Reply To: CCTV advice

Dave Rice
Forumite Points: 9,242

OK, first thing is there isn’t really a non fiddly install for a camera going on the wall. Wireless is a possibility but rarely works outside and in any case you have to get power to the cameras. That’s where PoE comes in.

Normally we would wire external cameras back to a common point, often the loft, where we put a PoE switch. That reduces the need to drill holes through walls although of course you need to get from the loft to the network (usually the router in most homes). That may need a Cat 5e cable coming down and in. Down pipes and gutters are great for hiding cables.

Externally I would use 4mpx turret cameras that can detect humans (and / or vehicles) to cut down on false alarms. They are also extremely light sensitive and stay in colour 24 x 7 unless it’s pitch black (then IR kicks in).

Internally things are different and wireless can work well, you just need to plug the camera into the mains.

Storage, SD card or a suitable NAS (has to do user quotas). You don’t need an NVR, an app should bring it altogether. I only use NVRs on commercial installs of >4 cameras.

Cloud apps tend to cut down on quality. 5 cameras  10fps 1080P H264 needs 5mbps upload. I would usually use 4mpx 10fps H265 and that would need 6mbps. You may have that upload available, but a cloud provider needs massive incoming bandwidth. Hence you’ll see a lot are 720P.

An app and SD card setup would have a second lower quality (and so low bandwidth) feed for remote viewing. All recording and playback would be at full resolution. H265 compression is really a must.

Cameras stocks are still quite dodgy with some models, like the internal ones I use and the popular ones, in short supply.

What you could look at externally is the Reolink Solar at Amazon. I have used one on a house where I just had no other choice. It’s OK and the solar panel can keep the battery topped up, however they are highly nickable as the fixing is a joke. I had to put a wireless extender near to the front door to get enough signal to it. I see there is a new bullet version which may be more secure and even a PTZ.

The app does what it says on the tin but compared to the sort of kit I would use the build quality doesn’t come close and the prices are the same. However they may be the best fit for your needs and they certainly aren’t crap. If you are going wireless do your homework first and check the coverage at the places you want to mount the cameras.