into your home.

Most of the time, these two instances will coincide with each other but what a nice relief to know that you can call authorities or stop the criminal in their tracks before they even finishing unplugging the camera.

Putting It All Together, Price Matters but Quality Is Much More Important

Like I said at the beginning of this post. Do I want you breaking the bank or spending more than you need to spend? Absolutely not. Do I think that if you go cheap in the beginning, it will ultimately cost you more in the long run? Absolutely.

CCTV camera systems are expensive enough as it is that’s important to shop quality first. Do your homework and budget shop after understanding the features that are must-have items with these systems.

Again, it does no good to have half the home protected, poor quality video at night or day or even cameras that can’t be upgraded or interchanged easily in the future.

Eventually, the money will catch up, and most people will upgrade when they realize they are missing an essential feature. Make sure you get the purchase done, and you won’t have to be one of those people kicking themselves down the road.

What’s your experience with purchasing CCTV systems? What features do you believe are necessary and what systems have met these standards with ease? Be sure to drop a comment below.

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