When most people think about the design of a camera surveillance system, the first thing that enters their minds is what kind of cameras to use. While the right camera is important to capturing quality video, you still need someplace to put the video while it’s being recorded. You need to manage your recording so you can retrieve it for future playback. You also need enough storage to meet your recording requirements. These are some of many important factors in choosing a digital video recorder (DVR).
In a perfect world, all surveillance systems would be able to capture and store a year worth of crisp, high definition video and it would be cheap. For many DVRs in the real world however, your budget will limit how much video you can store and how fast you can record it.
Some Important Considerations When Choosing Your DVR
The minimalist would choose to record only after hours, use lower quality resolution, record at a frame rate below the normal video rate of 24 frames per second and save video only immediately after an obvious break-in. If everything is fine the next day, the recorded data gets discarded, making room for the next recording.
The customer who must have everything will be able to record continuously, at regular frame speed and with high quality video. This video would be archived with other video recordings and easily retrievable for future playback.
Resolution, frame speed and storage capacity will all affect the cost of a DVR: the more of these you have, the more it will cost.
The minimalist configuration will work best for a small operation, perhaps where break-ins are less likely and you don’t have to monitor much activity. This setup may save money, but in rare cases it could come up short after a burglary when the perpetrator is harder for police to identify from the video.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a minimalist configuration simply won’t do. You may have to record multiple sites continuously, worry about employee as well as intruder theft, and choose to keep a history of recordings in case a problem activity takes time to be detected. Video surveillance for these sites must be the highest in quality and features.
The Modern security DVR is Powerful
Today’s security DVRs can store as many as two terabytes of data. If you are not familiar with that term, a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. This capacity is what most high end operations will need, especially if they extensively archive video.
Another feature to look at is the number of channels the recorder has. Each channel allows you to record with one camera. Since a good system has enough cameras to provide thorough surveillance; the DVR must have enough channels to accommodate those cameras. Typical setups have four, eight or 16 channels.
Other important features on a professional grade securty DVR includes simultaneous record/playback/archive, allowing you to continue recording when performing other tasks; archiving to other media like DVDs, CDs and USB drives; video using mobile devices and PTZ drives.
There is more to a top-notch surveillance system than just the cameras; video storage is critical. Whether you run a mom and pop shop or a large company, you easily can find a recorder that best fits your needs while staying within your budget.
Guest Writer Erik Johnson is a 20 year veteran of the security, surveillance, and CCTV industry. We works close with home owners, business owners, and professional installers to ensure there surveillance installation is reliable and successful.