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Home CCTV Systems

Traditionally people have protected their homes with alarm systems that produce an audible alert and in some cases send a message to a monitoring station which in turn calls the homeowner and if necessary alert the police. The problem is people ignore the audible alert and by the time police arrive any thief will be long gone.

False triggers not only annoy your neighbours but can also result in police responses being withdrawn. With monitored alarms, there is usually a registration fee and monthly contract fees paid via direct debit. Some suppliers require minimum contracts of several years.

Many people are turning to domestic CCTV as an alternative.  Here's why

Unlike alarms CCTV systems are able to identify criminals and bring them to justice. Using motion triggering and email alerts CCTV can even take on the role of an alarm system be it a much more intelligent version because you can actually see what triggered the system. There is no worry of false alarms, neighbours won't be annoyed and you have total control over the system. There are no monthly ongoing costs with our CCTV systems.

Self-installation is a realistic proposition for the DIY enthusiast.

Avoid common mistakes

Many people who fit CCTV at home buy a "CCTV in a box" solution from places like Maplins, Screwfix, eBay and so on. These kits from manufacturers such as Swann rarely provide a satisfactory solution. They almost always have cheap fixed-lens wide-angle cameras. As you move away from the camera, detail capture quickly diminishes. The writing on the box might claim a "range" of 20 metres or so. The reality is often an effective optical range of fewer than 3 metres. Using cameras with the correct optical range is essential. We are happy to give free advice to make sure you choose the right cameras for your application.

Plan your domestic CCTV system carefully

The number one mistake people make when planning and installing CCTV systems is trying to machine-gun an area using wide-angle cameras in an attempt to film every inch of the property. You end up with very little detail, certainly not enough to identify someone.

Concentrate on key areas and aim to capture higher levels of detail. HD 1080P is now available for home CCTV systems but you still need to use the right cameras otherwise you will waste the advantage High Definition potentially offers.

What sort of CCTV cameras can be used on a Home CCTV system?

The short answer is it will depend on individual circumstances but the likelihood is you will use a variety of cameras each one doing a particular job.  Open-face vandal dome cameras can be mounted lower down, possibly to cover vehicles near a garage or people near a door. Traditional day-night cameras allow more powerful lenses to be used ideal for capturing detail further away. This is why a CCTV kit-in-a-box solution can never work, the chances of it containing just the right cameras for your needs are almost zero.

Varifocal cameras which you can zoom in or out during installation are a wise choice because they allow you to balance the angle of view with the amount of detail captured, the more you zoom in the more detail you record, and the more you zoom out the wider the area of coverage but at the expense of detail. They ensure you don't waste pixels filming unnecessary things such as the side of a building or a neighbouring garden.

What cables can I use to join the CCTV cameras to the DVR recorder

These days many people use CAT5 cables with video baluns and screw-on power connectors. These require no specialist tools, the cable is easier to pass through walls and can support both the video signal and camera power supply. We carry everything you need in stock for next-day delivery. Have a look at our Guide to using CAT5 cable for CCTV

Remote viewing of a home CCTV system over the internet

If you have the internet at home then you can plug your DVR recorder into the broadband router and access your CCTV system over the internet. You can see live footage, and previously recorded footage, make settings changes, and even back up important events whilst away from your home.

Our DVRs allow remote access using both PC and Mac computers as well as mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets (iPad etc).

What about these WiFi-based wireless CCTV cameras I've seen from people like Nest

Recently there have been a number of products launched by people like Nest. On the face of it, they look great. Stylish, easy to install and a slick website to promote them. There are however a few things to consider before going down this route. The cameras are ultra wide-angle which means detail capture falls off rapidly as you move away from the camera. Images used in promotional material tend to be extremely close-up footage or even digital SLR camera images passed off as footage.

If you want to store footage you have to subscribe to an online service with monthly charges for each camera. These quickly mount up, with Nest for instance single-camera storage costs £240 / year on a rolling 30 days footage. You also need to check recording resolutions as they aren't always the HD 1080P of our high-definition CCTV systems.

Finally, the cameras tend to be for indoor use only. Even if they are designed for outdoor use the ultra-wide-angle lenses make them virtually useless beyond a few metres.

If you have any questions regarding home CCTV systems and domestic CCTV cameras then please contact us for advice. It is free and there is no obligation.