Welcome to part three of CCTV Myths.  Don't forget to check out part one and part two if you haven't already.  We credit this installment of myths to some of the more ridiculous things we've heard over the years.  As usual, let us know what you think, tell us your ideas, and enjoy!

1. If the hard drive in your DVR goes bad, you’ll have to replace the DVR

In this particular case, it’ll be easier if we explain just what the hard drive’s role is in all of this.  Your hard drive’s soul responsibility is to store the video feed coming from your cameras.  There are no settings, system information, or anything else related to the DVR that’s stored on this hard drive.  Your DVR works off of it’s own internal memory on the motherboard.  This is why your DVR is able to tell you that there’s a problem with your hard drive.  Everything else about the unit is working perfectly fine.  In fact, it’s working so well that it’s able to tell you when other things, like your hard drive, aren't working the way they’re supposed to be.  Your hard drive going bad simply means you’re no longer able to record video until you replace it.


2. IP/network cameras are required if you want to view them remotely

You’d be very hard pressed to find a video recorder these days that doesn't come equipped with a network port.  The network port will mean that you have the ability to connect your DVR to your router/modem/switch and access it directly through the internet.  If you require anything at all for this feature, it’s internet access on location with the DVR.  No matter the type of system you have or are thinking of purchasing, with internet access and a little networking, you’ll have the full range of this feature.

3. You need an installer to install a security camera system

We won’t argue that some installations are more difficult than others, but the vast majority can very easily be turned into a do-it-yourself project.  The most difficult portion of an installation for most people is when it comes time to run their cable.  Everyone is justifiably concerned with creating an eyesore, but there are so many tips and tricks out there regarding this step that we couldn't list them all if we tried.  The other issue people run into is with the hardware itself.  Not everyone knows how to use security cameras and DVRs and most of the higher end equipment isn't going to come with a several hundred page manual.  YouTube has become a very common platform for sellers to use as a tool to create play by play instructional guides.  It’s a lot easier, and significantly more helpful, for them to make a three minute video showing you how to do something than to write a three hundred page manual.  These are good people to purchase from.  It shows that they have a proven and effective way of helping you when you need it, and it also shows that they know what they’re doing and aren't just selling a product.   Think of these types of videos as pop-up books for adults.  Sometimes you just need to see things rather than read about them.

4. You need to have a monitor connected to your DVR

You’ll almost certainly need a monitor on a temporary basis during your installation but we’re talking about something different here.  There’s a high percentage of people that believe if they were to take the monitor away from the DVR, it will either stop recording, or just stop working entirely.  This is one of those statements that we have to assume is just blurted out without actually thinking about it…so let’s think about it.

Here's a list of things your monitor does not do:

  • It does not provide power to your DVR
  • It does not store video from your cameras
  • It does not store settings or system info from your DVR
  • It does not send information to your DVR
  • It does not dictate the actions of your DVR
  • It does not send you alerts
  • It does not receive alerts
  • It does not connect to your network
  • It does not connect to your cameras


Here's a list of things your monitor does do:

  • It displays the graphic user interface (GUI) of our DVR
  • that's it...
  • seriously...


Having taken a look at those lists, we don't really feel the need to further explain why this statement is false.

5. The amount of Infrared LEDs determines the distance the camera can see in complete darkness

While having a whole bunch of Infrared (IR) LEDs helps, the intensity of those LEDs and how they may be augmented is significantly more important.  We’re seeing a lot of new versions of existing cameras hitting the market lately.  Something almost all of them seem to have in common is that they have severely reduced the number of IR LEDs and somehow managed to maintain or even increase their effective range.  How?  The answer is really simple; they made them brighter.  This may have some of you thinking that IR glare might become a problem with these cameras.   To counter this, a lot of manufacturers have been enhancing the LEDS with small covers that not only reflects the light in a way to throw it even further than before, but also to eliminate the possibility of creating anymore IR glare than they originally did.  The wavelength these LEDs are programmed at has a part in this as well.  The lower the wavelength, the dimmer the LEDs will appear to glow.  Invisible IR LEDs might sound useful but this also reduces the intensity and therefore their effective range.  Those of you wanting to keep your cameras a secret by not revealing themselves at night must do so knowing that their effectiveness is going to be substantially reduced.


Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

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