What is a DVR Surveillance System?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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A digital video recorder, or DVR, is a machine that records motion picture programming. It can be stored to a hard disc. While most people are familiar with DVR use in recording television programs, they may not realize that a DVR surveillance system can be used to record security footage.

Several different sized DVR surveillance system devices are available. Small sizes can be used for homes and small businesses, while commercial and industrial sizes are available for larger properties. Portable and desktop digital video recorders make this type of security accessible for people who wish to monitor their place of work or home business information while traveling.

DVR surveillance systems are comprised of several components. In addition to the DVR recorder many people have in their homes, a DVR surveillance system will usually be connected via a PC, which in turn is routed to one or more cameras. Some users of this technology may opt to purchase a single DVR card for a PC, while others could use a stand-alone system set up on their property. Usually no assembly is required; DVR systems are ready to be used upon purchase and operate via an electrical plug.


DVR surveillance systems can be useful for a variety of purposes. They may be used to record surveillance footage in restaurants, stores, offices, and warehouses. Businesses can use DVR security systems to monitor their properties and ensure their safety and security. Police departments, private detectives, and other similar operations sometimes use this type of security as well.

These systems also make it available for business owners to monitor their companies remotely, never having to actually be in the office. Some managers or owners may choose to use a DVR surveillance system to monitor their employees while they are at work. The devices are usually able to be checked from anywhere worldwide via computer access. Supervisors wishing for discreet monitoring can purchase hidden DVR surveillance systems, such as wireless book cameras, which appear to be everyday objects.

When this type of technology is used in a DVR surveillance system, it is able to be easily extracted from the device for playback. The software in the system does this by saving files to the hard disk drive. DVR surveillance systems provide clearer digital imaging than typical magnetic videotape. Companies who use these security systems often cite a clearer picture as one reason why they choose to do so, which can aide in identifying intruders.

Many digital surveillance systems have the ability to record large amounts of information. Some can record up to three months of footage or longer. Instead of sifting through multiple stored videotapes for footage, business owners or investigators may retrieve data in a DVR surveillance system instantly. For this reason, it can also help save space in an office.


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