BCD Video on knowing when to upgrade a CCTV system

Buffalo Grove, Il (USA)

Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) systems are ideal for security and surveillance, but they often require upgrades to ensure they operate effectively. The facilities that use these cameras, such as schools, casinos, gas stations, government buildings and small and midsize businesses, require high picture quality and frame rates. If you are involved with these or similar organizations, knowing when you should replace your security cameras and system is critical.

The following is a guide from BCD Video that explores several reasons why you should upgrade a CCTV security system and how to pick the best replacement equipment for the most effective results.

When do CCTV systems fail?

The strongest indication that a CCTV system should be upgraded is, of course, when it fails. The most prevalent issue with these systems is video loss. There are several reasons why this may occur, including:

  • Wiring issues: Faulty or loose wiring can cause a lack of video. Improper connections can also result in poor line insulation, short circuits, open circuits and equipment damage.
  • Power loss: If a single camera loses power, you may need to replace its power adapter. Otherwise, your power supply box is most likely the culprit if all of your cameras are affected.
  • Software problems: CCTV security systems often require frequent updates to maintain peak operation. If your equipment is outdated, it may fail due to being unable to update.

While a lack of video is the most common CCTV failure, there are other ways in which a system might stop meeting user needs. The most common failures include:

  • Obstructed view: Items such as new structures or debris from storms may block the amount of territory you can see.
  • Recording malfunction: While your cameras may work fine, your system may have issues recording and not catch important events for future use.
  • Poor image quality: Seeing images clearly is vital for locating suspects through facial recognition or license plate numbers, but your system may have blurry video.

Limitations of CCTV systems

Other reasons one might consider upgrading CCTV is to reduce any limitations the system may have. Some common restrictions include:

  • Not enough storage space: Older systems often have less storage space available and require you to buy additional storage cards or video recorders.
  • Risk of losing information: If a system doesn’t have cloud or disaster recovery capabilities, you have a higher risk of losing valuable data that you may need to access in the future.
  • Lack of warranty: When you purchase a CCTV system, ensure it comes with a comprehensive warranty. That way, you can get replacements for these vital devices without spending more money. Warranties are also a good indication that the manufacturer produces high-quality devices.
  • Vulnerability: Outdoor security cameras are essential for discouraging intruders and informing you of any suspicious activity on your facility’s property. However, they can be susceptible to harsh weather and strong winds. Water or impacts from debris can also damage your cameras , and bad actors may tamper with the system to prevent you from seeing their actions.
  • Reduced privacy: Surveillance is vital for increased safety and security, but your workers or organization members may feel like it’s intruding on their privacy. Also, you are limited in where you can put cameras, as areas such as bathrooms and changing rooms are off-limits.
  • Poor placement: Your cameras may be placed in locations that don’t cover enough ground, resulting in potential blind spots.

While some of these limitations are unavoidable, upgrading equipment and improving system performance in several areas could make up for it.

When to upgrade 

There are several reasons why you may want to upgrade your CCTV system. Your current setup may fail to meet your needs, or you may want to replace it with newer and more effective devices. In any case, upgrading your system will provide benefits such as:

  • Better system integration: CCTV security systems are constantly evolving and introducing new helpful features. One such feature is the ability to combine every element of your system, which enables you to gather necessary data quicker and reduce the time it takes to review incidents.
  • Lower costs: Older systems that are almost obsolete may require hardware that is more expensive due to being uncommon. They may also break frequently and require more maintenance, which increases costs. While new devices may cost more than repairs, they will quickly pay for themselves in the long run.
  • Better picture quality: Modern systems have advanced visuals with higher pixel (p) resolutions. The average range is 720p to 1080p, with more pixels equalling greater picture definition. Some systems even provide 4K resolution, or 4000p.
  • Larger storage capabilities: Today’s video recorders use video compression, a technique that maximizes your storage capability by making the videos take up less space.
  • More technical support: As systems become outdated, they offer less support to businesses that use them. Upgrading your CCTV security system will ensure you always have help when you need it.

How to upgrade

BCD Video suggests that when you upgrade a security system, the first step should be to analyse the current devices, and in many cases, only a few of the system’s elements will need to be replaced. For example, if you want to improve your visuals, you can get cameras with better resolutions and wider fields of view. Or, you can enhance a system by using fully copper wires, which perform better than aluminum options, for example. Other areas that could be checked out and examined for upgrade include, technology and software, video recording and power supply options.


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