linux dvr Registered Vendor City of Seattle
linux dvr
CCR Registered Federal Government

   Home | Maersk | Needle | Metro | Live 1080p  
4K CCTV | Installation | Shipping | Support | Clients | Contact 


Seattle Surveillance Systems
516 Third Avenue W.
Seattle, WA. 98119

Voice/Fax (206) 528-2582
"We keep our customers up to date"

Protect your assets with Confidence
Upgrade to FULL HD using existing COAX
FBI Recommendations for using CCTV Systems

PPF License Plate and Facial Recognition Chart

Sample Google Earth CCTV Outdoor Camera Layout

CCTV FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which type of Security Camera should I use?

dome security camera bullet security camera infrared security camera c-mount security camera
Dome Camera Bullet Camera Infrared Camera C-Mount Camera

A security camera can come in many different styles including dome, bullet, infrared and c-mount.   The security camera that will work best for your application will depend on several factors such as whether you will use the security cameras inside or out, during the day, nighttime, or both.

Dome security cameras protect the lens from dust, dirt and scratching with a "Dome" shaped cover. These cameras are easy to mount in acoustic tile ceiling, and can blend in to most environments with little notice. Click here to to learn more dome security cameras.

Bullet style security cameras are the most popular. They can be used inside or out. These security cameras come in black and white or color and come with all of the required mounting hardware. Most security cameras have a fixed 4mm lens that allows you to see facial features out to about 35 feet and provides a 70 degree angle of view. Click here for more information about bullet security cameras.

Infrared security cameras are also very popular as they allow an image to be seen in little or no lighting conditions. Most infrared security cameras are bullet style and can be used inside or out. The cameras have infrared lighting installed around the outer edge of the lens which allows the security camera to see in no light for up to 25 feet - even further with a little bit of light (like street lighting or an outside light.) Click here for more information about infrared security cameras.

C-mount cameras use a universal lens mount which fits all lens sizes( 4mm, 6mm, 22mm - 1500mm). Varifocal camera lenses allow you to adjust the focus from 5 to 60 mm and up without changing leses. C-mount cameras can be seen in many banks , whereas dome cameras can be seen in coffee shops like Starbucks. Click here for more details about C-mount security cameras or camera lenses.

CCTV Digital Video Recorder - FAQ

cctv PC-based digital video recorder cctv embedded digital video recorder
16 Camera HD-TVI 480/480 fps 24TB
Linux Embedded DVR
4 Camera H.264 Real Time Pentaplex
Embedded DVR

What features should I look for in a CCTV Digital Video Recorder (DVR)?

All DVRs are definitely not made equal !!!
There are several factors that are critical to consider when purchasing a DVR, especially when comparing price. The most important factors to look at are the number of cameras supported, frames per second (fps), compression technology, hard drive space, network connection / remote viewing capability, motion detection, scheduling, and ability to save video and audio to a CD or flash drive. You should also look for easy and comprehensive search capabilities (check out our 'Smart Search' technology) and audio support. The setup and user interface should be intuitive and easy to operate. The price range varies from as little as $599 for a basic 4 camera input DVR up to $4899 for a 32 camera input real time DVR with a 24 terabytes of hard drive storage!

What is frames per second?

The frames per second (fps) relates to how many pictures the DVR will record in a second. Real time recording is about 30 fps on each camera. To calculate the fps per camera take the total fps in the system and divide it by the number of video inputs. For example, a 60 fps digital video recorder with 4 video inputs would result in about 15 fps per camera. The technology has finally gotten to the point now where real time recording is affordable. If you are recording cash registers or something similar then you should definitely invest in real time recording.

How big a hard drive do I need?

