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Home surveillance

Home surveillance
Top five home surveillance tools

Home surveillance systems have become an everyday reality for many homeowners looking to protect themselves and their loved ones from outside dangers. People are no longer content with simple alarm systems; new equipment is readily available at an affordable price, giving people the opportunity to have high-tech security systems. Modern technology provides a multitude of options from high-tech home surveillance systems, complete with digital cameras and remote monitoring to the simple CCTV system with video recorder.

With so much choice it's difficult to know what to buy. This basic introductory guide explains your options.


Digital home surveillance systems:
Digital surveillance works in a very similar manner to analog video surveillance except that the footage is either captured as, or is converted into, digital data for storage on a computer hard drive. The main advantage to this form of surveillance is that is can be sent over the Internet, intranets or cellular networks which means the footage can be viewed remotely from any location. The other advantage is that footage can be viewed live with no need for videotapes. Digital cameras are available but ordinary analog CCTV cameras can be used if you buy a Digital Video Recorder. Read the page on digital surveillance equipment to find out more.

Hidden cameras:
Hidden cameras are fast becoming a popular home surveillance option, particularly for those who wish to monitor nannies, housekeepers, babysitters or anyone else who may be in the house while the owner is out. Hidden cameras are basically small cameras that are either disguised as an ordinary household device or can be hidden inconspicuously. Popular examples include cameras disguised as clocks, clock radios, smoke detectors, plants, air purifiers and teddy bears. Both wired and wireless cameras are available which can be used with your VCR for recording. Hidden cameras can cost from $100 to $2000.

Video entry systems:
Video entry systems are basically an intercom system with a built-in camera that not only allows you to hear who is at the door but also to see them. This provides the added security of being able to see who is at the door before you open it. Video entry home surveillance systems come with a monitoring station and an outside intercom station with built-in camera as standard but there are various features that can be purchased as extras. One such add-on is the monitoring station. Most manufacturers offer systems with optional expansion monitors which means you can have more than one camera in any location throughout the house. Other features include having the camera set up to take snapshots after the doorbell has been pressed so you can see who was at your front door while you were out. Video entry system prices range from $100 to $500 not including installation fees.

Wireless home surveillance systems:
Wireless home surveillance systems are basically systems that don't require wiring to connect the cameras to the monitoring or recording devices. These systems are popular for purchases for home surveillance as they are much easier to install than wired systems. Unfortunately they do tend to be more expensive than wired systems. The other problem is that because wireless systems rely on transmitters and receivers to communicate, distance can affect the image quality. Obstacles such as trees or walls can also affect the quality of the images. Wireless home surveillance systems can cost as little as $100 but for larger systems you could be looking at thousands of dollars.

Wired home surveillance systems:
Wired home surveillance systems involve connecting cameras to the VCR or DVR using cables or wires. These systems usually require professional installation but the image quality over a long distance can be far better than wireless systems. Obstacles such as walls are usually not a problem either. Prices for wired home surveillance systems range from as little as $100 to thousands depending on the size of the system required.