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Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19. We have closed down until further notice. We'd like to thank you for your understanding in this matter. Stay Safe.

CCTV guide - The equipment of a CCTV system

The Camera

Your standard CCTV system will come with cameras that are one of or a mixture of two styles, the Bullet and the Dome. Both have their strengths as shown below.

   

Dome CCTV Cameras

  • More discreet than bullets making them popular for residential properties.
  • Good quality dome cameras are made of metal and are classed as anti-vandal.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Good quality dome cameras should be weatherproof.

 

Bullet CCTV Cameras

  • Larger and more obvious than domes making them popular for business properties or those looking to make it known to would-be intruders that you have security.
  • The larger camera housing allows for larger internal components which often allows bullets to see further than dome cameras.
  • Good bullet cameras should always be weatherproof.
  • Generally considered easier to install than dome cameras, although this is subjective and dependant on the property and camera placement.

Summary

As to which one you should choose, it will depend on what you want to achieve. If you want to see further than 40 meters at night then a bullet camera is most likely what you'll need. If you don't want your CCTV to stand out and like the idea of an anti vandal camera, then a dome camera is suitable. In terms of image quality, both dome and bullet cameras can provide superb ultra high definition recordings. We stock both domes and bullets in 2 mega pixel full high definition up to 5 mega pixel ultra high definition. 

The Recorder

CCTV Recorders are also known as "DVRs", "NVRs" or even "Hybrid DVRs". Be careful because not all recorders are the same and it's important you select the right recorder for your cameras or they won't work. Everything we sell here is DVR based, meaning our cameras all work via a Digital Video signal. You can also get NVRs which are Network Video Recorders. The simplest way to tell them apart is to look at the back and see what connection they take. If its a BNC connection, it's a DVR. If it's a CAT5/6 or "ethernet" connection (like what is plugged into your internet router) it's an NVR. Should if you decide to purchase a DVR, your cameras will need to be "Analogue High Definition" or simply "analogue". If you go down the NVR route then you'll need what are known as "IP" cameras. 

If you want to look deeper into the differences between DVRs and NVRs there are plenty of articles on the internet which will do that for you. We at Big Brother CCTV chose to exclusively supply DVRs and analogue high definition based equipment as we like the simplicity of it's "plug and play" setup. Also the DVR platform allows for compatibility with older systems due to the cameras and recorders we provide being multi platform (meaning they will work with older cameras and recorders).

Features to look for in a recorder

  • Resolution: This dictates the clarity of the image on your screen. The higher the better. 1080p or 2 megapixels are pretty much industry standard now and should be the minimum you aim for when buying a new recorder. You need to ensure the recorder you buy can handle your cameras. For example, a 5 megapixel camera will not work on a recorder that can only display 2 megapixel images.
  • Mobile Monitoring: The ability to watch your property on the go via an app on your mobile phone or tablet. 
  • Hard Drive: First of all make sure one comes with your recorder! There are recorders out there at a great price but they don't ship with a hard drive. You need a hard drive to record any footage. The size of hard drive you need is dependant on your needs. If you're a licensed property you will need 30 days of recording. There are many factors that can affect recording times. Do you want to record 24/7 or just on movement? Do you want a higher frame rate for smoother images? Do you want to record for long periods without the hard drive rewriting itself, say more than 4 weeks? If you do want the highest quality imagery, to record 24/7 and for a long time then be prepared to spend more on a larger hard drive. Generally for a 4 or 8 camera system a 1TB or 2TB hard drive is fine.