Buying a DVR doesn't have to be like buying a used car. Don't get duped! With these helpful hints, we'll help land you a valuable purchasing experience while help ensuring that you'll get the best bang for your buck!
At the heart of every modern surveillance system is a DVR (which stands for Digital Video Recorder), however for such a common item, the quality of DVRs can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. By knowing what to watch out for, though, and what features and support should be present, it becomes very easy to separate the good models from the bad.
The most basic form in which a company can support its DVR is through tech support, which can come in a variety of forms and is one of the first things to make sure your DVR includes. The most forward-looking companies have begun to offer remote desktop support (which allows the technicians to take control of the system through the internet to diagnose and fix problems), any company worth purchasing from should offer a bare minimum of free online tech support (meaning the customer is able to go through two-way communication with a technician via email). Having a system supported not only means that you can get help when you need it, it also means that the vendor you’re purchasing from is willing to stand behind its products.
Beyond that, to really determine a DVR’s worth requires review of its spec sheet, a task which is time consuming even to those with experience. Still, there are a few quick and easy features to look for that will streamline the process. The easiest is recording resolution, which makes or breaks the usefulness of a DVR. Virtually any system will be able to operate at a recording resolution of 320 x 280 (roughly the size of a YouTube video), however when shopping for surveillance equipment it is crucial that the DVR be capable of D-1 recording (720 x 480, the size of your desktop wallpaper on a standard computer monitor). The reason that high-resolution recording is so important is that it directly aids in identification of a person or object from recorded footage; if the resolution is set too low even a great camera would look fuzzy and pixilated, meaning identification becomes very difficult.
The final point to watch for isn’t usually listed on spec sheets, but is arguably the most important feature to have. When buying a DVR, it’s crucial to pick one out that is not only designed to perform, but also is meant to ensure compatibility with future products so as not to become obsolete. An excellent example of this would be the PC Witness Pro series of DVRs (the LT, V\RT and RT), which were designed to function as NVR\DVRs (Network Video Recorder \ Digital Video Recorder), meaning they can take on both IP and analog cameras with equal ease. By using a DVR from the PC Witness brand, users are not only covered for the state of camera production today, but they’re also easily set for the next ten years as IP camera technology develops and matures.
Part of that as well, though, is being able to predict one’s own future needs. If buying for a business that plans on moving to a larger space within just a few years, purchasing a DVR with extra video inputs for future cameras would be wise, and the same might be true for a homeowner planning an addition later down the road. In short: a DVR isn’t just a tool, it’s an investment, and like any good investment, it should not only be stable, it should be ready to face the test of time in a way that works for you.