How to Install a DVR Surveillance System

by Contributor

Some DVR systems can store more than a month's worth of video activity. Perfect for commercial businesses and frequent travelers, these systems let you watch recorded video at your own pace. There are three different types of DVR surveillance systems: those that use DVR cards, those that use a DVR interface and those that use a dedicated DVR PC-based unit.

Install Security Cameras

Decide where you want to install surveillance cameras around your home or business. Retail installations should focus cameras on cash registers; home installations should focus on gathering areas and areas where valuables are kept. Install cameras at points of entry for all locations.

Mount the cameras on walls or ceilings or place them on tall furniture. Higher elevations will let you see a wider angle of the room so there are fewer blind spots.

Run the wires from camera to DVR recording device if you're using a wired surveillance system. Typically, only one wire is needed per camera, as that one wire carries both power and signal. Hide wires from view for aesthetic reasons and to prevent tripping.

Plug the receiver into your DVR recording device if you're using a wireless surveillance system. You also have to plug each individual camera into a power outlet.

Choose and Install DVR Recording Device

Determine what type of DVR recording device you want to use. Consider how much video you will store at any one time, how much installation you want to do and how much money you have to spend.

Choose a system that uses a dedicated DVR if you want to store the greatest amount of video data. The size of a typical desktop computer, dedicated DVRs come with a monitor and are the most expensive option.

Select a DVR card to turn your desktop PC into a video recording system. You might need a professional to install the card inside your PCU, but this option holds a lot of data and is about half the price of a dedicated DVR.

Pick a DVD interface for the least expensive option. An independent unit that typically connects to your PC via USB cable, these units generally hold the least amount of video data. Still, DVD interfaces usually hold enough data for the average user at less than half the cost of a DVR card.

Connect the cameras to the DVR by attaching camera wires or plugging in the wireless receiver. You'll have to choose a DVR that has enough ports for the number of cameras you have if you're using a wired system.

Install the appropriate software on your computer if using a DVR card or a DVR interface. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.


  • check Most DVR surveillance systems are Windows based. If you don't have a Windows-based PC, consider a dedicated DVR. If you do, DVR cards and interfaces are cost-effective options.

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