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Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.

Time Lapse, VCR's, DVR's, NVR's ...
it's time to go on the record...

Domestic Video Recorders

“You shouldn’t use domestic video recorders for CCTV because they’re unreliable”; that’s no. 143 in the ‘great myths of our time’: and yet a number of basic surveillance systems, particularly in small retail outlets, use these cheap, almost disposable recorders for day to day operations.

Is this a good thing?, well if the truth be told ... probably not.

Industrial Time Lapse video recorders are built to endure constant operation 24/7, and the simple fact that they already have a built in Time and Date generator, obviously makes them far more suitable for the task in hand. That said, if a system has to be put togethor on a very tight budget, using a domestic VHS or DVD recorder to produce a visual record of events during opening hours, has to be better than no video at all.

It perhaps goes without saying, but a seperate Time & Date unit can be added on to the domestic machine, but of course the combined cost will probably be about the same as a proper Analogue Time Lapse or basic DVR recorder.

Whilst the overall picture quality of a domestic VHS or S-VHS is generally not disimilar from an industrial unit, you are limited to a maximum of eight hours recording in LP or Long Play format (PAL standard). Also the lack of alarm inputs, advanced picture search functions and external control options, would certainly prove limiting for all but the most basic of applications.

There are of course the relatively recently introduced 'DVD' recorders, which can be very useful for capturing very high quality evidential recordings in 'real time'.

Bottom line is, if the budget will stretch to a proper industrial analogue time lapse or digital DVR video, just keep the domestic machine for recording your favourite TV shows.

Analogue Time Lapse Video Recorders >>

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