How to Build Your Own CCTV DVR

By Arnold Fischer

Build your own CCTV DVR.
i video surveillance en noir et blanc. image by Bruno Bernier from

A CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) DVR is a device used to record security camera video to be viewed either live or played back at a later time. If you own a business or property that you can't access easily enough, you may want to install a Closed Circuit TV system. This is great because you can watch and review video whenever you want. A CCTV system will record activity when it occurs and save the video to a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to view. They can be programmed to record ALL activity or record only when movement is detected. If you record only on activity, this will save disk space since it isn't always running. This setup can be installed on a computer that you already own.

Purchase a camera system such as Panasonic or Mobotix. These systems supply the camera(s) and the CCTV DVR software. This comes in handy, as you are guaranteed compatibility with all of the equipment.

Use a computer with a large hard drive such as 500-gigabyte to one terabyte of storage. The size is critical if you would like to archive a considerable amount of video (up to weeks at a time).

Follow the instructions to install the camera, as many of them will broadcast over the local area network of your computer system. Once you can see the video feed on your computer, it is time to install the DVR software. Install the software as per the manufacturer's instructions and let it connect to the camera.

Configure the DVR software. They offer many options, such as quality, size, length of retention, and the type of recording, triggering on activity or live always-on video recording.