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How to Choose a Security Camera System Based on Your Layout

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Many people know that they would like to have a security camera system for their home or office, but they just don’t know where to start. Here are a few things to think about when choosing your system to help ensure you get the right equipment and plan a smooth and efficient installation. This article will help you how to choose a security camera system based on your layout.

The first thing you might want to think about is the floor plan of your home or business, the areas you would like your cameras to cover, and the environment surrounding each camera. Doing this will give you a good idea of the type of equipment you will need and how many cameras are required.

Property Layout, Coverage Area and the Surrounding Conditions

Let’s use the illustration below as an example. Here is a house where we want to plan and install a security camera system. We can answer a lot of questions simply by using this example. (See Fig. 1-1)

Security Camera Layout 1-1Camera Layout Fig. 1-1

Notice we have 4 cameras setup and labeled in various locations around the house. What can we tell from this simple illustration?

Camera 1: We want camera 1 to cover our patio, front door, front walkway and front yard. For this camera we need a wide field of view, a good quality image, and we need to see at night with a low or no light source. In this case you might want to go with a 800 TVL (TV Line) high quality camera with a 3.6 fixed lens (wide field of view) and 50′ IR (can see up to 50 feet at night with the assistance of built in infrared).

Camera 2: This camera will focus on the driveway and garage door. We also want a wide field of view and good image quality as well as 100′ IR for a longer night vision distance.

Camera 3: Camera 3 has similar requirements as camera 1, so we can use the same camera.

Camera 4: On camera 4 we want to view and monitor the pool area. Unlike the fixed lens cameras used for the rest of the house we want a varifocal lens (can be zoomed and focused on a specific area). We also need a good quality picture and night vision.

Another thing we can tell by looking at our layout is there are some other areas of the home that are not covered at all. In this case we might decide that a 4 camera system is not sufficient for our needs. But for the purposes of this article we will stick with 4 cameras for now.

Note: In some cases you may want to purchase an 8 channel DVR even though you are only going to start with 4 cameras. This gives you the ability to scale your security camera system over time.

Choosing Your Camera Types

Now we need to choose the types of cameras we want use. Below are images of two popular camera styles mounted on the soffit of the house. There are a few things to consider when choosing your camera type(s).

Dome or Vandal Dome Security Camera

Dome Security Camera Mounted
Fig. 1-2

Bullet Security Camera

Bullet Security Camera Mounted 1
Fig 1-3

In this case using a bullet camera gives you the ability to drop below the obstruction or even mount the camera on the wall as seen in the photo below. (See Fig. 2-3)

Bullet Security Camera Mounted 2
Fig 2-3

Let’s assume the back of the house near the pool area has gutters that will make using a dome camera difficult. We also know that we want to be able to point the camera so that it’s looking directly at the pool. In this case we might want a bullet camera.

One more thing to note is that there are indoor and outdoor cameras. Outdoor cameras are also known as weather resistant or weather proof. We will be using all outdoor cameras for our installation.

By using our layout, taking into consideration the areas we want cover and the conditions around each camera, we have decided on the following cameras listed below:

Camera 1: (Front)
700 TVL Dome style Security Camera with a fixed wide angle lens and 50′ IR for night vision.

Camera 2: (Driveway)
700 TVL Dome style Security Camera with a fixed wide angle lens and 100′ IR for night vision.

Camera 3: (Back Yard)
700 TVL Dome style Security Camera with a fixed wide angle lens and 50′ IR for night vision.

Camera 4: (Pool)
700 TVL Bullet style Security Camera with Wall Mount, Varifocal lens and 100′ IR for night vision.

Choosing Your DVR

Now that we have picked out our cameras we need to choose the right DVR. A few questions you might ask yourself are: how many days of recording would I like to be stored on my DVR for play back? How important is the clarity and quality of the play back footage and do I want to view my cameras remotely via a computer, mobile device or phone?

In our case we want to be able to view recorded video for up to 7 days. We also want high quality playback and remote viewing.

Storage Requirements

If we want to have 1 week of recordings on 4 cameras, 24 hour a day, 7 day a week at high quality, we will need about 650 gigabytes of storage. Most DVRs today use standard hard drives as a storage device, so a 1 terabyte hard drive will do. You can determine storage requirement with a hard drive calculator like this one on


We’ve already determined that we are going to start with an 8 channel DVR even though we are only going to install 4 cameras at this time. We also want a DVR that can record the highest quality image in real time on all 8 channels. When choosing a DVR take your time and do some research. Some lower cost DVRs may not be able record at the highest quality on all channels due to processor or hardware limitations.

So we want to make sure we get an 8 channel DVR that is capable of the highest quality, real-time recording on all channels.

Remote Viewing

Many DVRs today have the ability to view your cameras or play back video remotely via computer, mobile device or phone. This capability depends on having an Internet connection at both the location where the DVR is located and the remote location from where you will be viewing. It is important that you make sure the DVR that you purchase has remote viewing capabilities and the software or App that supports your phone or mobile device.


Have a look at our layout below (See Fig. 3-1). Video and power cables will have to be run from the area of the home where the DVR will be located to each of the cameras. In order to do this some tools may be required. You should be comfortable running wire and you will most likely need to get into your attic. Here is where you make your next decision. Is this a Do-It-Yourself project or do you prefer Professional Installation?

DVR Placement
Fig. 3-1

If you decide to have a professional come to do your installation you probably will not have to be concerned with most of what we will cover next.

