Security Camera Buyer’s Guide

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Security Camera Buyer’s Guide
(Rev. 2014) – Downloadable PDF
  1. Actual Pics/Vids – Get pictures and/or videos that are produced from the DVR/cameras that you are being quoted on. Many companies use stock photos from digital cameras for their marketing efforts which can be misleading. If not available, ask for a live demo.

  2. Spec Comparison/Vids – Get specs for the DVR and cameras you are being quoted on to ensure proper comparison. Many DVRs and cameras may look identical but slight differences in specs can make a big difference.  A 700TVL camera with a 1/4″ CMOS chipset is much different than a 700TVL camera with a 1/3” CCD chipset. DVRs recording at D1 vs CIF resolution are much different also. (D1 resolution is 720×480 and CIF is 320×240.)  Be sure to get specs on everything quoted and ask several questions.

  3. Warranty – Be sure to get the length of both the product and labor warranty for the solution you are being quoted on.

  4. References – Get contact info from a customer or two that have purchased a security camera solution from the company you are getting a quote from. Get feedback on the quality, service and pricing. A video testimonial can also be a great reference as well. Written testimonials are good too, but can easily be falsified.

  5. Accessibility – Does the company answer the phone when you call? How responsive are they to your emails? Seeing how responsive and accessible they are before your purchase will be a good indicator of how good their service will be after the sale.

  6. Safety – Be sure to ask if the installation techs are background checked, drug screened and properly insured. You don’t want just anyone installing cameras for your safety, security and peace of mind.

  7. Change DVR Login – Most DVRs are set with a default username and password. It is highly recommended to change these after installation and product training. Your security professional should cover this with you during product training.

  8. Wired vs Wireless – Wired camera solutions are highly recommended as there is less chance for signal interference or losing a camera feed.  There are good wireless solutions available, but they can be more costly.  Do not fall into the belief that the cheap wireless cameras on auction sites are good.  You definitely get what you pay for.

  9. View Cameras Remotely – Make sure the company you are getting a quote from will also be setting up your camera system for remote access via your smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop. Make sure their solution is compatible with what you have.

  10. Camera Placement – When securing your home or business, the most popular areas to cover are (a) entrance/exit areas (doors, gates, etc.), (b) high traffic areas and (c) high value areas (cash/safe room, cash registers, manager’s office, etc.)

  11. Camera Types – Here are the different camera and resolution types available as of Q3 2014:

    Camera Type Resolution Pros Cons
    Analog (Standard Definition) Up to 960×480 Cost effective and easy to install. Standard definition.
    HD-SDI (HD) Up to 1080p High definition. Pricing and cable limitations.
    HD-CVI/HD-TVI (HD) Up to 1080p Cost effective and high definition. Too new to tell.
    IP/Network (HD) Up to 5+ Megapixel High definition and easily scalable. Pricing and configuration can be difficult.
Should you have any CCTV-related questions or need a quote for a security camera solution, please feel free to call us anytime
at 855-273-2288 or email us at