Setting up a do-it-yourself (DIY) closed-circuit television (CCTV) network can be a large undertaking, but there are some ways to make it easier. There are many types of cameras that can be used with a DIY CCTV network, some of which are best for interior and exterior use, and other that make it easier to see a small or wide area. Positioning is important, because DIY CCTV cameras should be hidden, safe from vandalism and unaffected by weather conditions. Two main recording systems can be used, each with its own pros and cons. The network also can be manual or automatic.
Choosing the right cameras for a DIY CCTV network is important, because it can determine how the cameras can be used and whether additional light sources are needed. Some camera types are infrared, which do not need visible light; dome cameras, which easily turn and move; miniature cameras, which are easy to hide; and automated cameras that move back and forth without user interaction. Most cameras also are split into exterior and interior categories, and the user should pick a camera according to where it will be positioned.
To set up a DIY CCTV network, the cameras have to be placed somewhere. Most people try to hide the cameras to ensure that people do not know they are being recorded, and they normally are placed in high spots to decrease the chances of vandalism. Aside from this, the cameras should be shielded by walls or other structures to keep them safe from sun and wind. If the cameras are used inside, then sun and wind protection are not as important, but being inconspicuous still is a priority.
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Picking the proper recording device can make managing the network much easier. While there are many different DIY CCTV recording devices, they can be split into two groups: computer-dependent and independent. The former usually is easier to record with, because there is no need to change disks, drives or tapes as long as the hard drive keeps filling up with video information. If the computer needs more room, then hardware with more memory can be installed. Independent recording device have a lower chance of crashing, and they usually take up less room.
Before someone starts a DIY CCTV network, he should consider whether the network needs to be manual or automatic. When dealing with DIY, many people prefer automatic, which allows the user to record without having to watch the cameras. If this is used for an establishment such as a store or hotel, then a manual network that is constantly watched enables the user to see theft, vandalism, trespassing or other illegal acts as they happen instead of after the fact.