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Surveillance Camera Upgrade Tips

A yellow sign with a black camera

As we’ve pointed out in multiple posts on this site, security technology changes rapidly. Specifically, the race to create the latest and greatest seems to affect the surveillance side of our industry quite heavily. Over the past decade, changes in camera technology have created multiple security benefits. For starters, more powerful cameras allow for more effective surveillance than ever. Cameras provide a clearer picture than ever before. Additionally, with improved technology has come better pricing for customers. This allows more customers to dip their toes into surveillance-related security. Furthermore, it also allows long-time camera users to upgrade their technology. In this post, we provide some surveillance camera upgrade tips for those looking to make their existing camera systems more effective.

We will begin with a quick look at how updates in technology has made upgrades more efficient than ever. From there, we will share some tips on determining what you should look for in camera performance. Then, we will shift our focus to making sure that your new monitor takes full advantage of your cameras’ resolution capabilities. Finally, we will share some valuable information about finding the right video recorder. Now, let’s get started with an overview of why camera upgrades make more sese now than ever.

Arrows pointing up with text reading "Upgrade"

Modern surveillance technology has made it possible to install significantly better camera security equipment at a competitive price point.

How Modern Technology has Changed the Surveillance Camera Upgrade

As we mentioned earlier, surveillance technology has risen rapidly, leading to an increase in performance and a decrease in equipment price. Both of these factors have led to more customers undertaking equipment upgrades. Specifically, one improvement in particular has made these upgrades more efficient than ever. Until recently, upgrading cameras usually meant running new wires. Older analog cameras utilize a different type of wiring than today’s modern Internet Protocol (or “IP”) cameras. Additionally, until recently the difference in picture quality between analog and IP cameras was huge.

Today’s camera technology solves this issue in two ways. For starters, we can now install analog cameras that match the resolution offered by some IP cameras. Analog and IP cameras utilize different types of wiring. In the past, upgrading your picture meant running new wires. However, this technology has put this issue behind us for good.

Additionally, camera manufacturers now create “hybrid” recorders. We can connect both analog and IP cameras to these recorders. This allows us to utilize existing cameras and wiring, while allowing us to install more modern cameras as part of the same system in the future. Both of these industry upgrades allow us to perform surveillance upgrades as efficiently as possible. Now, let’s look at finding the best picture quality for your application.

Find a Camera Resolution that Fits Your Needs

These days, just about any camera that we install comes equipped with high-definition picture. Therefore, if you have cameras that do not adhere to these standards, you should consider an upgrade. Additionally, many customers find themselves surprised to learn that cameras often record in even higher quality than high definition! As we pointed out in our post on Choosing IP vs Analog Cameras, every image captured by a camera is made up of hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of smaller images. Each of these images is called a pixel, and one million of these pixels is called a megapixel.

Full high-definition television screens project an image containing 2.1 megapixels. Therefore, you may think a 2-megapixel camera would project about the best picture possible. However, cameras with higher resolutions allow you to zoom in closer on an image before the image begins to “break up,” known as “pixellating.” For those looking to have the ability to zoom in closer on an image, we recommend cameras in the 4- to 8-megapixel range. We often show our customers examples of different camera resolutions to help them see the difference. This can help them make informed decisions when we design a surveillance camera upgrade. We should now look at an issue that can hamper even the highest-resolution cameras on the market!

A computer monitor

Viewing your cameras through an outdated monitor will not allow you to take advantage of their full resolution capabilities.

Purchase a Monitor Capable of Showing Your Cameras’ Full Resolution

Many customers focus solely on camera and recorder replacement when upgrading their surveillance. Unfortunately, if they have an outdated monitor, their video footage will still fall short of expectations. For this reason, we recommend upgrading your monitor when having new cameras installed. We often help customers find a monitor capable of displaying their new cameras’ highest resolution. Furthermore, the same goes for the monitors of any computers that you may use to view cameras remotely. Using computer monitors with a lower resolution than that provided by your cameras will lead to a less clear picture. Installing state-of-the-art screens to view your cameras will ensure that you can enjoy the full security offered by your chosen camera models. Next up, let’s discuss the importance of designing a camera upgrade with an adequate capacity for recorded video.

Determine How Much Video Storage Space You Will Need

One of the biggest benefits to adding cameras to any security plan lies in the ability to view stored video. Unlike their wireless counterparts, which store short video clips based on detecting motion, hardwired surveillance cameras store video to a dedicated recorder that captures video 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In essense, these recorders act as computer servers that store data. The larger the server’s capacity, the more recorded video they will store. We measure the storage space for these recorders in terabytes. Those familiar with computer or smartphone storage usually see storage space measured in megabytes, often designated as “MB,” or gigabytes, shortened to “GB.” One terabyte equals one thousand gigabytes, or one million megabytes.

So what does this mean in terms of video storage? In simple terms, the more video you wish to maintain, the more terabytes you want your recorder to hold. While video from different cameras takes up varying amount of space dpeending on the quality of the video, we can always add storage space to a recorder. In fact, customers can tell us exactly how many weeks’ worth of storage they desire. From there, we can give our camera providers that information, along with the number of cameras we are installing and the video quality of the cameras. Using this information, our camera suppliers can provide a recorder that does exactly what you need it to do! Knowing how much video you wish to store can help us create a surveillance camera upgrade that works for you.

Making Your Surveillance Camera Upgrade Work for You

We hope that this post helps you understand what goes into installing an efficient and effective camera upgrade. Moreover, we hope that you have some ideas about why people undertake these upgrades in the first place. We also encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the material in this post. Obviously, most of our readers do not work with the equipment described here every day. Furthermore, camera shopping requires knowledge of a wide variety of industry terms and features unique to different cameras. We often help potential customers wade through all of this information to find the right solution.

If you are considering a camera upgrade, or even a new surveillance system installation, feel free to take advantage of our site survey program. We offer free quotes to both new and existing customers alike. Perhaps you have an outdated system in place and want to see what it would take to upgrade it. Or maybe you’ve decided now is the time to install this valuable security equipment. Either way, we will happily look at your application to address any security concerns you may have. Additionally, we can make our own suggestions based on what we see during our visit. Together, we can design an up-to-date surveillance system that helps keep your property — and anyone on it — as safe and secure as possible.

 

Images in this post used under the CC0 Public Domain License.