The amount of hard drive space is very important because it will limit how many days of recording you can store before the system has to start recording o?er the oldest video. Each DVR will have its storage capacity listed in the specifications. But this calculation is just a rough estimate as there are many factors that affect hard drive use. The most critical factor being the compression format used by the DVR (for more info on compression formats click here). But also the type of cameras that are connected to the DVR make a difference (specifically the chip size and resolution) and also the features that are selected on the DVR. If you use the scheduling or motion detection features or tune down the frame rate that will extend the storage capacity of the unit. Even the field of view (what you are recording) will affect the storage capacity - the more complex the image, the more hard drive space it will take to capture the complexity.

What is the difference between a PC-based DVR and an Embedded DVR?

A PC-based digital video recorder is basically a personal computer that has been modified with hardware and software to work as a DVR. An embedded digital video recorder is a machine that has been manufactured specifically to work as a DVR. In embedded DVRs there is typically one circuit board with software burned into the chip.

There used to be significant differences in features between the PC-based and the embedded machines. But with recent advancements in the embedded DVR technologies the differences are becoming less. The advantages of an embedded digital video recorder is that they are extremely stable and reliable since they contain fewer parts. The software is often written in basic machine code or Linux code which tends to be more stable than Windows software. The advantages of the PC-based digital video recorders is that they are easier to interact with because you use the on-screen menus and a mouse (as opposed to embedded which you interact with more like a VCR - via buttons). And you tend to have more features and options on the PC-based machines.

How does a CCTV digital video recorder work?

A CCTV digital video recorder (or DVR for short) is essentially a computer that saves security video images to a hard drive. Most security cameras in use today capture an analog picture. The DVR converts the analog signal to digital and then compresses it.

Many cameras can be connected to one DVR. DVRs generally come with 4, 8, 16, or 32 camera inputs. The DVR will allow you to view all of these images at once or one at a time, and all of the video is saved to the hard drive. Additional switches, quads, or multiplexors are not required.

Are security digital video recorders hard to install?

Not at all. You simply plug the cameras into the back of the unit. For the PC-based: Plug in the power, monitor, keyboard and mouse - just like a regular computer. You will receive instructions on how to set up the machine with your shipment.

What comes with the DVR?

Most of our DVRs come standard with an 1TB hard drive (unless otherwise noted). They also include the software (for setup, local, and remote viewing), power cord, and documentation. PC-based machines also come with the mouse and keyboard. You just need to add the cameras, whatever cable you need, and a monitor. For embedded machines you can use a TV set or security monitor. For PC-based machines you need a standard computer monitor. Also, we have on-site technical support available at no additional cost.

Why doesn't the computer monitor come with the PC-based Digital Video Recorders?

We don't supply the computer monitor with the DVR because frankly you can get one cheaper and easier locally. Large computer stores such as Best Buy or CompUSA sell these monitors practically at cost. And due to thier heavy weight, they are very expensive to ship (and subject to damage). Also, we found that many of our customers have spare computer monitors available.

How do I see pictures from a remote site?

You can view the camera video over the internet using a modem which is slow but can display 1 or 2 frames every 5 seconds. Better is a DSL or cable modem connection which can generally display 1 frame per second. When viewing remotely, the refresh rate is restricted by the communications medium (your internet connection speed). When viewing or playing back locally, the display is dependent of the unit's frame rate (fps). You will need a static ip address available to assign to the DVR (more about this in your documentation).

What is 'Smart Search'?

Our PC-based DVRs come standard with smart search capability. This allows you to highlight one area of a captured image and look for changes just to that area. For example, if an item is stolen off of a counter... you can go to a moment in the video where the item is still on the counter, then highlight the area around the item and search automatically through the video for the moment in time when that particular area changes, that is precisely when the item is removed and then view that part of the video. Pretty slick!

Should I purchase the card and software and build my own digital video recorder or buy one pre-built?

It is much better to purchase a DVR system pre-built than to build one yourself. T?ere are many compatibility issues with DVR cards and related software. They are very sensitive to the type of motherboard in the computer, the cpu, the memory, even the video card makes a difference! We had to test many different configurations to find one that worked reliable.