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CCTV Security Camera Buyer's Guide

Updated on June 16, 2014

CCTV Security Camera

Up to date, the most effective and thus most popular surveillance method is the usage of a CCTV security camera. In the last few years, the size and the cost of these CCTV cameras have decreased, encouraging more and more home and business owners to use them. Their application hasn't changed much though, except that the smaller cameras can be used discreetly in areas where the older, bigger ones would ruin the looks of the place.

With the raising popularity of such systems came the huge diversification of these tools. Unfortunately, most customers are easily confused by this (unnecessary?) variety.

Which one should I buy? What's the difference between camera types? How much should I pay for these? What's PZT? Color or black and white? Do I need a camera with nightvision?
- these are the most common questions that buyers have in mind. In this article, I'll introduce you to the world of surveillance cameras and will try to answer the most important questions.

Do I need a CCTV Security Camera?

This is the first question you should consider. If you have a small business, a shop, a nice house, a FAMILY, you must get some type of security equipment to protect them. The simplest, basic security equipment is a sturdy door with a reliable lock. It will stop kids from the street stealing ice cream from your fridge, but it won't stop any burglar.

The next step is some kind of alarm system. The basic, cheap alarms just start some kind of siren when they go off. These are worthless. No one cares about sound alarms anymore, actually it's just a very good way to piss off your neighbors. The other type of alarms are those with a connection to a police station. When such an alarm goes off, it sends a signal to a local police station. Unfortunately, these are only good if you live near a police station, as 5-10 minutes are more than enough for experienced burglars to run away - with your $10,000 plasma tv.

Same goes with motion detectors. They do what you expect from them: detect motion and send a signal to a security board which might forward it to a police station - or not.

Actually, applying all the security equipment mentioned above is less effective in preventing a burglary than having an angry rottweiler in your backyard. Not to mention the fact, that if the burglars get away, there will be no way to identify them later.

CCTV Security Cameras are the solution

You're gonna need something that:

  • prevents crime
  • helps with the identification of the criminals
  • is reliable
  • won't produce false alarms

Fortunately, security surveillance systems have all these features. For a complete video surveillance security, you'll need the following pieces of equipment:

  • One or more CCTV cameras
  • Security monitors or some kind of display
  • Security video recorder (digital or analog)
  • Cables and wires

These can be purchased separately or in one package. A complete system with 4 high-res, nightvision, indoor & outdoor cameras costs less than $1000. It's a quite cheap way of protecting your shop or your family.

There are two more things to mention: first, security cameras and more generally the thought of being watched prevents many crimes. Second, there's no need for someone to always keep an eye on the monitor, watching the camera's feed. Most digital cctv systems are capable of detecting motion and alerting the owner.

How to choose the right security camera?

As I mentioned in the beginning, the huge variety of surveillance cameras can be confusing for most buyers. Your choice depends on several factors:

Fake or real cameras?
You shouldn't buy fake cameras. Sure, they are cheap and can act as deterrant. But they won't record anything and dedicated burglars WILL find out that they're just fake.

Wired or wireless CCTV?
The only advantage of the (more expensive) wireless cameras is the easier setup. However, their feed can be accessed and even 'hijacked' by hackers with a laptop from as far as 100 meters. If you plan on using the surveillance camera in the same place for more than a year, I recommend installing a wired one.

Color cameras, night vision cameras
A color security camera will make identification of the criminal easier. You have to decide if the price difference is worth it for you. Night vision capability is recommended though. Crimes usually happen at night, in the dark. Night vision security cameras provide a black and white picture even in complete darkness.

Panning, zooming and tilting capabilities (PZT)
Zooming might be useful. Setting up more cameras that view the whole area continuously is way better than panning and turning. Shoplifters apply many tricks to get the attention of the camera, and while it's 'looking away', another member can do whatever he wants in the other corner of the shop. Apply more static cameras instead.

So this concludes the basic decisions you have to make before investing in a surveillance security system. I hope I could help you make a good choice.

Finally, let me provide you some links to CCTV security camera deals and information.


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    • JamesWhitaker profile image

      James N. Whitaker 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great points you have in your have. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kazuoka Narita profile image

      Kazuoka Narita 4 years ago

      CCTV, and Video Security Surveillance technology to solve your security challenges & improve your business.

    • profile image

      Video Security Surveillance 4 years ago

      Delopt offers the latest security camera, CCTV, and Video Security Surveillance technology to solve your security challenges & improve your business.

    • profile image

      Jenny 4 years ago

      Dear Sirs ,

      Have a good day .

