Industrial Covert Unlimited is in its 25rd year of operation. CU1.COM has been up and running since mid 1997 and was one of the original security equipment buying sites on the internet. Great security & CCTV products and people who still answer the phone!


The DVR and You - May 03, 2011

The DVR and You - May 03, 2011

The DVR and You
By Christian M Gillman

The DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is the heart of any surveillance system, and it can be the apple in your eye or the devil at your door depending on your requirements. We will go over a few DVR basics to help you pick out the perfect one for your CCTV system.

VCRs Are Gone - Get Used To It

For a quarter of a century VCRs were THE solution when it came to surveillance video recording. They provided features such as daisy chaining, time lapse recording, and auto rewind. All of these features were used to extend a VCRs life and prolong the use of VHS tapes. When DVRs first came out, they weren't quite as efficient as a VCR. In fact it took several years and the advancement of hard drive technologies before the DVR could truly compete with the VCR. Nowadays a VCR can't hold a candle to the capabilities of a digital video recorder.

If you still have a VCR in your surveillance system; you need to get used to the fact that it is an obsolete technology, and when the time comes it will be a DVR taking its place; this isn't a reason to panic though. DVRs have become quite affordable and include a plethora of features that have even make the need for quads and multiplexers close to obsolete.

How Long Can A DVR Record For

The most frequently asked question when purchasing a DVR is how long it can record for. This question is a tricky one as it is very dependent on a few factors. Settings on your DVR such as motion recording, resolution, and the number of cameras can all play a roll in this equation. Furthermore the size of your hard drive is a critical factor in determining how much video you can store. Suffice it to say that the recording capabilities of a DVR are very versatile and are dependent on your particular surveillance system. In fact recording lengths can range from a day worth of video to 3 months or more.

Resolution - High Vs. Low

It is generally a good rule to always set your DVR to record your video at the highest resolution possible. The reason for this is because recognizing things such as vehicle license plates, people, or other important occurrences will be much easier.

With new compression rates advancing all the time DVRs are now usually able to record higher resolutions at higher frame rates as well; so the general trade off between these two is rapidly diminishing. In the end if you want the best quality evidence when the time comes; keep your DVR at a high resolution.

With this bit of knowledge it is recommended that you consult with a surveillance equipment dealer before making your purchase. This way you can find the perfect DVR for your surveillance system.

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

- CU1 - Your CCTV Products and Surveillance Equipment Source