How to Choose a Security DVR

Published: 15th March 2010
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Owners of both homes and businesses, if they're not tech-savvy, can face a tough challenge learning how to choose a security DVR (Digital Video Recorder). There are many confusing terms and specifications, although the best sources for security equipment make a point of writing understandable, plain-English articles on their wares. This article hopes to take the same approach, making it easier for "non-techies" to know the important things to look for in a security DVR.

The first thing to do is forget about using product specifications alone for buying decisions. You need to establish your needs for the device, its capabilities and what it can do, not necessarily how it does those things. As you become more familiar with the technology, of course, things begin to fall into place and you will understand more of the operation. For now, you will begin by noting, for instance, that a warehouse or retail business has an entirely different set of security requirements than a family home or a vacation property.

Good old days?
Technologically speaking, there were no good old days. Especially in the realm of security cameras, recorders and other surveillance equipment, the systems of the past were large, expensive, difficult to use and limited in flexibility. Although you can still buy standalone systems - cameras that feed images, wirelessly even, to a central station where they are recorded, with no Web connectivity - the trend of the past decade has been to Internet-savvy systems.

Whether you use a Web-capable system or not, there are certain basic considerations that will drive your decision. These are the layout of your perimeter, the area needing coverage, security requirements and your budget. Again, you can opt for a "closed" system as described above, or you can get a DVR that will work in concert with an Internet connection to give you increased flexibility and the ability to manage things from any Web-connected computer in the world.

Modest needs?
If both your needs and budget are modest, the there are any number of Web-ready DVR systems that come with one, two or four surveillance cameras that can be placed in strategic locations inside and outside your property. Many companies sell complete systems with everything you need to install your own, simple network-controlled system for surveillance and security.

Your other considerations involve the amount of time you wish to capture. You can certainly get systems that run 24/7 and capture everything over the entire day (and night). You will need to determine just how much you wish to archive, as the storage of the surveillance footage is the largest ongoing responsibility, in terms of computer or flash drive storage and potential cost.

Why DVR?
Some people wonder why they should buy a security DVR system if they have a motion detection system installed. Motion detection can be a handy thing if it is used to turn on cameras or lights, even an alarm, but without a visual record of what happened it is useless for solving any theft or break-in. Neither will a motion detector identify family members, employees or other people in positions of trust who may pull any number of "inside jobs" that will never be resolved.

With today's DVR systems and worldwide connectivity, you can be halfway around the world and identify intruders, even in no- and low-light situations. If you are onsite, there is no need to physically patrol a dangerous area or investigate outside disturbances, since you can capture the action on camera, record it to the DVR and access it at any time, from anywhere, for any reason.

Ease of entry
If you've already been vandalized or suffered property loss or even assaults at your home or place of business, there is no reason to wait any longer for the protection of a DVR system. The latest systems are easy to install and maintain, and the current crop of night vision cameras capture bright scenes in almost total darkness. The presence of sophisticated pan/tilt/zoom cameras around a business or home can also act as a fairly robust deterrent.

Bottom line considerations for buying a security DVR come down, essentially, to peace of mind and preparedness. If you are prepared to record all occurrences in and around your home and/or place of business, and have a system in place that you know how to operate, your peace of mind will increase substantially. You will be prepared with documentary evidence of crimes if they occur, and this will also offer protection in the way of chronicling exactly what occurred. Insurance premiums can often be discounted when qualifying security systems are in place.

Remember to consider your actual situation, and not just "similar" ones described at security and surveillance equipment sites. You have to cover what is really at risk, in your actual situation, so make sure your needs, not the system seller's needs, are what drive the decision.Home Security equipment and timeslips software are only the beginning of what we have to offer at Gemini Computers. Visit online to peruse our spectrum of products including POS System, Point Of Sale Software, ELO Touch Screens, Motorola Barcode Scanners, Printers, Cash Registers, MSR, Scales, Intercom/Video Phones, IP Cameras, Accounting Software, and much more.

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