You only need to type ‘CCTV cameras’ or ‘buy security camera’ into any search engine to be bamboozled with a mind-boggling array of results. These vary dramatically in price, from the ‘far too cheap to be any good’ to the ‘very expensive’.
And it’s true. You can purchase everything you need, either in a store or online, to create your own DIY security camera system. Naturally, there’s lots of tempting advertising that makes it seem a cinch to install your own system at a drastically reduced price to that of a professional installation.
So what’s the difference between a DIY system to getting a professional company out to do the job? Is it worth the extra cost? And if so, why? Or can any reasonably handy guy or girl turn their hand and install a usable, quality security camera system?
We take a look at the difference between the two, and the very important aspect of legalities – something most DIY kit sellers don’t tend to address in nearly enough detail.
DIY vs. Pro systems
- A DIY kit – no matter how sophisticated it appears, is considered to be a ‘home system’. It is not classified as a proper security system, and therefore will not be considered as such by any insurance company.
- A professionally installed system is just that – a professional system.
- Footage from DIY systems is not allowed to be used in legal cases. Therefore if you capture someone carrying out a criminal act that ends up in court, the film cannot be used as evidence.
- Pro system footage can be used in legal cases.
- No matter how prettily it’s packaged, DIY security camera equipment doesn’t use state of the art, advanced technology.
- Systems installed by a professional company utilise the most advanced equipment.
- Professional systems use a 0.3 microsecond activation system, which equates to being pretty much instant. DIY kits use a 1.3-1.5 second system. Whilst this might not sound much, in reality it means that footage from a DIY camera is far more likely to produced blurred, warped, or distorted images.
- Professional XCTV systems have high levels of infrared – a minimum of 30 metres, right up to 150 metres depending on the system. DIY kits use a much lower level, meaning that night time images are far inferior to that of the pro systems.
- DIY systems tend to be proprietary. This means that you have to purchase components of the same brand to ensure they communicate with each other. For example, if you want to purchase an intercom system to go with your DIY system, you’ll be restricted to purchasing the same brand.
- On the other hand, professional CCTV systems can integrate into virtually all other home automation systems, giving you a wide choice, and also coordinate into existing systems. For example, you may already have options such as an intercom, music, smart lights, or facial recognition, and these can be seamlessly incorporated to work with the current system.
And then there’s the legalities
Aside from the fact that DIY system footage can’t be used in legal cases, using such a system can end up opening a rather large can of worms.
There are many legal issues around audio recording. And most DIY systems have this facility built-in. Legislation passed in 2004 requires a court order to record audio. Do it without permission, and you lay open to massive fines, and even a jail sentence.
Professionally installed camera systems tend to come without audio (although it can be included if required).
And whilst camera recording is still somewhat of a grey area in a legal sense, having no audio means you avoid the problems associated with any kind of this recording.
Last but not least, let’s consider the cost
While DIY security camera systems might appear to offer a far cheaper option, it’s necessary to be aware of the various ongoing costs. Such systems often have a yearly subscription to a cloud-based network video recorder (NVR), rather than allowing the footage to be stored on a hard drive. These recording systems store the film in the cloud, at a cost – of course – and tend to be of lower quality. Some such systems require a subscription (of around $80 per annum) in order for it to work.
Professionally installed systems record locally and save the footage to your hard drive. They also tend to utilise the same equipment for both commercial and residential installations, just with different components to suit the individual needs. The systems you see in pubs, schools, restaurants, etc might have some additional facilities (such as license plate recognition) but are very similar in technology to that used in the home setting.
Crown Security is expert in all levels of home and business security. Based in Joondalup, Perth, WA, we can advise on and install CCTV and other security systems tailored to your individual needs. From basic home installations to bespoke, smart solutions ensuring the most complex of needs, or if you wish to further understand how CCTV or other options might suit your situation, our professional and experienced approach will ensure the very best solution.
- Posted by admin
- On 25/06/2019