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What Are The Quantum Leaps in Digital Residential Security Surveillance Video?

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by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

The world of video surveillance has been turned upside down. New technology is gaining rapidly and will rapidly overtake traditional analog systems. Why limit the video resolution to 500 lines when 1000 and above is commomplace for digital video systems. And when one expands mega-pixel technology into the mix, one would have to agree that video surveillance ability has been enhanced in excess of 100 percent.

In the last two years I have been installing some very tried-and-true video entry however, in recent months I have settled down with just one manufacturer. That is not to say that there are not multiple manufacturers with commendable features, it is just that I came to favor one particular company. Two of the foremost reasons I favor them is that they are on the eading edge of research and development and their technicalized support is tremendous. Once you have all the wire installed, properly installed your connectors and mounted the equipment, they can smoothly tweak the settings and have you up and running with your surveillance video system.

Video Surveillance Systems

There was a time when these networks were only referred to as security surveillance systems. That time has long sense expired as many of a home’s cameras are focused in on locations dealing primarily with family matters. A few examples of these types of locations are:

* Swimming pool area to keep an eye on children

* Front gate or front door for video entry capability

* Monitoring the babies’ room

* Family room area

* Back yard around the BBQ pit

The Classic System

So now a typical system has video cameras focused in on areas of security while other cameras are there solely to improve the family lifestyle. In any case the technology today is state-of-the-art and very reliable. In fact, the images from all the cameras on one screen, or one camera image presented full screen are available on a local monitor, local computer monitor, or any computer monitor in the world.

Old News

Now that I have enlightened you what I have been doing let me just say frankly all that is achient news. The technology has taken a tremendous leap forward in the last six months and the manufacturer I chose is out in front in my opinion. Of course, Internet Protocal cameras have been around for a few years now, but many video installation companies like mine have steered away from installing digital systems for a number of technical reasons. I won’t go into all the misgivings at this time, but the biggest one in my opinion was the difficulty in having the main unit be able to identify the Internet address of each Internet Protocol camera. This was particularly true if the main unit and the camera manufacturers were different.

Advanced Technology

Like I say, all that is old news because innovative technology has been introduced into the marketplace which is an Internet Protocol Video Management System that takes the frustration out of networking. It does this by carefully detecting and configuring video cameras and devices, making installation and use simpler than it’s ever been.

The unit includes pre-installed software that is licensed for up to 8 cameras. Each controller has a three-year warranty that includes comprehensive protection on all electronic components and telephone technical support. A three-year software service plan additionally protects the investment by including unlimited software technical support and free feature upgrades. This new technology solution is designed to reduce installation time and maintenance costs of Internet Protocol video systems.

How Enhanced Is This New Technology?

OK, I have clarified that this is the latest trustworthy technology available in local/remote video surveillance systems, but let me go farther and clarify why and to what degree it is enhanced. Well, first of all it is much simpler to install than classical video surveillance systems. There is no more need for running additional power cables to each video camera because now the technology allows for video camera power to run on the same Cat5e wire which carries data. These systems don’t demand coaxial cable anymore.

The second, and arguably the most state-of-the-art degree of improvement, is the much greater resolution in the camera video image. In classical color analog video cameras about the best available is 550 lines of resolution. Now the resolution is over 1000. Not only that, now you can also purchase megapixel video cameras which are out of this world in how far out they can reach to provide you a flawless picture.

Bad Guy At 100 Yards

So before I get too far down the road in justifying all this new technology I should point out that this is not your momma’s video surveillance system. The system is more costly and the cameras, especially the megapixel cameras, are also costly. If I did list old style components and cameras, the prices would be about 20 to 25% less. However, with the variance in wiring cost and labor, that 25% doesn’t seem nearly as huge. The megapixel video cameras are reasonably more expensive, but they can see a license plate at 100 yards.

31 Digital Recording

In addition, the textbook system these days is recording twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. As depicted on the television comedy “Two And a Half Men” 31 is short for 24-7. Each camera’s images are recorded every second, or to save on hard drive space some are set in a motion detection mode. In other words, when armed in this mode, the images are not being recorded except in the case of movement where movement is not expected. A good example of that would be a video camera in the garage. During the night no movement is expected in the garage. If and when the camera picks up movement the images are recorded for a specified amount of time.

Keys To Restaining The Expenses

The keys to reining in cost to this and any other lifestyle video system are capability and cost. The absolute best way to tame these issues is to install the system yourself. To install one of these security surveillance systems you will need to purchase a book on installing a specific video system. Believe it or not, it’s not all that hard to install the system. You simply need to know exactly what equipment to purchase, what connectors to install, how to mount the components and how to power it up and program the main components. If you did not understand the importance of what I said earlier, now is the time to grasp the moment. Once you physically pull the wiring and install the components, the software does the configuration setup for you. That is what I am trying to say. Even though this is enhanced technology, it is indeed easy to install.

Are You Installing Technologies

It has been my experience that when home owners are considering one system for their new or remodeled home, they are likely considering other technologies as well. It would be in your best interest to have installation books on each system you would like to include in your project. Read them all then purchase your components, along with your special tools and cable so that they are all on the job site ahead of your proposed start date.

My purpose for this educational and informatory article was to properly and suitably illuminate the disparity between the old and the new surveillance video technology. Hopefully I have attained my objective so that you take away the perception that the new systems are simpler to install and once installed provide a much higher degree of video resolution. Yes they cost a little more, but that only matters if you completely and entirely overlook the value of your time.

Glenn A. Bell provides lots of FREE information on installing video entry and other surveillance video systems on his website. In fact, he offers a FREE 10 Video Mini Course and FREE eBook on several low-voltage electronic systems being installed in new and remodeled homes across the country.
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