      This is Jenny from shenzhen toan cctv . we are one of leading security system factories in shenzhen ,china .

      we can provide you as followes:

      1.all kinds of cctv camera

      2. 4ch ,8ch ,16ch,24ch,32ch DVR assessories

      Contact me ,skype:toansale1


    • profile image

      Bingo 4 years ago

      Illumination is a measure of the sensitivity of the CCTV camera and its unit is LUX. Lower LUX values indicate that the camera can capture clear images in lower light conditions. You have to pay attention to the aperture value of your lens when you are testing the minimum illumination.

    • profile image

      Emily 5 years ago

      Re:Hybrid DVR,support wifi/3G/network/snapshot/mobile moniter!

      Special features:

      1,Hybrid DVR(DVR+NVR+HVR)

      2,H.264 HDMI 1080 DVR

      3,Support wifi/3G,network setting itself

      4,Mobile moniter,Snapshot,with VGA port.

      5,16CH D1 real time,16ch audio input

      6,3G,WIFI(extension via USB port)

      7,2SATA ports(each max to 2048G)

      8,Competitive price

      Welcome inquiry for more detail and items!





    • profile image

      Emily 5 years ago

      Dear purchasing manager,

      Good day!

      Thanks for sharing your precious time!

      This is Emily from kopda electronic ltd.

      We are specializing in manufacture and export all kinds of surveillance equipments,such as following:

      (1) IR waterproof cameras

      (2) Dome cameras

      (3) Standard cameras

      (4) All-in-one cameras

      (5) Covert cameras

      (6) USB hidden cameras

      (7) Stand alone DVRs

      (8) PTZ cameras

      (9) PIR DVR

      (10) Mobile DVR

      (11) IP cameras

      (12) HD-SDI cameras

      (13) GSM MMS cameras

      (14) DVR card

      (15) CCTV Lens

      (16) Bracket

      (17) BNC connector

      (18) BNC cable

      (19) Audio pickup

      (20) Wireless alarm system

      (21) And so on........

      we sincerely hope establish business relationship with you.

      Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

      Best Regards,



      kopda electronic ltd.

      Add.: A1804,JingAn Building,AiGuo Rd.,LuoHu District,Shenhzen,Guangdong,China

      Tel.:0086 755 25512923 Fax:0086 755 25512923





    • profile image

      Dave 5 years ago

      Undoubtedly CCTV surveillance is preferred to detect unwanted attention. I have an infrared surveillance system set up on my boat. This way i feel secure even when i am away and i know the surveillance will do its job because of its infrared capabilities. So depending on your specific needs you choose a survellance system accordingly. If you need one for your yacht or boat this is the one i recommend

    • profile image

      Rick Zhao 6 years ago

      Hi.we are maufacture for below items:

      1.Photoelectric beam detector.

      2.Passive infrared detector.

      3.Infrared barrier and fence.

      4.Alarm control host.

      5.Alarm accessories.

      6.Wireless home alarm system.

      7.CCTV camera.

      8.Digital Video Record.

      More question,contact at

      Good day!!!

    • profile image

      erikjohnson 6 years ago

      Nice post! There is no doubt today the CCTV is the best way to catch or deter a criminal. I just did an installation at my home and my family is much more at ease. It is just an all around good thing. It is a must at both the home and business!

    • profile image

      Surveillance Guy 6 years ago

      Great information! I am a huge believer in installing CCTV cameras at your home and business. It is really the only way to protect and montitor an area. There is just not enough police to secure all areas of a city. At least with CCTV cameras there is a good chance they will deter a criminal or assist in catching one! Thanks for the post!

    • profile image

      CCTV and security 7 years ago

      Effective off-site monitoring of the CCTV camera footage at client premises is offered. This is an extremely cost effective and secure means of monitoring your premises. The footage is stored off-site and as such no tampering can take place. You will not have to be concerned with guards not monitoring the essential surveillance spots, as our 24 hour monitoring team will be on the job at all times. It is a tremendous saving on manpower which also ensures lower risk and lower security costs at the end of the day.


    • profile image

      Silvia T. Osorio 7 years ago

      Not bad, after the slap.

    • profile image

      Home Security Camera Question 7 years ago

      We have a farm with a farm house that is often left vacant and gets a number of unwanted visitors. There is electricity but no internet there. Any recommendations for a motion activated security camera that only has to be reviewed every few weeks?

    • Maryanne Maguire profile image

      Maryanne Maguire 7 years ago from Santa Monica, CA

      We need one of these. Had bikes stolen and voting signs. Nice Hub!

    • tchevyman39 profile image

      tchevyman39 7 years ago

      Nicely done,especially with the video.

    • profile image

      Joan33ta 7 years ago

      Everyone at high school should look through your supreme outcome referring to this topic to compose the good quality term papers or just miscellaneous essay.