How Do I Compare Home Security Systems?


Many people ask “How do I compare home security systems?” There are as many ways of comparing home security systems as there are home security systems available for use, but in this article we will attempt to identify some key characteristics that can help you compare home security systems, specifically home security camera systems.

If you are planning on upgrading an existing system or purchasing a new system, than the answer to “How do I compare home security systems?” should prove to be a useful tool for you.

First, before beginning any comparison of home security systems, it is important that you perform a needs assessment. A needs assessment will help you to determine exactly what kind of equipment or system you need to fulfill your own personal home security requirements. The best way to accomplish this to talk to one of our security experts by telephone or on-line live chat. Simply click on the “Live Chat” button at the top of the page or call 1-866-573-8878 anytime Monday thru Friday between 9AM and 6PM EST.

Here are just a few sample questions you can ask yourself as part of a needs assessment:

• Where do I need camera surveillance monitoring?
• Do I need audio recording as well as video?
• Do I need a wireless security system?
• Do I need professional 24/7 monitoring?
• Do I need to monitor my cameras when I am away from home?
• Do I need special lighting cameras, such as day/night vision or night vision infrared cameras?
• If I use a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, how long do I need to record the monitoring before it is re-written over again?
• Will I need to copy video monitoring stored on my DVR to another medium, such as CD, DVD, or a Flash drive?
• Will my video recording be covert (hidden) or overt (out in the open)?
• How much money have I budgeted for this expense?

Once you have determined exactly what equipment you need, you can go to work comparing components and systems. It’s usually best to “break down” your system into it’s components and compare them individually. If the systems you are comparing have the same like/kind of components then you can compare the entire systems.

For the sake of comparison, the system can be broken down into three basic components, the digital video cameras, the DVR, and the monitor(s). There are features, options, or characteristics of each that you may want to compare. Once again, here is a partial list for consideration by component.

Cameras
• Do my cameras use a CMOS or CCD chip (CMOS chips are usually a little cheaper and may produce a lower quality picture) and what size is it (Generally, the larger the size of the chip, the higher quality of picture.)? Don’t compare a camera with a 3/4″ CCD to a camera with a 1/4″ CMOS.
• What type of lens is being used?
• If it is an “outdoor” camera, what is its IP Rating (How well does it protect the camera from the elements)?
• Do the cameras have wireless technology?
• Are the cameras IP ready (i.e., can they be connected directly to the internet)?
• Do the cameras have any other special features such as infrared technology or Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ)? For example, don’t compare a wireless PTZ camera to a non-wireless non-PTZ camera.

DVRs

• What is the storage capacity of the DVR?
• What COmpression/DECompression (CODEC) does it use to create the digital video file?
• How many channels/camera inputs does it have?
• Is it IP ready to connect to the internet?
• Does it have additional back-up media options?
• What is its maximum recording resolution and frame rate?
• How many audio inputs does it have?
• Can it send email notifications?
• What kind of output (VGA or HDMI for example) does it have?

Monitor(s)
• What is the size of the monitors you are comparing?
• What is the maximum display resolution of the monitors you are comparing?
• What type of inputs are accepted (VGA, HDMI, BNC, etc.)?
• What type of stand or mounting does the monitor have?

Although the question, “How do I compare home security systems?” cannot be answered in just one short article, this should give you a good foundation from which to proceed. Remember when comparing systems to compare like/kind components for the fairest and most accurate comparison.

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