South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and this has warranted a host of crime prevention measures, one of the most popular is video surveillance systems such as CCTV (closed-circuit television) – once mainly used by businesses it is increasingly used by home owners as well.

It is not difficult to assemble a CCTV system, you get complete kits but you can also assemble it yourself, the basic components are:

DVR box (digital video recorder) – this is the brain box; cameras attach to feed the data, houses the hard drive used to record footage. The monitor used to view the footage connects to here as well. Popularly available in 4 channel and 8 channel (takes four cameras and 8 cameras respectively)
Cameras – attaches to DVR and has to be installed to the area you want to monitor.
Hard drive (goes inside DVR), most modern DVR’s take your standard SATA drives (same as used in computers). This is used to record footage for playback purposes, the larger the hard drive the more days worth of footage you will be able to record before it gets overwritten.
Camera cords – the AV cords that connects camera to DVR – make sure these are long enough for the area you are installing at (although you do get wireless cameras as well).
Monitor – Used to view and playback camera footage – when building systems this is usually extra as many people have existing monitors.
You will also need a power adapter for the DVR and a power source for each camera.

Process
When building CCTV systems there are usually two ways to go: budget and brand name. The budget components can be bought from places like China Town malls or online shops whereas you can buy the brand name from electronic places or specialized security stores.

The brand name components will be of much higher quality and includes perks such as high resolution or wide angle cameras (I have seen that at the budget places they will have thirty different camera designs but it’s all cosmetic as they are identical in quality). Not every installation will warrant brand name or high resolution cameras where you want to view wide angles or see faces at a distance. But this is an important distinction as I have not always been happy with the budget components (especially the wide angle capabilities of cameras). And while a budget kit four channel can be assembled and sold for R5000 including your profit of around R1500 for every you install, a brand name kit could cost four times that. But still you may want to have the option available as some businesses or even home owners may want it as they may require waterproof and durable cameras with excellent night vision capabilities.

Also when installing cameras you will need the usual tools: ladder, drills and even welding skills (can be outsourced) if the cameras has to be mounted in an awkward or custom manner.

You also get a CCTV test monitor which, which is a handheld monitor you plug the camera in to test its view, I recommend you get one, they start at R1000 and what this does is let you see what the camera sees without connecting it to the DVR (which can involve a lot of running up and down) but more importantly it will allow you do see what the camera sees without drilling unnecessary holes and wasting time attaching a camera, only to remove it later on.

I have mainly dealt with the DIY method here, which will allow you to make the most money, you do get kits and even wireless kits but these cost more, if you do get kits then you can just add a profit margin on and the markup will basically be your fee for installing the system.


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