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Video Security System - CCTV

CLD Kevin

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I’ve been doing some research for video security systems. I'm planning on getting one here soon for both my display and the security of my home. I’m no expert and just sharing what I’ve learned. Again, all info is from what I gathered from the net. If I provide bad info, please someone correct me.

IMO, the point of having a video security system is to identify the person or persons via video that caused the incident. If your video is unable to identify the person due to bad quality, then the video security system defeats the purpose and is basically useless. It doesn’t have to be HD quality (would be nice), but at least VCR quality. There are 2 things to consider then choosing a system….how good quality you want the video and how much are you willing to spend. Again, this info is what I gathered from reading online. I don’t have first hand knowledge.


You want to be able to record 30fps per camera. This gives you “real time” motion recording. Most reasonable priced DVR will record at CIF (352x240 resolution) at 30fps , but make sure the total fps equals 30. I’ve seen many DVR at 15fps or 7.5fps. Your recording will be choppy. So anything less than 30fsp@ CIF avoid. Just be aware the CIF resolution is small. It will probably be okay with a “good” quality system. D1 recording would be ideal and for a “best” quality system. The resolution is 704x480. Much bigger picture, better resolution. Most all DVR also offer the option to record in CIF & D1, but the D1 fps are lacking (7.5fps) and way to choppy unless it states “Full D1 @ 30fps”. And if it could record at “real time” in D1, you would know it…those are high end models and cost a lot more.

Most all DVR has options for record modes (motion, continuous, ect) so not concern with that….most are the same. Also make sure it has Pentaplex which is the ability to Record, Playback and Remote Access simultaneously. As for the HDD, just big enough to your liking and its upgradable to larger if you wish to do so. And backup is USB….forget the CD/DVD writer. Cost extra, limited to space. Network capable is a nice feature. You can login and see remotely anywhere in the world from a PC or your phone. Kinda nice to check up on you house when away or if you want to see if you neighbor is coming over while you’re at work :shock:

DVR Conclusion:

DVR needs to be 30fps @ CIF for a “good” system. 30fps @ D1 for a “best” system. Pentaplex is a nice option if you want to view and record at the same time. Network is also a nice option.


Avoid CMOS Image Sensor . That is old technology. CDD givers better quality pictures. A lot of cameras come in 1/4” sensor which is fine for “good” quality, but ideally you want to have 1/3”. Resolution should be minimum of 420 lines for a “good” system. 480 lines for “better” and 520 or higher for “best” system. You can make up some of the record quality that a DVR is lacking by getting a higher lines resolution camera. Lens all depends on the distance. If you have a small front yard and the distance is 40-50 ft from the camera…3.6mm, 4.mm is good. That gives you 60 degree angle field of view which will cover a lot of area. Further way or close-ups will require 6mm up to 12mm or higher, but the field of view gets smaller. Lens depends on your needs. There is also Vari-Focus lens. You can manually adjust them. It takes the guess work when deciding on the lens. IR is important for night vision. 99.9% of the time your display will get vandalized or stolen at night. You want something like 30 or more IR leds. This will give you much more details. In pitch black the video will be in black & white scale and you may not actually make out the face, but you will defiantly see them. If you do have low light in the area that’s being recorded, less leds are required.

Camera Conclusion:

For small yards, 420 line is a “good” camera. Higher quality camera for large yards or you want the “better or best” quality. IMO, I would go for the higher resolution camera especially if your DVR is lacking on quality. CCD is a must. Lens is all about your needs, but I like the Vari-Focus. You can leave wide most of the year, but then when you have your display up, you can adjust the zoom (manually) to the areas of concern for better quality and more details. If you want to see at night, get the higher IR leds especially in very dark area’s.


Standard 19” or larger monitor form local store will work. Most all monitors now of days are high resolution so this is no real concern. Avoid the Monitor/DVR combo system. If you monitor or DVR breaks…your replacing both. I would avoid if possible.


Most complete systems already comes with 60ft RG-59 Siamese cables (video and power in one cable). This works for most, but if your runs are longer, use cat5 with a Balun. Balun’s give you the ability to send video, audio and power on the cat5 cable up to 1200 ft. Balun’s are about $15 pair (tx & rx).