Common Types of Cable

Have a look at our layout below (See Fig. 3-1). Video and power cables will have to be run from the area of the home where the DVR will be located to each of the cameras. In order to do this some tools may be required. You should be comfortable running wire and you will most likely need to get into your attic. Here is where you make your next decision. Is this a Do-It-Yourself project or do you prefer Professional Installation?

Siamese Cable

Siamese Cable has video and power both in one cable. It usually comes on a spool or in a box and can be cut to the exact length needed for each camera. The power leads and BNC video ends need to be attached. Tools may be required. The option of using “cut your own cable” is very popular with professional installers.

Siamese Cable Connection

Cat 5

Cat 5 Cable may also be used. For newer Network IP cameras CAT 5 may even be a requirement. Cat 5 also has the ability to transmit video and power. Even if you are not using IP Network cameras, you may want to use Cat 5 with Baluns (converters) for your analog cameras. This is a benefit if you know you will upgrade to IP cameras in the future and do not want to re-wire at that time.

Cat 5 Cable

Plug and Play

Plug and Play Cable may be the best option for those who do not want to cut cable or splice ends. It is pre-made in various lengths and has the correct connectors on both ends. This is a popular choice for Do-It-Yourself installations.

Plug and Play Cable


The last thing we need to decide is how we want to power the cameras. We will talk about two common power options. Option one is a plug and play power supply (See Fig. 4-1) and option two is a power distribution box. (See Fig. 4-2).

Power Supply
Fig. 4-1

Power Distribution Box
Fig. 4-2

Plug and Play Power Supply

Similar to the pre-made plug and play cables, the plug and play power supply is a very popular option for home owners and self-installers. You simply plug the power supply into a standard 110 outlet then plug the end of your cameras power cable in to one of the power leads. That’s it! You are done. (See Fig. 4-3)

Power Supply end
Fig. 4-3

Power Distribution Box

A distribution box is a good choice for delivering power to multiple cameras from a central location. This is generally a cleaner more professional installation option, providing better power distribution and surge protection. When using this option it is not necessary to use power leads, the end of each power cable is attached directly to the terminal block inside the power distribution box. (See Fig. 4-4)

Power Distribution Box Connection
Fig. 4-4


Although there are many equipment and installation options not covered in this article, understanding your layout, surrounding environment and knowing your installation options will help you select the best equipment and plan a smooth installation in any scenario.


Small Business Security Systems

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Security Camera King offers a well rounded selection of digital video small business security systems.  These systems can provide protection, deter illegal activity, and document any vandalism, theft, or other activity in high-quality color full motion video.  The systems are easy to operate, easy to set up, and easy enough to install yourself if you so desire.

Any business needs security protection, regardless of how big or small the business may be.  Of course, if the business is large enough, it may even have its own security department or security team.  Another option would include contracting the security to an independent security and protection agency.  However, small businesses, especially those that are in the beginning stages of their development, can’t afford these options.

Yet security is still a definite necessity to protect the interests of the business, its property, and its employees.  What is the solution?  Small business security systems can fit this need at a small business overhead price while providing big business security advantages.

Security Camera King offers four different small business security systems based on the number of cameras or channels in each system.  We carry 4, 8, 16, and 32 channel digital video systems.  Each system comes with the designated number of vandal-proof day/night infrared vision dome cameras, the necessary power supply for the cameras, cables, connectors, and of course a Digital Video Recorder or DVR.

Our 4, 8, and 16 channel small business security systems are further divided into three major groups each, depending on the type of DVR selected.  We offer the Elite Mini, the Elite, and the Ultimate brand DVRs.  For any one of these channel groups we actually offer 6 different system packages.  For example, for a four channel system we offer two system packages for the Elite Mini, two for the Elite, and Two for the Ultimate.

The differences between small business security systems packages with the same DVR type are cable and power supplies.  For the complete Four Channel Elite Mini HD DVR Security Camera Surveillance Packages we offer one package that includes a four channel space saving power supply with four plug and play cables.  Our second Four Channel Elite Mini HD DVR package includes the same DVR and cameras, but instead offers a four channel power distribution box, one box of bulk RG-59 18/2 Siamese Cable, four power leads, and connectors.

Each of our DVRs comes with an astounding variety of standard features.  The major difference between our Elite Mini and the Elite and Ultimate DVRs, is that the Elite Mini does not have a CD/DVD writer.  However all of our DVRs provide High Definition Outputs, the latest and most efficient CODEC (COmpression/DECompression) utility, H.264, built in Web server, email alerts, and Smartphone accessible technology.

The Internet options are especially helpful in small business security systems because many small business owners like the opportunity to monitor their systems remotely while they are conducting other business related tasks or even while they are on vacation.  You can use the Web browser access from your home computer to view each of your small business security system’s digital cameras and if you are on the road, anywhere in the world that Internet access is available via a Smartphone, you can view and even control your system via your phone using one of our free applications.

Although the Elite Mini does not have a CD/DVD writer, it does allow you to make backup copies using a USB thumb drive.  The Elite and Ultimate DVRs provide a CD/DVD writer for you to use to back-up your recorded footage or copy specific portions of it to distributable media to give to police, insurance companies, etc.

Security Camera King also recognizes that every small business has its own specific security requirements.  That’s why we offer our systems with component changes and upgrades (some may be an additional charge).  This provides you with the opportunity to purchase a complete system, tailored to your specific security needs, at a reasonable discounted packaged system price.

Since you can actually save costs for your small business by installing your own small business security system we also provide support from the beginning to the end of the process.  Our systems are easy to install and come with all the manuals for the components that describe hook-ups, features, set-up procedures, etc. but we realize that may not always be enough.  That’s why we offer free complete support from design of your system through installation, setup, and use.