What Is Required To Install CCTV?

by | Sep 29, 2020 | Surveillance Cameras

Closed Caption Television security camera systems, (or CCTV for short), have been exploding in usage for the last 4 decades.


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The rate of adoption has only increased the past couple of years as advances in modern technology allow for cheaper, smaller, and more convenient options; like mini dome cameras.

Like most other forms of modern technology, people have questions about these types of camera systems. Houston is no exception, even with how mundane they’ve become in recent years. Most advances in the last few years have come in the form of features and intelligent metrics that the cameras and software can execute.

But what do you need for CCTV camera installation? What are the components and limitations? How long does it take to install? That’s what we’re here to answer for you today.

What is a CCTV Security System?

CCTV camera systems are categorized and priced according to their type. Generally, there are two options; Analog and Digital (IP Cameras). But, with recent advances in technology, they have added a third category, and that’s cloud-based CCTV. Just so we don’t leave anything out, I would also mention a subcategory for wireless cameras. These categories extend to home security cameras as well as commercial options.

Analog systems require a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), a TV or monitor, a power supply, and cameras of course. Then you’d also have to have enough wire to run in the ceilings, wall, or attic. Usually, installers use what we call “siamese cable”, which is basically an RG59 coaxial cable run parallel to an 18/2 wire. The wire will need to be connected to the camera on one end, and on the other, the RG59 wire would go to the DVR. The 18/2 wire at the DVR end would be connected to the power supply. 

Digital or “IP camera systems” use what’s known as a Network Video Recorder (NVR), and a TV or monitor to view at the source. Then you’d have to get enough wire to run in the ceilings, wall, or attic to each camera.

When installing an IP camera system, installers should be using either Cat-5 or Cat-6 wire, this wire will provide power, audio, and video for the CCTV IP camera system. Also, you get a much better and higher resolution video recording when using Cat-5 or Cat-6 wire instead of RG59.

As a side note, not all IP camera systems have PoE or “Power over Ethernet”. If the NVR has PoE then you can get power to your cameras through the ports on the NVR. Most NVR’s these days have PoE, or at least have PoE on some of the ports. This will vary from one manufacturer to another, just be sure to check before assuming.

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How Much Does It Cost To Install Security Cameras?

A standard analog system can be a cheaper option as it is older technology. There are a few things to consider when pricing the installation of a camera system. As professional security camera installers, it is important to understand that installation prices will vary from company to company. Just know that you pay for what you get, if one company is way cheaper than another there is more than likely a good reason.

The quality of security camera installation services vary from company to company, but there are a lot of shortcuts that installers can take to make the installation cheaper. Just know that there are some shady installers out there and do your research before you trust a company with your security. 

So, what does it cost to install security cameras? Well, the answer is, it varies drastically because there are a lot of people in this industry that shouldn’t be performing CCTV work. Also, there are a lot of “fly by night” installers that know just enough to get them in trouble.

If you are able to find a friend or family member that has seen a youtube video or installed their own camera system you can more than likely get a bargain. But if it were me I wouldn’t risk my security on a do-it-yourselfer to save a few hundred dollars. When you need that recording, you need it and I wouldn’t risk having an issue finding or storing my evidence.

So let’s rephrase that question, what does a professional CCTV installation company charge to install a security camera system? Well if you are only wanting one or two cameras on your house or residential property, go by an Arlo on Amazon or something along those lines. You’re not going to get your bang for your buck unless you get about a 4 camera system or something larger when using a professional.

An average installation cost for a four-camera system would usually cost between $950 to $1800 depending on the hardware, type of system used, and many other variables. If you wanted to have an eight-camera system professionally installed in your home or business you can expect to spend between $1600 to $3500 depending on what hardware you choose. Let’s say you want to install a sixteen camera system on your business or home. Then you can expect to pay between $3200 to $8500 depending on your choice of hardware and type of system. 

These price ranges may seem large, but there are many factors that can change how smoothly an installation can go. The best method for getting a firm price is to call your local locksmith/security company to have them come out and go over your specific needs.

How Long Does It Take To Install A CCTV System?

So; say you’ve decided that you do want a system, and you understand that the costs are variable up until you have a formal quote. How long should you expect a security camera installation to take? 

This too can depend. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the size of the area you wish to have covered and the number of cameras installed. Also, again, other variables such as how easy it is to correctly and safely run the wiring will affect the time it takes. 

The typical 4-camera system for a single-story building should usually take around 4-6 hours from arrival, through installation and testing to ensure everything is running and recording.

Can CCTV Cameras Work Without The Internet?houston cctv

There’s a lot of talk in this blog post about networking, bridges, and signal strengths. Is there still a camera system that works without internet connectivity? Well, the answer is yes, they all technically do.

Analog systems actually started being used in the middle of the last century, decades before the internet. These cameras would go back to a VCR and would record on tapes that had to be changed. Their modern incarnations can absolutely still work without a network, which for them is purely optional.

If you use any modern camera system these days they all record to either a DVR, NVR, or on the cloud in someone’s server. Of course, if you plan on using a cloud-based system for your cameras, then yes you would need an internet connection to put the recordings in the cloud and to get them out of the cloud. Most of the time the only reason you need an internet connection is to access your recording from your cell phone or through a portal on the internet. Other than that it can store locally on a hard drive inside the DVR or NVR and can be accessed locally at the device without an internet connection.

How Do I Choose A Surveillance Camera System?

So which one is the better type of HD security camera? Digital IP Cameras? Or Analog CCTV cameras? The answer, as with many things, depends.

Analog has the option of saving you quite a bit of money, especially if you already have RG59 coaxial cabling in your building. It also doesn’t use your network bandwidth unless you wire it to do so, and they can be quite simple. However, there are some downsides.

RG59 Coaxial cabling can be a little more expensive than Cat-5 and Cat-6 Ethernet cabling. You also need to individually power each analog camera as well. That’s why usually installers run what’s called siamese cable, which is an 18/2 wire side by side with an RG59 cable.

Analog cameras also need to be directly connected to your DVR, which greatly limits the area you can cover with a single camera system, and the picture quality is limited. There’s also no digital zoom function, as they aren’t digital, they’re analog cameras, which means blowing up an image only makes it grainier.

DVRs also have a limited number of ports, which means that larger systems will require a second or even third unit. And analog signals can’t be encrypted, so there is no way to hide your camera feeds from a smarter class of criminals.

Digital IP camera systems are the growing standard in the industry. Also, cloud-based systems are growing in popularity more every day. To find the right system for you, just call out your local Houston locksmith, security company, or any CCTV installation company and have them come out and give you their recommendations. Each location and customer needs vary per project, so I would rely on the professionals to give you those answers.

Our Recommendation

While the choice of video surveillance systems is ultimately yours, and analog systems can and do work for a large number of businesses, we here at Guardian Safe & Lock recommend Digital IP cameras. You can use digital IP cameras with onsite storage and store your recordings locally on an NVR or if you choose you can store them on a cloud-based system. I definitely would recommend trying to future proof your system by getting either an IP camera system with an NVP or a cloud-based IP camera system. 

If you’re in the market for camera or access control system installation, why not give us a call at 832-534-8687? We’re the dedicated partner of and run installation services for Eagle Eye Networks, the best cloud-based IP Camera service provider in the Houston Area. We can quote your business and set up a date to do a system install and set them up for you, and even run you through how to access your cameras! 

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