For me personally, I want a “better to best” system. I don’t want to spend money on something that I won’t be totally happy and then end up replacing it years down the road. Spend the money now and be good for a long time. And my time is limited so installing another system again later is not something I want to do. I defiantly going with the higher end camera. At least 520 lines, but prefer 600 line. Q-see just came out with 600 line Vari-Focus with 35 IR ledsfor about $125 each. They also have a 520 line at $80. As for the DVR….Recoding at D1 “real time” or 30fps would be ideal, but they are about $1000. So I’m going to op for 30fps at CIF for now. Changing out the DVR is no big deal. The D1 “real time” recorders will come down in time.

Costco has a nice 4 camera system for $299 ($200 off). The DVR is CIF @ 30fps, 500GB, network capable and 8CH for growth. Cameras are 420 lines fix @ 3.9mm. I think this system fits in the “good” category. Includes cables, power, ect. Everything you need except for the monitor. For the price…that is a steal.


They also have a 8 camera system for $499 ($300 off). The DVR is also CIF @ 30fps, 500GB, network capable and 16CH for growth. Cameras are the same…420 lines fix @ 3.9mm. Everything included except the monitor. Great price.


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One more thing I wanted to add then I’ll shut up…

I didn’t think about going this route, but you can buy a Full D1 30fps video capture card for a PC. 8CH cost less than a $100 and I can buy a new PC with monitor with plenty of speed & memory for around $300. I actually have an old one that would do the trick, but I was going to give it to my nephew. And being windows base, I should have no problems with the software. Only downfall I see is the OS support is XP or Vista 32-bit. Win7 64-bit is not supported. I believe I will go that route and end up having my “best” system with Full D1 recording capable. Glad I looked deeper.

Here is 8Ch video capture card on ebay for $77


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  • 3 weeks later...

Just sharing a little info.

I received one of the Costco fliers in the mail about week ago...the ones with all the coupons. Anyways, it showed a Q-See security system online-only offer. It stated that it was 8-channel "Full D1" resolution DVR 1TB HDD and 4 High-Res camers's for $599. Not much more info other than that. I looked on the Costco.com and noting was list. The Sale started Jan 6th (my B-Day). So I just logged on and there it was with all the specs.

I’ve done a lot of research and these "Full D1" DVD 1TB HDD with remote monitoring cost from $1200 to $1800 everywhere I looked. Fact I found last year's model on several retail sites for $1400. The camera's are 520 lines, 1/3 CCD, 36 IR LED which is good up to 60ft away in pure darkness. The power panel supports 8 camera so no need to upgrade if you want to add more cameras. Everything included except the monitor. This is the perfect high-end video system I've been looking for and for $599...that is a total steal. Something like this should cost $1500 to $1800 especially because of the Full D1 DVR. This is an exclusive Costco bundle...which is perfect because they have a great return policy.

I just ordered one. Bought myself a B-Day present.


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I agree that's sound like a great system. I Use a 16 channel capture card in a pc I built. I have 11 cameras, works great. I found that the IR cameras do not work as good as they claim. The IR acts more like a spot light limiting your field of view. I perfer to use a low light camera with a good varifocal lens. Here is an example: http://cctvdirectbuy.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=56&products_id=145


A little pricey but works great: http://www.securitycamerasdirect.com/products/color-560-700-wdr-day-night-camera

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jimswinder wrote:

I bought one of these systems when they were selling them with 4 - 30 foot night vision and 4 - 60 foot night vision cameras. I have had a couple of incidents within the 60 foot range and was nowhere near able to identify the individuals. I definitly need to get better quality cameras for this system. In some of the areas that I have the cameras they are fine but on the front of the house, they are basically useless.

I would not recommend this system.
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  • 1 year later...

Digging up an old thread but have a question. Looking at getting a system and have two options for cameras, 480TVL 1/4" CMOS sensor 3.6mm lens or 420TVL 1/3" CCD sensor with 6mm lens. Which is better? From above the 480 is better but the 1/3" CCD sensor is better than the 1/4" CMOS. Does the extra lines make the CMOS ok? The front of my house is only about 50ft from the road so I am not sure I need the 6mm lens. Thought? Help??? I will say the CCD camera system is alot more than the other. But more $ isn't always better.

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Found a third option also. 420TVL 1/4" CCD sensor 3.6mm lens. So same as the CMOS camera only with CCD sensor instead.

You couldn`t give a cmos sensor.The color is crappy.I had a camera go out in my system and i went with a cmos camera.After hooking it up it looked like crap.My grass looked purple.I sent it back and bought a ptz camera :)

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