Reviews and General Information on
Security and Surveillance Systems
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Security Systems vs Single Monitoring Cameras

I would imagine you’re reading through some of the informational articles I have on my website because you would like some form of additional security, but you’re not entirely sure which route to take. If you feel like you are alone, think again. I would say that at least 70% of the people I come into contact with whether its friends, family or acquaintances are all in the same boat as you.

It’s hard when you start thinking about installing a video surveillance system. You have to think about how many cameras you’ll need, where to put them and what sort of features you would like. In fact, the list can end up being as long as your “right arm”.

So, for this page I aim to point out a few of the pluses and negatives to help you decide if a full security system is what you need, or if monitoring cameras that work alone will do the trick.

Single Monitoring Cameras

Dropcam single cameraYou might think I’m aiming more towards the novices among you when it comes to single monitoring cameras, and again that might be true. However technology is such today that even getting to grips with using a single camera can be pretty complicated (especially if you don’t have much to do with computers).

That said they are a good “entry” level into the world of surveillance and as with systems, I have decided to bullet point what to expect.


  • You still get many of the features system cameras offer such as night vision, connection to a PC or TV and some models will also have the ability to record.
  • A single camera is a much better option if you only have one place you would like to monitor such as a child’s bedroom or your front door.
  • Remote access is also possible with a lot of single cameras these days so you can keep an eye on when the kids get home from school, or log in to see what your pets are up to.
  • Of course, buying one camera instead of a whole system is going to be much cheaper.
  • A single camera can offer a bit more flexibility in that they are easier to move from one place to another, and most models are wireless.


  • Bear in mind (and I know this seems obvious) that you will only be able to monitor one area at a time. For instance, if you buy two or more of the same model you will only be able to look at say, your front door or your child’s bedroom. Not both at the same time.
  • You will normally have to buy either outdoor or indoor use, not many single cameras are designed for both.
  • Although you can get single cameras with recording ability, the memory is limited compared to a full system.

Security Systems

Zmodo security systemSome of you may think that a security system is only there for people who want to protect a business premises, or have a large area to cover at home, and this is true to a certain extent.
However, it all depends on what you want from your cameras. After all, they are the heart of any surveillance system. If they don’t do the job properly you don’t have a hope of catching people (or animals) up to something they shouldn’t be.


  • A surveillance system will generally be hooked up to a recording device of some sort. These days this can be done with the use of a DVR (digital video recorder) or a computer device. What this means is you can store video footage on a hard drive to be viewed at a later date. This is especially useful if you’re not at your business premises overnight, or if you happen to be away from home.
  • Sticking with recording just for now, the options are pretty much limitless (if your bank account is as well). You can have systems that will give you up to 1TB of hard drive space, allow you to access your cameras remotely and even back-up the footage you’ve captured.
  • It’s much easier to keep an eye on multiple locations because many systems will offer you the ability to view more than one camera at a time.
  • More complex security systems can have intruder alarms, video surveillance and even various sensors such as fire or carbon monoxide installed within the same system. Personally, I think this is a great option for buildings such as hotels.
  • Generally you get more scope with the features on cameras that are part of a system. For instance PTZ, night vision and weatherproof are all common.


  • Although you can get both wired and wireless security systems, the more cameras you have the more complicated they will be. For instance, if you’re looking for an “all singing, all dancing” system that ticks all the boxes, don’t expect to be able to install it on your own. In fact, in some cases you may need a computer whiz as well.
  • It goes without saying that a full video surveillance system will cost you more.
  • Once you have chosen where to place your cameras, this usually means that’s where they will stay. Even if you opt for a wireless system, changing the location of a camera could mean having to re-set the connection to the main base unit which isn’t always that easy to do.

As you can see, both options have their “ups and downs” and I’m not here to sway your decision either way but hopefully the information above will at least help give you an idea of what will suit you best.

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