What is a DVR Security System?

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  • Written By: Swapna Goel
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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A digital video recorder (DVR) security system is an efficient and low-cost surveillance solution that records motion video from digital or analog cameras to a hard drive. Recording high-quality video in a digital format, the DVR allows live remote video monitoring from any location or computer. The security cameras of the DVR security system can help to monitor a home, office, or store remotely from any Internet-enabled computer, enhancing the safety and security of a business or property. Such state-of-the-art DVR technology has greatly boosted the remote surveillance capabilities of military, government, and law enforcement agencies.

The graphic card within the surveillance system, also called the DVR card, captures the camera signal and saves the video digitally on the hard drive. With almost no maintenance required, many DVR security systems can digitally record for several months straight. The amount of archived video is determined not just by the capacity of the hard drive, but also the number of cameras and the frequency of frames per second (FPS).

Instant retrieval of archived digital video makes the DVR security system a popular choice. Instead of magnetic videotape, most closed circuit televisions (CCTV) now use digital recorders to store images. The cutting edge technology of a DVR security system scores over the traditional video cassette recorder (VCR) for its ability to provide a high-quality digital picture to playback, record, archive, and process.


Available in diverse models, such as stand-alone, PC, television, cable, and satellite, digital video recorders are user-friendly devices that can be customized to suit individual needs and preferences. Various size options include portable, small, desktop, industrial, and commercial. Most DVR security system cameras are equipped with night vision and auto-start recording features.

The number of cameras needed in such a security system depends on the size and layout of the area to be surveyed. Usually, one camera is installed per 1000 square feet (93 m2). When upgrading from a VCR to a DVR security system, existing CCTV cameras can usually be plugged into the new security DVR.

Installation of a DVR security system is relatively simple, usually only requiring the user plug in the surveillance cameras and begin recording. The system software puts the DVR on motion detect mode by recording video when image pixels change. Most digital recorders even have a sensitivity scale, so the user can set the system to record based on a particular level of motion.

The smart security DVR beeps an alert when the hard drive reaches video footage limit. Once the hard drive is full, the unit stops recording unless it is set to overwrite the old footage. Some DVR security systems have a built-in audio option, others require an additional audio kit to listen in to live and recorded audio.


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