Key things to consider when reviewing DVR surveillance camera systems for purchase
December 28, 2006
By: Will Roberts
If you are new to the digital video recorder market, you
may assume that all DVRs are pretty much the same with only
a few minor variations. This is simply not the case. As more
and more people have sought to round out their PC-based
remote surveillance systems with a DVR, the variations in
the systems themselves have increased rapidly as well. DVRs
are certainly not all created equal. It is important to
learn what to consider when reviewing DVR surveillance
camera systems so you can avoid making a bad purchase. In
the remainder of this article, we will seek to review some
of the key items to consider when investing in a quality DVR
Before we address what to consider when purchasing a DVR,
we will briefly look at the problems you could face if you
make a poor selection. A poor quality DVR system means poor
video quality, slow recording and display speeds, unreliable
remote control abilities, and small video storage capacity.
Finding out your digital video recorder's performance is not
up to par would certainly be frustrating. It is good to know
the potential problems so you are better prepared to know
what to avoid.
One of the first decisions you will need to make when
purchasing a DVR is whether you will be purchasing a
stand-alone DVR or a PC-based DVR. The main advantage of
PC-based DVRs over stand-alone versions is the expansion
capabilities. With a PC-based system, you can start out
small and expand up to a 64-channel system if you wish. With
a stand-alone version, you usually bound by the number of
channels built into the DVR box itself. For purposes of this
article, we will be focusing primarily on PC-based DVRs.
Some of the important things to consider when making your
digital video recorder selection are the following:
- Pay close attention to frames per second -- The
frames per second designation refers to the rate at which
you can view captured video. Many DVR manufactures use
different ways of reporting this rate, which can often be
very misleading. According to the
Television Standard Committee (NTSC), 30 frames per
second is the standard that marks real motion speed.
Anything less than this could mean choppy video playback,
or poor image quality. You also want to be sure that the
frame per second rate quoted is on a per channel basis and
does not refer to the entire DVR capture card itself.
- Consider the type of Codec processor -- Codec
stands for compression-decompression, and refers to a
program that makes up the basis of the DVR capture card
itself. The quality of the DVRs Codec can make all the
difference in the overall performance of your DVR.
Multiple different types of Codec's go into making DVRs
today. An MJPEG Codec for example is one of the oldest
forms of codec's still in use. It is rather inefficient,
and can use a lot of your PC hard drive space. An MPEG-4
Part 10 Codec on the other hand, is the leading Codec in
use today, and provides superior video image quality and
is extremely efficient. Before you make a DVR purchase,
make sure you research the Codec used.
- Look at file size -- The file size used for the
DVR capture card is another important aspect to consider.
A number of things such as video image resolution and
compression ratio can affect the file size of the video
data. The resulting size can affect the image resolution
of the video as well as the transmission speed and storage
space required. In general, the smaller the file size, the
less sharp the video image, but the faster the
transmission rate, and the less storage space required.
Hopefully these tips will give you a few things to
consider when reviewing a digital video recorder for
purchase. Carefully consideration of these factors will go a
long way towards ensuring you get the features and
functionality you desire in the DVR you purchase.
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