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How to put together a CCTV system on a budget

We are often asked by customers just how much they should be spending on their home CCTV systems. Essentially the only real answer is “however much you can afford”, as you can’t really put a price on the security of your loved ones and possessions, and higher prices do bring more recording features. That being said, there are always going to be times when purse strings are limited, and there are still some fantastic ways in which you can keep your property secure without costing the world. This is a quick look at some effective ways of putting together a CCTV system on a budget

Cameras

Professional quality wired cameras can run up quite a cost, but if you only need to monitor a small area you can still get fantastic coverage by using basic wireless cameras. This type of camera sends audio and video to a receiver, meaning you cut down on cabling costs, and can relocate cameras easily if you want to change around your system. You can use up to 4 wireless cameras in one area, so it’s easy to put a system together. Be aware though, they can be affected by interference from things such as WiFi, so may not be the best option if you have lots of networks visible near where you set them up. If you go down the wired route it’s worth sitting down and having a think about what kind of night vision range you need. It can be tempting to go for the most expensive beast of a camera possible, but these are often designed for huge distances of 50m+. This is actually impractical for shorter range recording- such as over a porch- as the infra-red will completely bleach nearby subjects. In situations like this a cheaper, smaller CCTV camera can actually get better results.

Recorders

Believe it or not, one of the most popular ways of saving money on a CCTV recorder (or DVR) is to not buy one! Instead, there are several USB video capture devices available on the market that let you record footage straight to your home computer, complete with dedicated software for motion detection and scheduled recording. Provided you have a computer that you can leave on to record with, this is a really effective way of cutting down on one of the biggest costs in any kit.

SpyCameraCCTV's USB Capture Device
SpyCameraCCTV’s USB Capture Device

Even if you decide you want to go for the in depth recording controls that a dedicated DVR brings you, there are still ways to save. For example, planning your system around a lower frame rate means for recording you don’t need to stump out for pricey real-time DVRs. Cutting the footage down to 12.5 or 6 fps per camera still captures plenty of usable detail, and also means you can get away with a much smaller hard drive for storing footage.

Installation

Another way to cut down on one of the biggest costs associated with setting up CCTV is to simply crack open the toolbox and install it yourself. It can be intimidating at first, but the most difficult part of the process is simply drilling holes in your wall to run the cable through. After that it’s no more tricky than wiring up a stereo. All of our home CCTV systems are complete kits, including all the components you need to get them up and running, perfect for DIY installations!

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