The Truth About Security Camera Options
But there’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding video cameras and their role in home security. And, many times, this leads to unrealistic expectations.
So we want to set the record straight. If you’re looking for a home video surveillance system, we want to show you what matters and what doesn’t. But first, let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions of home video surveillance systems.
Cameras won’t do what you see on CSI (at least not in your price range)
Cop TV shows and movies have glorified the humble surveillance camera. It’s not uncommon for a detective to zoom in on a blurry video, stroke the keyboard a few times and magically see a clear picture of a suspect’s face.
And then, later, another video camera might just barely catch the back of a vehicle. Then the police use computer wizardry to turn that into a perfectly legible license plate.
Don’t get us wrong, technology like that exists. But it’s more expensive than you can imagine. (Even major police departments don’t have that kind of technology.)
Wireless doesn’t exactly mean “no wires”
Many people want wireless video surveillance cameras for their home security system because they think it means they won’t have to run any wires.
While there definitely are easy-to-install wireless video cameras, there is still a wire you need to account for—the power cable. It wouldn’t make sense for a video camera to be running off a battery (they’d have to be replaced almost daily). So even wireless video cameras need to be plugged in to a power outlet somehow.
The “wireless” part means they transmit their video signal wirelessly.
Watch out for cheap, bundled video solutions
These days you can buy video surveillance cameras just about anywhere. But they often work using proprietary technology (translation: they won’t work with your existing security system) and the quality is not as high.
There are serious issues to consider with hidden cameras
Hidden cameras, sometimescalled spy cameras or covert cameras, are video cameras that are designed to look like something else (a smoke detector, for example).
We don’t sell these types of cameras and strongly advise against installing them because of the legal issues involved.
In addition, one of the main goals of video cameras is to deter theft/burglaries. Because people don’t want to be caught “in the act”, the visible presence of cameras can deter crime. However, if your cameras are hidden, they lose that benefit.
What you should pay attention to
Now that you know a few more things about home security cameras, here are a few things that you should pay attention to when shopping for a home video security system.
Type of camera
Don’t use a cheap webcam from a retail store. Those are typically designed for close-up situations (like video chatting) and don’t work well for longer-range applications like home security. The two types of home security cameras we recommend are dome cameras and bullet cameras.