DIY Guide to CCTV

Posted by Dawn Richardson on

There are a few decisions that need to be made before purchasing a CCTV System. These decisions should be given careful consideration to ensure that the fitted CCTV system is suitable for your needs:


There are a few points to bear in mind when deciding which CCTV Cameras to choose:
    • Location
      Are the CCTV cameras required for inside or outside? If outside, then you need to ensure that the cameras are sufficiently weather resistant for the environmental conditions that are likely to be encountered such as rain, wind, sun-glare, snow, low light etc.  All 2020 CCTV cameras (except wifi and covert) are weather resistant and the cable entry points are sealed.

      Study your floor plan. How far does your camera need to see? You should put your camera as close to what you want to view as possible. This will then determine how much zoom you need in your lens: 4mm, 8mm, 12mm, or something more.

    • Light Levels
      For a security system to run effectively, choosing the right CCTV camera based on the amount of available light is imperative. When it gets darker, black and white provides better image quality than colour - an ordinary colour camera will not be very good quality in low light conditions.

      Options include:
      1. Colour Cameras 
        Colour CCTV cameras need good lighting but will generally provide sufficient recognition capability once that lighting is in place.
      2. Infrared Cameras with built in IR illumination.
        Infrared Cameras will produce a colour picture during the daytime and when light levels drop their IR LEDs will enable the camera to see in black & white, depending on the specification of the camera this can be up to 150 meters.  For example our Dome HD Cameras
      3. Colour Day / Night cameras
        Day/Night CCTV cameras provide the best of both worlds. They work as colour cameras in the day (or in good light conditions) and automatically change to Black and White when it becomes dark. Please contact us for pricing:
    • Discreet/Covert or Visible Deterrence
      For visible deterrence the use of larger cameras housed in Bullet format is ideal.
      For Covert or discreet applications 2020 CCTV can supply a camera that is very small and can be installed in covert locations.

    • Wired or Wireless
      Wireless CCTV cameras are easier to install. There is no wiring to run from the camera to the DVR and they are ideal for temporary applications or where running wires is not desirable.

      The cameras do however require a power source and whilst most can be powered by batteries they do not have a very long life – sometimes only a few hours. Wherever possible the cameras should be powered by the mains.  We offer WIFI cameras which are mains powered and can be used both in the home and are a popular choice for calving cameras and foaling cameras.  They also come in Kit Form.
      Typical range for wireless CCTV camera systems is 100m free-space but this can reduce significantly to approximately 20 meters in a typical home.

      Also, in some cases there is also the potential for interference when using wireless systems.

    • Audio
      If the ability to monitor or record sound is important then the a CCTV camera can be purchased with a built-in microphone. This enables one-way audio monitoring. Alternatively you can buy a stand alone microphone and cable it back to the DVR.  

    • Camera Viewing Quality
      The resolution, size and type of camera sensor will influence the quality of the viewable image.

      Resolution – This is expressed as the number of television lines (TVL) that the camera is capable of producing. The higher the TVL value the greater the resolution and hence the quality of the images. A typical entry-level camera will be around 700 TVL. Higher resolution camera quality is measured in Megapixels. A 1 or 1.3 Megapixel camera is also known as High Definition.  A 2 Megapixel camera is also known as a full High Definition Camera. 
      Size – A larger image sensor will give a better image definition than a smaller sensor. For example, a 1/3” image sensor will produce a better image than a 1/4 ” sensor.
      Type – There are 2 types of image sensor - CCD & CMOS.

      In general, CCD cameras can produce higher resolution images with less noise. They are also more sensitive to light, which means that they produce higher-quality images in low-light settings. CMOS cameras are more energy efficient, which means the battery life is longer. They are also generally less expensive. However, many of these differences have already become negligible in modern products. For example, a high-end CMOS camera may produce clearer images than a mid-range CCD camera.

      Ultimately, buyers of CCTV products may find that the sensor technology used in a video camera is less relevant than the manufacturer and specific camera. Modern developments in each type of sensor technology have made them quite comparable in terms of the amount of power used, their price, and their image quality.

      It is important to remember that the quality of the recorder also influences the quality of the CCTV footage. For example, if you use a high-resolution camera but a low-resolution recorder then the CCTV footage that is captured will still be low resolution.

    Do you need to protect and view a single area or multiple areas? If you are likely to require protection of additional areas at a future date then consider buying a system that can be expanded as and when required. Use of digital video recorders (DVR’s)  or network video recorders (NVR’s)  allows single or multi-camera systems to be viewed and recorded simultaneously. 2020 CCTV sell 4 channel, 8 channel & 16 channel allowing you to connect up to 16 cameras.


      If you want to be able to record your CCTV footage then the following factors need to be taken into account:

      • Maximum length of recording time required
      • Quality of recording
      • Capability for storage, retrieval and transfer of cctv footage
      • Method of recording:
        1. Continuous
        2. Manual
        3. Event Led - i.e. when your system detects motion
      • Recording Equipment
          1. Analogue
          2. Digital


        • Standalone Digital Video Recorders/Network Video Recorders
          This is the most popular method of recording CCTV footage. Essentially a DVR is a standalone piece of hardware that is designed exclusively for recording CCTV footage. This system can still be networked and remote access provided via all devices.
          1. Storage Capacity
            Days, weeks and even months of high resolution recording is possible through use of large capacity hard drives
          2. Consistent Quality Recording 
            No deterioration of image quality no matter how many times you overwrite onto the recording device or how long you store the images
          3. Viewing and Retrieval 
            Quick and easy access of footage due to digital format
          4. Transfer and Storage 
            The digital format allows ease of transfer and storage of footage. Transfer and storage capability is further enhanced by DVRs with built-in CD writers and USB ports.
          5. Remote Access 
            Many DVRs have the capability for remote access from anywhere in the world through use of a remote PC, Tablet, Phone etc.
          6. Multiplexed Recording 
            Capability to view and record multiple CCTV cameras simultaneously.
        • Detection
          Even with systems that have a very long recording capacity, it is not always desirable to record continuously. Event-led recording is a more efficient means of capturing relevant footage and can be achieved by:
          1. PIR Movement Detectors
            Some cameras have PIR detectors built-in and for those that don’t it is possible to install a separate PIR as part of the overall system. In multiple camera systems with PIRs the footage that is being displayed on screen will automatically change to the area that has detected movement.
          2. Video Motion Detection
            This is used in digital CCTV systems and works by analysing the video signal from a camera. Changes in signal are recognised as movement and subsequently used to trigger recording if required.

        All 2020 CCTV digital systems allow users to mark rectangular areas within the display screen and only when motion is detected within these areas will the system begin recording.

        Where possible, use of PIR movement detection is preferable rather than video motion detection, as it more reliable particularly for external use.

        • Time and Date Stamping
          This feature superimposes the time and date onto your CCTV footage. Having this feature can be really useful to identify when an event occurred and was recorded, particularly if the footage is to be used for evidence purposes.



        CCTV Cameras can be connected in a variety of ways. The relevant cabling & connections appear in each of our product pages as accessories which can be added into your cart or also directly here: Connectors & Cabling.



        If your camera is likely to be a target for vandals then consider protecting it with a wire cage. These cages can fit on dome & bullet cameras - please contact us at for more information.



        2020 CCTV has a range of Kits that will allow you to connect and use up to 8 cameras.  The kits come with the cameras, recorders & all the correct cabling/connections.  This is the easy option if you are purchasing a complete CCTV System and offers better value too.

        We are also happy to provide pricing on bespoke kits.  So if you need a different spec camera or if you need a kit that has more cameras please email & we will be happy to provide pricing.




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