Selecting a video surveillance system will depend, in part, on the nature of your home: size, layout, number of possible entry points, etc. Before purchasing a video surveillance system, figure out exactly why you need this technology and where you'd like to have the cameras mounted.
But one thing's for sure; no matter how many cameras you have, they must be able to provide a good view of prominent areas like rooftops, attics, doorways and other locations where intruders can gain entry or hide.
Another thing to consider is the hidden camera, if you want to build evidence, not just deter an intruder. For instance, who keeps stealing your milk? One homeowner wanted to find out who kept taking off with his freshly delivered milk every morning. The hidden surveillance recorded the thief in action: the neighbor's dog.
A camera in plain sight, though, is a very effective deterrent to potential intruders and vandals.
- Box camera. Nothing fancy here, but this style is very practical and cost effective, some with the capacity for interchangeable lenses. They're perhaps the most commonly used.
- Dome camera. Some makes have interchangeable lenses, and this type can be easily mounted in many locations and are not as bulky as the box type.
- Bullet camera. This style can vary greatly in size, are good deterrents simply by their look, and can come with the interchangeable lens option.
- PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) come with more monitoring and installation choices, including a panoramic view just from a single unit. Most are remote controlled.
Indoor and outdoor cameras differ, mainly in that outdoor cameras are bigger and tougher to withstand tampering as well as the elements. However, nowadays higher-end cameras can function for both indoor and outdoor surveillance. Also, some outdoor cameras can be disguised as common items like a hose reel or a rock.
Wired or wireless? No matter what, your camera will need a wire. That wire may be "cat5" which is an internet cable also know as a "networked camera". Or, the camera will need a power cable to plug into an outlet or hardwired back to a panel. Otherwise wired cameras are generally considered "analog" which means the video signal travels through the cable itself back to a digital video recorder. So one way or another, you have to have wires.