Steps To Upgrade Your Old Surveillance System

Do you have an old analog surveillance system that you’re thinking about upgrading? Maybe your using old black and white security cameras or even an old VHS time-lapse recorder. If this is the case, then why not take a look at the steps and ideas below as helpful tips for upgrading your surveillance system.

Decide Your Path

The first thing you’re are going to want to do when deciding to upgrade your surveillance system is to decide how far you want to go with the upgrade. The two biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is whether you want to completely start from scratch with a brand new system, or do you want to save some of your components and only upgrade a few pieces at a time. The answers you come up with will affect each of the following steps and what you do in each of them.

Replace Your DVR or VCR

Whatever you’re using to record your security cameras is the first item you’ll want to replace. Whether it’s an older DVR or an even older VCR, you’re going to want to make this the first step in your surveillance system upgrade. Let’s go over 3 possible options below.

An IP Network NVR

If you have decided to take the path of completely revamping and building a new system, then this is the way you’ll want to go. NVR’s are built for the foreseeable future and are able to accommodate the newer IP HD cameras. These NVRs can detect IP cameras that are directly connected to your network and record the footage without having to have the cameras directly connected. This type of system will require that you have a network and have IP cameras that are connected to it. This option is not a feasible one for those of you who want to save their current analog security cameras.

A Regular DVR

Let’s say you just want to upgrade your current recording device and don’t have the money to upgrade your security cameras. If this is the path that you choose, then the best option for you will be to find a good quality DVR with a large amount of hard drive space and some quality features such as networking and mobile phone support. Additionally if you think you may want to expand and have more cameras in the future, then this will be the opportune time to buy a larger recording system with more channels. By doing this you can add more cameras at a later date should you wish.

The Hybrid Option

Now here is a great solution for someone who falls in between the two previous options. With a hybrid DVR you can keep all of your current standard analog security cameras, and not only that, you can start using the newer HD security cameras as well. This option can be a little bit more expensive than the other two, but it definitely helps you save money on camera replacement, while at the same time giving you some expansion possibility into the future.

If you decide to go the hybrid route, make sure you get a big enough one to cover your current cameras and provide enough expansion channels for your newer HD cameras that you will get. Additionally it should be noted that you will need to decide if you want it to be an IP hybrid that can use IP cameras, or an HDcctv hybrid that can use HD over coax cameras.

Replace Your Security Cameras

Replacing your security cameras will all depend on the DVR you decided to get.

If you went with an IP NVR, then you will want to make sure to get IP cameras that can directly connect to your internal network. These types of cameras will NOT work with regular DVRs unless they specifically have an additional option built into them to do so. They will however work with a hybrid DVR that is built to accommodate IP cameras.

If you went with a traditional but more advanced DVR, then your choice will be limited to standard analog security cameras. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as there are a large number of high quality analog security cameras on the market to choose from.

Finally if you went with a hybrid DVR then you will be able to choose between traditional analog cameras and some form of HD security cameras. The type of hybrid you went with will determine the second type of security camera you will be able to use. Be it HDcctv or IP, it will also depend on how you plan to transmit your video signals, which leads us to our final step; CCTV cable replacement.

CCTV Cable Replacement

There is a battle currently being waged between traditional coaxial cctv cables and the now more prevalent UTP cctv cables.

UTP cables are used in newer IP based systems, and the reason for this is that this type of cabling is the same kind you would use for network connections and computer networking. This makes it a very easy to integrate cable and allows for maximum video transfer when it comes to HD video files and signals.

Coaxial cables are the standard upon which surveillance systems have been built. They are the norm for older surveillance systems and analog security cameras. Because of this you will have to make the choice as to whether or not you want to completely replace your current cable system or use what you have. If you use what you have then you will not be able to use IP cameras, but you can use HDcctv cameras which provide HD images using the coaxial cable as its transfer medium.

Basically in the end of it all you will want to determine your course of action, decide what type of recording equipment you want, determine which type of cameras you want, and then plan your cctv cabling accordingly.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 7 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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