Surveillance On The Cheap

Surveillance systems can get expensive depending on the type of equipment and the functionality you are looking for. There are ways to lower these costs and help your wallet when purchasing a security system. We will go over one of the main ways; which is to look for semi out of date products and last year’s model type deals.

Before we delve into the various main surveillance components and how to buy them on the cheap, it’s important to understand the idea behind this type of shopping.

As with most electronics, surveillance is rapidly progressing and expanding with new features and capabilities. In the world of computers and other electronics, something new and exciting today will most likely be out of date and less desirable in as little as six months from now; surveillance technology is basically the same way, but with a little more of a time table. So the basic idea we will be exploring with various surveillance components is to look for slightly older yet still new and highly functional equipment that can be bought much cheaper than the newest and “coolest”.


DVRs nowadays come with features such as 3G connectivity, networkability, or motion detection masking. However if you look to a couple years ago, these features were very limited and far and few in between. If you can find a surveillance dealer with old stock DVRs that don’t have network or remote connection capabilities (assuming you don’t mind) you will most likely be able to get a fantastic DVR at a much lower cost.

Security Cameras

Cameras have advanced quite a bit with new wireless capabilities, higher resolutions, digital imaging, and a host of other possibilities. Older analog security cameras with slightly less image resolution are now less desired and can be found a lower costs. Additionally if you don’t mind a black and white picture, you can still find high resolution cameras with black and white images that surveillance dealers would be more than happy to sell at a much cheaper price.


Instead of buying a specialized cctv monitor, you can usually get away with using an old computer monitor or even your TV if you want. So a quick way to get a monitor for your surveillance system is to go to your local second hand store and find an old CRT computer monitor. Most likely your DVR will have a VGA output allowing you to connect it; otherwise you can buy an adapter to convert your BNC to a VGA connection if necessary.

Out-Moded Equipment

A very out of date and unnecessary (most of the time) piece of equipment these days is the cctv quad. The reason for this is that DVRs have taken the quads place and allowed for the splitting of cctv signals on a monitor while also being the recorder. If you are trying to build a system for strictly monitoring, and are less concerned with the recording aspect of things; you can generally still find a few of these lying around at surveillance stores, and you can bet they would be more than happy to sell them at a great rate.

By looking for out dated equipment and somewhat older styles you can potentially save yourself a lot and still end up with a great surveillance system. Additionally by buying dummy cameras, getting used equipment, and looking for refurbished or “B stock” equipment you can further stretch your dollar.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 6 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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